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Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River
Harold N. Fisk's 1944 monumental tome on nature at its most mundane and sublime is, amazingly, available online and free. Landscape architects in every specialty have much to glean from it, not the least of which are water engineering techniques, ecological and geological processes, graphic representation, and the ideological and philosophical implications of reconstructing the Mississippi River.

The maps, scanned at high resolution and full scale, are some of the most beautiful I've seen.

The following files are hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

1. Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River - Fisk, 1944 Report (197MB)
2. Oversized Plates - Fisk, 1944 Report (686MB)
3. Oversized Plates Rectified - Fisk, 1944 Report (369MB)

You can also preview the maps on Flickr here.

Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River

Lower Mississippi Valley: Engineering Geology Mapping Program

Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Alluvial Porn
  • adam
  • October 23, 2005 at 6:17:00 PM CDT
  • woow - this map is incredibly beautiful. Wonderfull when technical drawings like this gets almost abstract qualities.

    and btw - discovered your blog a few days ago and must say that so far it's the nicest architectural blog I've come across. So I think I'll put a nice little link to it on my own.

    Keep up the very nice work


  • Anonymous
  • January 5, 2006 at 11:22:00 PM CST
  • The links are all broken as of 01/06/06. The detail you posted looks beautiful.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • January 6, 2006 at 12:24:00 AM CST
  • Apparently, the LVM site has crashed as reported in the comments in this post.

    If it doesn't come online in the coming week, and you'd like to download the high-res files, I'll upload them to Flickr. Or make some sort of arrangement.

  • Anonymous
  • January 6, 2006 at 7:02:00 AM CST
  • Thanks Alexander.

  • Anonymous
  • January 9, 2006 at 4:39:00 PM CST
  • Love this! But the army corps of engineers site is still down. Any chance you can upload the original images somewhere?

  • Alexander Trevi
  • January 11, 2006 at 12:25:00 AM CST
  • I've uploaded the entire set to Flickr. But in order to meet Flickr's 10MB max file size for uploading, I had to reduce each map to 20%. (Or was it 18%.) With some amateurish image manipulation to make them somewhat legible in their reduced size.

    Does anyone know where or how to distribute the original maps? The PDFs are around 20MB each, with the extracted JPEG files slightly larger.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • January 11, 2006 at 12:45:00 AM CST
  • And the combined image above is 120MB.

  • Stewf
  • June 30, 2006 at 12:05:00 PM CDT
  • The files are back up at the LVM site. See the "Documents" section on the left of this page.

    It would be wise to mirror this, though. Maybe this, Alexander?

  • Johanna
  • May 29, 2007 at 9:18:00 AM CDT
  • funny
    this map has been an inspiration for me during my work, and i have showed it to everyone i know and now i find it here.
    it is so fantastic it has even got its own space at my kitchen wall


  • Anonymous
  • August 21, 2008 at 10:25:00 AM CDT
  • Found this site and posting randomly, and was immediately taken with both. I subsequently used The Fisk Report as a basis for a poem - shifting the geological jargon out of its contextual framework to portray a more human character - and have used some of these beautiful plates in (private) artworks. Thank you for shining a spotlight on this gem.

  • mary beth
  • May 13, 2010 at 1:32:00 PM CDT
  • absolutely amazing... what better proof of a river/landscape being a living organism? I think that I will print it out and put it up on my wall too!

  • Deborah
  • May 22, 2011 at 3:19:00 PM CDT
  • I'm trying to find more info about these maps. I have 8 of the 15 originals & they seem to be much larger than the ones I've seen for sale at various sites online. Any info would be appreciated.

  • Anonymous
  • March 22, 2012 at 11:47:00 PM CDT
  • Anyone know if there are reprints of this map available for purchase?

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