Canada Draining to the Gulf of Mexico

On January 17, 2008 · 1 Comments

Several distinct continental divides cross through Canada. Water flows eventually to one of five different bodies of water depending on its point of origination. Huge portions of Canadian territory rest within watersheds that drain to the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and Hudson Bay. However one small corner of Alberta and Saskatchewan, barely 20,000 square kilometers, less than two tenths of one percent of the Canadian landmass drains down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Canadian Drainage Basins and Watersheds

The Atlas of Canada provides both a greatly detailed map and an inventory of drainage basins and their associated river watersheds. It lists only the Milk River, Frenchman River, Battle Creek and Lodge Creek as part of the drainage basin that leads eventually to the Gulf of Mexico. These are all a subset of the Upper Missouri River that flows towards the Mississippi River.

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The Frenchman River flows through the western portions of mixed prairie grasslands that have been carefully preserved within the western portion of Grasslands National Park. It courses through towns like Eastend, “located in the middle of nowhere and miles from the nearest city.” Local citizens have proclaimed this section of the Frenchman River watershed as Dinocountry and constructed the T.rex Discovery Centre as a primary attraction. It was near here that “Scotty” the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton was unearthed in 1994.Water flowing from these selected grasslands of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan depart Canada to traverse the entire length of the United States and terminate at the mouth of the the Mississippi River beyond New Orleans. This tiny sliver of Canada represents the far northern extreme of the Mississippi River basin. If a slight breeze caused a drop of water to fall onto the other side of the continental divide it would instead travel through the Nelson River watershed and eventually reach Hudson Bay. Fate determines whether a droplet flows towards one body of water or another, separated by more than 3,000 kilometres.

Source of Canada Drainage map: Wikipedia, as released to the public domain

On January 17, 2008 · 1 Comments

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