Elk River (West Virginia)

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Elk River
River
Elk River in Charleston
CountryUnited States
StateWest Virginia
CountiesPocahontas, Randolph, Webster, Braxton, Clay, Kanawha
Tributaries
 - leftBirch River
 - rightHolly River
SourceOld Field Fork [1]
 - locationElk Mountain, Pocahontas County, WV
 - elevation3,557 ft (1,084 m) [2]
 - coordinates38°18′24″N 80°06′18″W / 38.30667°N 80.105°W / 38.30667; -80.105
Secondary sourceBig Spring Fork [3]
 - locationPocahontas County, WV
 - elevation3,655 ft (1,114 m) [4]
 - coordinates38°22′32″N 80°00′34″W / 38.37556°N 80.00944°W / 38.37556; -80.00944
Source confluence
 - locationSlatyfork, WV
 - elevation2,667 ft (813 m) [5]
 - coordinates38°25′08″N 80°07′48″W / 38.41889°N 80.13°W / 38.41889; -80.13
MouthKanawha River [6]
 - locationCharleston, WV
 - elevation574 ft (175 m)
 - coordinates38°21′18″N 81°38′42″W / 38.355°N 81.645°W / 38.355; -81.645
Length172 mi (277 km) [7]
Dischargefor Queen Shoals, WV
 - average2,650 cu ft/s (75 m3/s) [8]
 - max14,000 cu ft/s (396 m3/s) (1972)
 - min271 cu ft/s (8 m3/s) (1976)
 
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Coordinates: 38°21′18″N 81°38′42″W / 38.355°N 81.645°W / 38.355; -81.645
Elk River
River
Elk River in Charleston
CountryUnited States
StateWest Virginia
CountiesPocahontas, Randolph, Webster, Braxton, Clay, Kanawha
Tributaries
 - leftBirch River
 - rightHolly River
SourceOld Field Fork [1]
 - locationElk Mountain, Pocahontas County, WV
 - elevation3,557 ft (1,084 m) [2]
 - coordinates38°18′24″N 80°06′18″W / 38.30667°N 80.105°W / 38.30667; -80.105
Secondary sourceBig Spring Fork [3]
 - locationPocahontas County, WV
 - elevation3,655 ft (1,114 m) [4]
 - coordinates38°22′32″N 80°00′34″W / 38.37556°N 80.00944°W / 38.37556; -80.00944
Source confluence
 - locationSlatyfork, WV
 - elevation2,667 ft (813 m) [5]
 - coordinates38°25′08″N 80°07′48″W / 38.41889°N 80.13°W / 38.41889; -80.13
MouthKanawha River [6]
 - locationCharleston, WV
 - elevation574 ft (175 m)
 - coordinates38°21′18″N 81°38′42″W / 38.355°N 81.645°W / 38.355; -81.645
Length172 mi (277 km) [7]
Dischargefor Queen Shoals, WV
 - average2,650 cu ft/s (75 m3/s) [8]
 - max14,000 cu ft/s (396 m3/s) (1972)
 - min271 cu ft/s (8 m3/s) (1976)
The Elk River near its mouth in Charleston in 2001

The Elk River is a tributary of the Kanawha River, 172 miles (277 km) long,[7] in central West Virginia in the United States. Via the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River.

Contents

Course

The Elk is the longest river in West Virginia which flows entirely within the state's boundaries. It is formed in the Allegheny Mountains in Pocahontas County by the confluence of two short streams, the Big Spring Fork and the Old Field Fork, which join near the community of Slatyfork. It flows above ground for several miles before it sinks into a network of caverns and flows underground for more than five miles. The old riverbed of solid rock, however, remains above ground in this section known as "The Dries." It follows a generally westward course across the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau, through Randolph, Webster, Braxton, Clay, and Kanawha Counties, past the towns of Webster Springs, Sutton, Gassaway, Clay, Clendenin, and Elkview before joining the Kanawha River at Charleston.

At Sutton, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam causes the Elk to form Sutton Lake.

The Elk's largest tributaries are the Holly River and the Birch River, both of which join it in Braxton County.

The upper portion of the river, above Sutton Lake, is a popular coldwater trout stream. Below Sutton Lake, it is a high-gradient warmwater fishery well known for its muskellunge, walleye and smallmouth bass fishing.

Variant names

According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Elk River has also been known historically as:

Trivia

In the motion picture The Silence of the Lambs, the victim Clarice Starling autopsied was found in the Elk River in Clay County.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "Old Field Fork". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1552376. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  2. ^ "USGS Elevation Query: Old Field Fork Source". U.S. Geological Survey. http://gisdata.usgs.gov/XMLWebServices/TNM_Elevation_Service.asmx/getElevation?X_Value=-80.105&Y_Value=38.306667&Elevation_Units=FEET&Source_Layer=-1&Elevation_Only=FALSE. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  3. ^ "Big Spring Fork". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1550348. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  4. ^ "USGS Elevation Query: Big Spring Fork Source". U.S. Geological Survey. http://gisdata.usgs.gov/XMLWebServices/TNM_Elevation_Service.asmx/getElevation?X_Value=-80.009444&Y_Value=38.375556&Elevation_Units=FEET&Source_Layer=-1&Elevation_Only=FALSE. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  5. ^ "USGS Elevation Query: Elk River Source Confluence". U.S. Geological Survey. http://gisdata.usgs.gov/XMLWebServices/TNM_Elevation_Service.asmx/getElevation?X_Value=-80.13&Y_Value=38.418889&Elevation_Units=FEET&Source_Layer=-1&Elevation_Only=FALSE. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Elk River". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1551032. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  7. ^ a b "Columbia Gazetteer of North America: Elk River". Columbia University Press. 2000. http://reference.allrefer.com/gazetteer/E/E01951-elk-river.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  8. ^ "USGS 03197000 ELK RIVER AT QUEEN SHOALS, WV". U.S. Geological Survey. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/uv/?site_no=03197000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,62614. Retrieved 2008-04-22.