Get the details behind our redesign
source of the Minnesota River in the U.S., on the Minnesota-South Dakota border, 300 miles (480 km) west-northwest of Minneapolis. Once part of the southern outlet of the extinct glacial Lake Agassiz, its name comes from red granite outcrops in the vicinity. Its waters are impounded in a narrow spillway by the delta of the Whetstone River. The lake is 26 miles (42 km) long and 0.75 to 1.25 miles (1.2 to 2 km) wide, has an area of 17 square miles (44 square km), and at 962 feet (293 m) is the lowest point in South Dakota. Its level is raised by water diversion from the Whetstone River and regulated by a dam at its outlet near Ortonville. The lake is used as a storage reservoir for spring floodwaters, which otherwise might inundate the Minnesota River valley.