Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area landform origins in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

Topographic map evidence is interpreted to determine landform origins in the Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area located in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri. The Osage River meanders in an east direction along the study region’s south margin while the east-oriented Blackwater River forms the study region’s north boundary. East of the study region the Osage and Blackwater Rivers flow to the Missouri River. Also located east of the study region is the north-oriented Lamine River, which joins the Blackwater River. The study region consists of multiple drainage divides between northeast and east-oriented Lamine River tributaries and includes the Blackwater River-Heaths Creek, Heaths Creek-Muddy Creek, Muddy Creek-Flat Creek, and Flat Creek-Osage River drainage divides, among others. Through valleys eroded across these multiple drainage divides provide evidence of former south-oriented flood flow channels, such as might be formed by a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Flood waters deeply eroded the study region drainage divides with northern drainage divides being lower in elevation than southern divides. Drainage divides were formed in sequence from south to north with the Flat Creek-Osage River drainage divide being formed first and the Blackwater River-Heaths Creek drainage divide being formed last. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet and initially flowed south across the entire study region until Osage River valley headward erosion captured the flood flow. Other valleys eroded headward into the study region in sequence from south to north to create drainage divides seen today. North-oriented valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep valleys and reversals of flood flow may have been aided by Ozark Plateau uplift to the south.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is one of a series of essays describing similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored deep glacial erosion paradigm, which is fundamentally different from most commonly accepted North American glacial history interpretations. Project essays available at this site may be found by selecting desired Missouri River tributaries and/or states from this essay’s sidebar category list.

Introduction:

  • The purpose of this essay is to use topographic map interpretation methods to explore the Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area landform origins in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri, USA. Map interpretation methods can be used to unravel many geomorphic events leading up to formation of present-day drainage routes and development of other landform features. While each detailed topographic map feature provides detailed evidence to be explained, the solution must be consistent with explanations for adjacent area map evidence as well as solutions to big picture map evidence puzzles. I invite readers to improve upon my solutions and/or to propose alternate solutions that better explain evidence and are also consistent with adjacent map area and big picture evidence. Readers may do so either by making comments here or by writing and publishing their own essays and then by leaving a link to those essays in a comment here.
  • This essay is also exploring a new geomorphology paradigm in which erosional landforms are interpreted as evidence left by immense glacial melt water floods. Implied in that interpretation is the immense floods were derived from a thick North American ice sheet that created a deep “hole” in the North American continent and also melted fast. The previously unexplored paradigm being tested in this and other essays in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project is a thick North American ice sheet, comparable in thickness to the Antarctic ice sheet, occupied the North American region usually recognized to have been glaciated, and through its weight and erosive actions created a deep North American “hole”. The southwestern rim of that deep “hole” is today preserved in the high Rocky Mountains. The ice sheet through its weight and deep erosion (and perhaps deposition along major south-oriented melt water flow routes) caused significant crustal warping and tectonic change, through its action of melting fast produced immense floods that flowed across the continent, and through its action of melting fast systematically opened up space in the ice sheet created “hole” so headward erosion of newly developed north-oriented drainage systems captured immense south-oriented melt water floods and diverted immense melt water floods north into space the ice sheet had once occupied.
  • If this previously unexplored paradigm is correct the geographic region explored by this essay should contain evidence of immense floods that were captured by headward erosion of new valley systems so as to cause the floods to flow in a different direction. Ability of this previously unexplored paradigm to explain Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area landform evidence in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm (see menu at top of page for paradigm related essay). This essay is included in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essay collection.

Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area location map (select and click on maps to enlarge). National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 1 is a location map for the Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri and illustrates a large region in the state of Missouri with Illinois being the state east of the Missouri and Kansas being the state to the west. The south-southeast oriented Mississippi River, which flows from the figure 1 north edge (east half) to the east edge (just north of southeast corner), is the Missouri-Illinois border. The Missouri River flows in an east-northeast direction from Kansas City (near figure 1 west edge) to Brunswick and then turns to flow in a southeast, south, east, and southeast direction to Jefferson City. From Jefferson City the Missouri River flows in an east-northeast, east, southeast, and northeast direction to join the Mississippi River north of St Louis. The Osage River flows in an east direction to Harry S. Truman Reservoir and then to the Lake of Ozarks before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the Missouri River a short distance downstream from Jefferson City. The Blackwater River is located between the Missouri River and Osage River and originates north of Harry S Truman Reservoir as a north-oriented stream and then turns to flow in an east-northeast and east direction between Marshall and Sedalia and then to join the Missouri River east of Blackwater. The Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area in Pettis and Benton County is located south of the Blackwater River segment between Sweet Springs and Blackwater and north of the Osage River and is actually multiple drainage divides between northeast and east-oriented Blackwater tributaries, as well as the drainage divide between the southernmost of the Blackwater River tributaries and south-oriented Osage River tributaries. Topographic maps illustrated in this essay proceed in a south direction across the multiple drainage divides along a line just west of north-south oriented highway 65 which passes through Sedalia. Essays describing other adjacent drainage divide areas can be found under MO Missouri River, Osage River, or Missouri on the sidebar category list.
  • Based on topographic map evidence illustrated and described in this essay and in hundreds of other essays included in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essay collections the figure 1 map area was eroded by massive south-oriented glacial melt water floods as valleys used by present day drainage routes eroded headward into and across the figure 1 map area. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet, which at the time figure 1 drainage routes were established was located north of the figure 1 map area. The ice sheet had been large, probably comparable in thickness and geographic extent to the present day Antarctic Ice Sheet. Further, the ice sheet had created a deep “hole” by crustal warping caused by the ice sheet’s great weight and also by deep glacial erosion. Melt water floods have destroyed much of the deep “hole”s” southern rim, although the Ozark Plateau, which is located south of the figure 1 map area may have been uplifted as melt water floods were flowing across the region. Initially melt water floods over whelmed whatever drainage systems existed and flowed south across the entire figure 1 map area (and a much larger region) directly to the Gulf of Mexico. Headward erosion of the deep Mississippi River valley and its tributary valleys in sequence from south to north (and west of the Mississippi River from east to west) systematically captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters to the actively eroding Mississippi River valley system. For example, in the state of Arkansas, south of the figure 1 map area, headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Arkansas River valley and its tributary valleys occurred in advance of headward erosion of the southeast-oriented White River valley and its tributary valleys, which beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Arkansas River and tributary valleys. South-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the White River valley into southern Missouri, just south of the figure 1 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys including the east and northeast-oriented Osage River valley then beheaded flood flow routes to the actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Missouri and Osage River tributary valleys.
  • Headward erosion of the deep east and northeast-oriented Osage River valley proceeded slightly in advance of Missouri River valley headward erosion (west of the Jefferson City area) and the east oriented Blackwater River valley and its northeast-oriented tributary valleys next eroded headward to capture south-oriented flood flow moving to the newly eroded Osage River valley. Northeast and east oriented tributary valleys were eroded in sequence with each valley being eroded slightly in advance of the valley just to the north. North-oriented Blackwater River tributary valleys and headwaters valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Missouri River valley headward erosion eventually outpaced the rate of Blackwater River valley headward erosion and beheaded all flood flow routes to the actively eroding Blackwater River valley. Subsequently headward erosion of the Grand River valley and its tributary valleys (from the Missouri River valley near Brunswick) beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Missouri River valley. This knob illustrates and describes topographic map evidence documenting the south-oriented flood flow routes, which crossed multiple present day east- and northeast-oriented drainage divides and also documents the sequence of valley erosion between the Blackwater River valley in the north and the Osage River valley in the south. Further evidence presented here documents the deep flood water erosion of the various drainage divide areas as deep valleys eroded headward into the study region.

Detailed location map for Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area

Figure 2: Detailed location map for Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 2 illustrates a somewhat more detailed location map for the Blackwater River-Osage River drainage divide area in Pettis and Benton Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction across the figure 2 northeast corner area. The Blackwater River is formed at the confluence of its North Fork and South Fork west of Warrensburg in Johnson County and flows in an east and northeast direction to the Johnson County northeast corner and then flows in an east direction across southern Saline County (the county north of Pettis County) to join the Missouri River in northwest Cooper County. Major Blackwater River tributaries in Pettis County include east-northeast oriented Heaths Creek, which joins the north-oriented Lamine River in northwest Cooper County before the Lamine River joins the Blackwater River. West of the Heaths Creek headwaters in northwest Pettis County is north-northeast and north oriented South Fork. South of Heaths Creek, but north of Sedalia, is northeast oriented Muddy Creek, which joins the north-oriented Lamine River near the Pettis-Cooper County line. South of Muddy Creek and south of Sedalia is northeast and east oriented Flat Creek, which joins the Lamine River in the Cooper County southwest corner. Note how Flat Creek has several north-oriented tributaries with headwaters in northern Benton County. The Osage River meanders in an east direction across central Benton County. The Harry S. Truman Dam, behind which the Harry S. Truman Reservoir is located, is located just upstream from Warsaw in Benton County and the Lake of the Ozarks Reservoir, which floods the Osage River valley, extends upstream into Benton County. Note how the Osage River has south-southwest oriented tributaries in northwest Benton County and a somewhat more complicated pattern of south-oriented tributaries in northeast Benton County. The south-oriented Osage River tributaries are roughly aligned with the north-oriented Flat Creek tributaries, suggesting headward erosion of the Flat Creek valley beheaded and reversed flood flow routes to actively eroding south-oriented Osage River tributary valleys. The Flat Creek valley eroded headward from the north-oriented Lamine River valley, which was eroded by reversed flood flow on the north ends of south-oriented flood flow routes beheaded by Blackwater River headward erosion. Muddy Creek valley headward erosion was slightly behind Flat Creek valley headward erosion and beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Flat Creek valley. Next Heaths Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to the Muddy Creek valley. Blackwater River valley headward erosion then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the Heaths Creek valley and beheaded and reversed flood flow west of the actively eroding Heaths Creek valley and that flood flow reversal eroded the north-oriented South Fork valley.

