State of Detachment
Posted by aogFriday, 05 December 2008 at 12:04 TrackBack Ping URL

I noticed on the drive back from Florida that Kentucky has a little chunk of land completely surrounded by other states which is, as far as I know, the case for any other state. Michigan has the upper peninsula, but that’s just separated by water. Looking at my detailed maps I do not see any way to get there from the rest of Kentucky without cross in to another state, even along the river. Anyone else ever notice that?

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Hey Skipper Friday, 05 December 2008 at 18:14
Anyone else ever notice that? Do you mean the "island" just west of Fulton, or, more specifically, Sassafras Ridge? If so, I think you may have been faked out by digitally stored and re-produced maps. About three miles to the east of Sassafras Ridge, the distance between the Mississippi River (which forms the Missouri - Kentucky state line at that point) and the Kentucky - Tennessee state line is just under three miles. So, no, I have never noticed that.
Hey Skipper Friday, 05 December 2008 at 18:31
Darn. Pulled the trigger too soon. Now I see what you are talking about -- west of Sassafrass ridge by six or so miles. That does look odd. However, having flown over that area a fair amount, I wouldn't be surprised if that is an artifact of using the Mississippi for a state line. I don't know about how other stretches of the river fare, but I have frequently flown in and out of Memphis, which is only about 70 miles south. That means I am low enough to get a pretty good view of how the river wanders all over the place. By wander I mean just that: the river bed moves. There are crescent shaped lakes of various ages, the artifacts of cutoff loops, and new loops all over the place. My bet is that after the state boundaries were defined, the Mississippi formed a new loop just to the east of Pt Pleasant, MO. As it happens, the loop goes from south to north of the latitude line separating TN from KY. At the same time, the river defines the boundary between MO and KY. So, that is how KY gets it. Whether the loop came before or after the surveying, I have no idea.
David Cohen Friday, 05 December 2008 at 20:20
Ah, the riparian law of avulsion and accretion. I hate it. A brief description of the "Kentucky Bend" from Wikipedia. Basically, the problem was that Kentucky's western boundary with Missouri is the Mississippi River while its southern border with Tennessee is a straight line. Where the Mississippi dips below the line, Kentucky gets truncated.
cjm Saturday, 06 December 2008 at 11:53
welcome to Area-AOG that's where they are building Skynet
Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 06 December 2008 at 14:03
Hmmm. When's the next time you're going outside? I need to make a call...
Harry Eagar Monday, 08 December 2008 at 00:29
Similar situation along Iowa-Nebraska line, where parts of Iowa are west, not east, of the Big Muddy. Or is it the other way around? I forget. Back in the '50s, the northwesternmost county of Georgia could only be entered by coming from Alabama or Tennessee. No road from any other Georgia county crossed its border. But that was not geographic, merely the result of highway department choices.
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