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Big Sandy River
River
Confluence of Levisa Fork and Tug Fork, forming the Big Sandy River
Country  United States
States  Kentucky,  West Virginia
Counties Lawrence KY, Wayne WV, Boyd KY
Source Tug Fork
 - location Big Stone Ridge, McDowell County, WV
 - elevation 2,604 ft (794 m) [1 ]
 - coordinates 37°16′38″N 81°26′06″W / 37.27722°N 81.435°W / 37.27722; -81.435 [2]
Secondary source Levisa Fork [3]
 - location Gap of Sandy, Buchanan County, VA
 - elevation 2,657 ft (810 m) [4 ]
 - coordinates 37°09′06″N 81°54′04″W / 37.15167°N 81.90111°W / 37.15167; -81.90111
Source confluence [3]
 - location Louisa, KY
 - elevation 545 ft (166 m)
 - coordinates 38°07′05″N 82°36′06″W / 38.11806°N 82.60167°W / 38.11806; -82.60167
Mouth Ohio River [5]
 - location Catlettsburg, KY
 - elevation 525 ft (160 m)
 - coordinates 38°24′58″N 82°35′45″W / 38.41611°N 82.59583°W / 38.41611; -82.59583
Map of the Big Sandy River watershed, with its Levisa Fork (left) and Tug Fork (right) tributaties shown
The Big Sandy River at its confluence with the Ohio River. The land in the foreground is West Virginia, that on the left is Kentucky, while the background is Ohio.

The Big Sandy River is a tributary of the Ohio River, approximately 29 mi (43 km) long, in western West Virginia and northeastern Kentucky in the United States. The river forms part of the boundary between the two states along its entire course. Via the Ohio River, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

It is formed between Louisa, Kentucky and Fort Gay, West Virginia by the confluence of the Tug Fork and Levisa Fork. It flows generally northwardly in a highly meandering course, between Lawrence and Boyd Counties in Kentucky and Wayne County in West Virginia. It joins the Ohio between Catlettsburg, Kentucky and Kenova, West Virginia, 8 mi (13 km) west of Huntington, West Virginia, at the common boundary between West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

The river is navigable and carries commercial shipping, primarily coal mined in the immediate region.

The name of the river comes from the presence of extensive sand bars. The Native American names for the river included Tatteroa, Chatteroi, and Chatterwha[6] which had similar meaning to the English name. It was known to the Lenape as Sikeacepe, meaning "Salt River", from the presence of salt licks on the river (see: Licking River).

Two well-known fiddle tunes take their name from the Big Sandy River: "Sandy River Belle" and the "Big Sandy River". Loretta Lynn's "Van Lear Rose" also mentions the river.

See also

References

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