Image Caption: Burlington, Iowa, and the Mississippi Floodplain
The city of Burlington, Iowa, is situated on high bluffs next to the Mississippi River. The city thus has a commanding view of the wooded, finger-like creeks that lead down to the river; of the low floodplain and its farm fields; and the forested islands in the middle of the river. The Mississippi narrows significantly at Burlington, making a convenient location for two bridges. (For scale, the Interstate 34 bridge is 660 meters (720 yards) long.) A dam slows flow of the Mississippi River, but includes a lock to allow barge traffic to pass.
Major floods along the Mississippi tend to spill water onto the low floodplain, such that the view from Burlington - which stands about 40 meters (130 feet) above the river - would show the islands and floodplain entirely under water. The largest flood recorded at Burlington occurred in June 2008, when the river rose to 25.73 feet, more than 3 meters (10 feet) above flood stage.
This photo is one in a series taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on a cold day in February 2017. Other images follow the Mississippi River and show towns such as Davenport, the twin towns of Clinton and Fulton, and also Hannibal and East Hannibal.