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The St. Johns River
The St. Johns River is Florida's largest rivers and one of a relative few major north-flowing rivers in the world. It stretches just over 310 miles from it's source in Indian County to it's mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, east of Jacksonville. The river level drops a mere 30 feet during this course, making it one of the slowest flowing rivers around (with the exception of Downtown Jacksonville, where the river narrows significantly, creating quite strong currents). North of Palatka, the river averages about 2 miles across! Satellite Photo
The river's formation is somewhat unusual. More than 100,000 years ago, the area of land that now comprises the river was connected to the Atlantic Ocean for most, if not all, of its length, making the river nothing more than an extended system of lagoons and tributaries. As the ocean levels dropped, barrier islands and reef formations effectively walled off the system of lagoons from the ocean, and the river was formed. This unusual geologic past explains why a river of this size can form with such little drop in elevation from source to mouth.
The river's original name was "Welaka", meaning "River of Lakes", a clear reference to it's lake-like appearance in many places. When the Spanish controlled Florida, they called it "Rio de Corrientes" or "River of Currents".
In 1578, a Catholic mission named "San Juan del Puerto" was founded near the mouth, and the river took on the name "Rio de San Juan". This name was translated into English as the "St. Johns River".
Heading south (from Georgetown Marina)...
Heading north (from Georgetown Marina)...
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