8D - Mississippi River Alluvial Plain

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photo vicksburg
topo vicksburg
Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Aerial Photograph
Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Topographic Map

Yazoo Basin 
Geologic Cross Section 
of Eastern Mississippi
Geologic Map of Mississippi
Yazoo Basin
(Topo Map)
Yazoo City
(Topo Map)
(Topo Map)
Vicksburg Profile Line


The Mississippi River was the major transportation route for the central part of North America during the period of exploration and settlement. As the river changed its course over and over again, a broad alluvial plain developed with very fertile soil deposited by the river during times of flood. Because of the rich soil and convenient river transportation, many plantations and towns were established along the river. The end of slavery and the associated Plantation Era after the Civil War did not change life very much for many of the small farmers in the region who then became sharecroppers on the same land. Many of these tenants later emigrated to northern cities to work in factories. This region is also known as the home of the ‘blues’, a style of Black music that eventually entered the mainstream.

The city of Vicksburg is located on bluffs along the Mississippi River at the southern tip of the "Delta.” The bluffs made the city easy to defend and gave it protection from floods. During the Civil War, control of Vicksburg was a major goal of the Union. In 1863, Confederate troops withstood a 47-day siege before surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant.


  • Coastal Plain Sediments and Floodplain Features
  • Agriculture, Settlement, and River Management
  • Battle of Vicksburg and Grant's Canal

Content Outline

  • Rationale
  • Performance Objectives
  • Assessment Rubrics
  • Newspaper Article
  • Study Area Description

Activity Titles

All activities include

  • Power Thinking Exercise
  • Materials
  • Performance Tasks
  • Enrichment
  1. Geology and Geography
  2. Agriculture, River Management, and the Blues
  3. Vicksburg and the Civil War

8D Photo