Entries - Entry Category: Geography - Starting with M

Mammoth Spring

Mammoth Spring is the largest spring in the state of Arkansas, the second largest in the Ozark Mountains region, and the seventh largest in the United States. This National Natural Landmark is located within the boundaries of Mammoth Spring State Park. Approximately 497 feet from the Missouri state line in north-central Arkansas, it is within sight of U.S. Highway 63 and the city of Mammoth Spring (Fulton County). Though the spring has always been known as “big” or “mammoth,” the first known settlers in the 1820s created a small village called “Head of the River,” which would later be renamed Mammoth Spring. Water flows from the spring at an average rate of 9.78 million gallons per hour, with a constant …

Massard Prairie

As one of three naturally occurring prairies located near Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Massard Prairie was first described in Thomas Nuttall’s A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory During the Year 1819. The prairie gave its name to a community that is now within the city limits of Fort Smith; the prairie itself has largely been developed and is no longer recognizable as such. These prairies were described and mapped well before the Louisiana Purchase. According to local tradition, Massard Prairie takes its name from T. Jean Massard, a French captain whose land grant was approximately 18,000 acres, the northern boundary being the Arkansas River. It was laid out in a French fashion called “longlots,” with strips of land …

Maumelle and Little Maumelle Rivers

aka: Lake Maumelle
The Maumelle River flows from small streams originating in the Ouachita National Forest in Perry County eastward to empty into the Arkansas River upstream from Little Rock (Pulaski County). Its most prominent feature is an 8,900-acre manmade lake, which supplies drinking water for ninety-five percent of the residents of Pulaski County. The river is named for a rock formation in western Pulaski County. Now called Pinnacle Mountain, it was dubbed “Mamelle” by French explorers early in the nineteenth century for the French word for “breast.” The Maumelle River flows to the north of Pinnacle Mountain; a second river, called the Little Maumelle River, flows to the south of the same mountain. Some area residents refer to the Maumelle River as …

Millwood Dam and Lake

Millwood Dam, which impounds Millwood Lake on the Little River, was constructed between 1961 and 1966 at a cost of $46.1 million as part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project to control flooding on the lower Red River, into which the Little River empties near the town of Fulton (Hempstead County). The lake created by the dam spills across the borders of four counties—Sevier, Little River, Howard, and Hempstead—and provides a variety of recreational opportunities for southwestern Arkansas. The 3.3-mile-long, earthen Millwood Dam is the longest of its kind in Arkansas. Millwood Dam, located east of Ashdown (Little River County), was made possible by the federal Flood Control Act of 1946, though opposition within the state and …

Mississippi Alluvial Plain

aka: Mississippi Delta
aka: Arkansas Delta
aka: Delta
aka: Mississippi River Delta
aka: Mississippi River Valley
The Mississippi Alluvial Plain (a.k.a. Delta) is a distinctive natural region, in part because of its flat surface configuration and the dominance of physical features created by the flow of large streams. This unique physiography occupies much of eastern Arkansas including all or parts of twenty-seven counties. The Alluvial Plain, flatter than any other region in the state, has elevations ranging from 100 to 300 feet above sea level. In Arkansas, the Alluvial Plain extends some 250 miles in length from north to south and varies in width from east to west from only twelve miles in Desha County to as much as ninety-one miles measured from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to the Mississippi River. The work of large rivers …

Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is the largest and most important river in North America. This great river, often referred to as the “Mighty Mississippi,” originates as a small brook flowing out of Lake Itasca in Minnesota and, 2,340 miles later, empties into the Gulf of Mexico. It is truly one of the nation’s most important assets. Covering forty-one percent of the forty-eight contiguous United States, its watershed stretches across the heart of the nation. This vast river system, which includes several large tributaries, drains 1,260,000 square miles, making it the largest drainage basin in terms of area in North America and the third largest in the world. Significance to Arkansas The Mississippi River is a dominant physical feature of many states …

Missouri Bootheel

While most of Arkansas’s boundary with Missouri runs along the line of latitude thirty-six degrees, thirty minutes north, in the extreme northeast corner, the border between states extends downward along the St. Francis River to thirty-six degrees north, where it then runs east to the Mississippi River. A straight line boundary, as was originally envisioned, would have added some 980 square miles, or 627,000 acres, to the state of Arkansas. Instead, Missouri gained a “bootheel.” Culturally and economically, the region has much more in common with Arkansas than with the rest of Missouri. “Arkansas in denial” is how area residents explain their anomalous condition. Carl Bailey (1894–1948), the thirty-first governor of Arkansas and a native of Bernie, Missouri, was one …

Mount Magazine

Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas at 2,753 feet above sea level and is the centerpiece of Mount Magazine State Park. The mountain is located between the communities of Waveland and Corley in Logan County. Mount Magazine has attracted national attention due to its population of rare butterflies such as the Diana fritillary; in fact, ninety-four of Arkansas’s 134 species of butterflies live on Mount Magazine. Native American tools such as projectile points and pottery shards have been found there. However, there is no evidence to suggest there were permanent Native American settlements on the mountain. French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bernard de La Harpe is believed to have been the first European to have seen Mount Magazine, when he …

Mulberry River

The Mulberry River, a tributary of the Arkansas River, rises from the intersection of several streams in the Ozark Mountains of northern Franklin County and Johnson County. It flows generally southwest from its source and empties into the Arkansas River south of the city of Mulberry (Crawford County), for a total length of approximately seventy miles. Reportedly named for the number of mulberry trees growing in its vicinity, it is today well known among canoeists. The area around the Mulberry River has been the site of human habitation as far back as approximately 10,000 BC. In historic times, the Osage Indians claimed much of this part of Arkansas, including the area drained by the Mulberry River, as their hunting grounds. …