White River (South Dakota)

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Coordinates: 43°42′50″N 99°28′01″W / 43.71389°N 99.46694°W / 43.71389; -99.46694
White River
White River at US20 DS.JPG
Country United States
States Nebraska, South Dakota
County Dawes, Shannon, Pennington, Jackson, Jones, Mellette, Tripp, Lyman
Source Pine Ridge
 - location near Harrison, Dawes County, Nebraska
 - elevation 4,861 ft (1,482 m) [1]
 - coordinates 42°41′10″N 103°50′14″W / 42.68611°N 103.83722°W / 42.68611; -103.83722 [2]
Mouth Missouri River
 - location near Chamberlain, Lyman County, South Dakota
 - elevation 1,601 ft (488 m) [2]
 - coordinates 43°42′50″N 99°28′01″W / 43.71389°N 99.46694°W / 43.71389; -99.46694 [2]
Length 580 mi (933 km) [3]
Basin 10,200 sq mi (26,000 km2) [4]
 - average 570 cu ft/s (0 m3/s) [4]
 - max 51,900 cu ft/s (1,500 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)
White River watershed
Location of the mouth of the White River in South Dakota

The White River is a Missouri River tributary that flows 580 miles (930 km)[3] through the U.S. states of Nebraska and South Dakota. The name stems from the water's white-gray color, a function of eroded sand, clay, and volcanic ash carried by the river.[5] Draining a basin of about 10,200 square miles (26,000 km2),[4] the stream flows through a region of sparsely populated hills, plateaus, and badlands.[6]

The White River rises in northwestern Nebraska, in the Pine Ridge escarpment north of Harrison, at an elevation of 4,861 feet (1,482 m) above sea level.[1] It flows southeast then northeast past Fort Robinson and north of Crawford. It crosses into southwestern South Dakota and flows north across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, then northeast, receiving Wounded Knee Creek and flowing between units of Badlands National Park. At the northern edge of the reservation, it flows east-northeast and southeast, forming the northern boundary of the reservation and the southern boundary of Buffalo Gap National Grassland. It receives the Little White River about 15 miles (24 km) south of Murdo, and flows east to join the Missouri in Lake Francis Case about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Chamberlain.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Source elevation derived from Google Earth search using GNIS source coordinates.
  2. ^ a b c "White River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. February 13, 1980. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "National Hydrography Dataset". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Benke and Cushing, p. 471
  5. ^ Benke and Cushing, p. 445
  6. ^ Benke and Cushing, p. 449
  7. ^ Rand McNally & Company (2008). The Road Atlas (Map). Section 62, 93. ISBN 978-0-528-93961-7.

Works cited[edit]

  • Benke, Arthur C., ed., and Cushing, Colbert E., ed.; Galat, David L.; Berry, Charles R., Jr.; Peters, Edward J., and White, Robert G. (2005). "Chapter 10: Missouri River Basin" in Rivers of North America. Burlington, Massachusetts: Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-088253-1.