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Published: 16 November 2019

By Andy Ross

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The Mississippi as you have never seen it

New technology has allowed the creation of images of ancient river flows and meanders, looking for all the world like ribbons and drapes of fabric.

The Mississippi River was accurately charted in 1944 by Harold Fisk who used aerial photography and old maps to create what have become seminal works. Now LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging for those who want to know!) which uses pulses of laser light to record topography, has revealed the beautiful curves and flows of the river in amazing detail. The images, which you can see here on National Geographic's website, can be used to help predict the behaviour of the river but we think that they are works of art too.