Wendell Duffield '63 Considers The Minnesota River A Source Of The Mississippi

May 19, 2019
By the Star Tribune

Recently while sifting through family photographs, Murzyn, now a Star Tribune reader in Fridley, began to wonder: Is Lake Itasca the true headwaters of the Mississippi River or can we trace it to another source?

That’s the latest question for Curious Minnesota, our community-driven reporting project that invites readers into the newsroom to ask questions they want answered. Readers then vote on which query we should investigate — and Murzyn’s was the winner of a recent round.

“There’s two parts to the answer,” said Connie Cox, the lead interpretive naturalist at Itasca State Park. “One is a cultural story. The other one is a science story.” [...]

Wendell Duffield, a geologist and native Minnesotan, argues that the Minnesota River should be considered an alternative source. By following the Minnesota River, Duffield has traced the source of the Mississippi to the northeast corner of South Dakota.

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