Blackwater River-Heaths Creek drainage divide area

Figure 3: Blackwater River-Heaths Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 3 illustrates the Blackwater River-Heaths Creek drainage divide area in northwest Pettis County. Sweet Springs is the town located in the figure 3 northwest corner. Houstonia is the town located near the figure 3 west center and Hughesville is located just north of the figure 3 south center edge. The Blackwater River meanders in an east direction near the figure 3 north edge from Sweet Springs until turning to flow in a northeast direction just west of Marshall Junction near the figure 3 northeast corner. South Fork is the north oriented tributary flowing along the figure 3 west edge and joining the Blackwater River near Sweet Springs. Note north of Houstonia two north-northeast oriented tributaries (May Branch and Buffalo Creek) and then further to the east note several northwest-oriented tributaries flowing to the east and northeast-oriented Blackwater River. The north-oriented Blackwater River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes. Heaths Creek originates in the figure 3 southwest quadrant (west of Hughesville) and flows in a northeast direction to the figure 3 east edge (north of center). East of the figure 3 map area Heaths Creek joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Note north-oriented tributaries from the south and southeast-oriented tributaries from the north. Also note the shallow through valleys linking the north- and northwest-oriented Blackwater River tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valleys. The map contour interval is ten meters and the shallow through valleys crossing the Blackwater River-Heaths Creek drainage divide are defined by a single contour line on each side. The through valleys and the alignment of opposing stream valleys on either side provide evidence of what were once multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a flood formed anastomosing channel complex. Flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding southeast-oriented valleys, which were eroding headward from the newly eroded northeast-oriented Heaths Creek valley. Flood flow to the actively eroding Heaths Creek tributary valleys was beheaded and reversed in sequence, from east to west, by headward erosion of the deep Blackwater River valley. The reversals of flood flow then eroded the north-oriented Blackwater River tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Buffalo Creek-Heaths Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Buffalo Creek-Heaths Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 4 provides a detailed topographic map of the Buffalo Creek-Heaths Creek drainage divide area located east of Houstonia and seen in less detail in figure 3. Houstonia is located near the figure 4 west edge (north of center). Heaths Creek flows in a northeast and east direction in the figure 4 southeast quadrant and east of the figure 4 map area joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Note how Heaths Creek tributaries from the north are usually oriented in southeast directions and are roughly parallel with each other. Buffalo Creek flows in a north-northeast direction in section 33 just east of Houstonia and north of the figure 4 map area joins the east-oriented Blackwater River. Northwest and north-oriented streams in sections 33 and 34 are Buffalo Creek tributaries. North-oriented streams seen along the east half of the figure 4 north edge flow to north-northwest oriented Grassy Creek, which also flows to the Blackwater River. The figure 4 map contour interval is ten feet, which better illustrates the shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented Blackwater River tributary valleys with the southeast-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valleys. For example, in the west half of section 4 (south and east of Houstonia) a shallow through valley links a northwest oriented Buffalo Creek tributary valley with a southeast-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 820 and 830 feet and elevations on either side rise to more than 830 feet. A slightly deeper through valley can be seen in the section 34 southwest corner where the valley floor elevation is between 810 and 820 feet. A similar depth through valley is located in the section 34 northeast quadrant and links a southeast-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valley with a north-oriented Grassy Creek tributary valley. The through valleys are not deep, but they exist and can be identified. Also the through valleys are water eroded features, which were eroded at a time prior to headward erosion of the deep Blackwater River valley to the north (and also prior to Missouri River valley headward erosion). The through valleys were eroded as southeast-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding southeast-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Blackwater River valley then beheaded and reversed the southeast-oriented flood flow to erode the northwest and north-oriented valleys.

Heaths Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Heaths Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 5 illustrates the Heaths Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. La Monte is the town near the figure 5 southwest corner. Hughesvilles is located east of the figure 5 north center area and Dresden is located slightly west of the figure 5 south center edge area. Muddy Creek meanders in a north-northeast direction from the figure 5 south edge (east of center) to highway 65 and then meanders in a southeast direction to the figure 5 east edge (south half). East of the figure 5 map area Muddy Creek joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Note how Muddy Creek has southeast-oriented tributaries from the north and west, northwest, and north-oriented tributaries from the south and east. South Fork is formed at the confluence of north-oriented Beaverdam Creek and an unnamed east and north-oriented tributary near the west edge of the figure 5 northwest quadrant and flows in a north direction to join the Blackwater River north of figure 5. Heaths Creek originates north and west of Hughesville and flows in an east-northeast direction across the figure 5 north center region to the figure 5 north edge (east half) and north and east of figure 5 joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Note how Heaths Creek has northwest-oriented tributaries from the south in addition to some northeast oriented tributaries. The figure 5 map contour interval is ten meters and again through valleys can be seen linking north-oriented Heaths Creek tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Muddy Creek tributary valleys. The easiest to see through valley is located east of Hughesville and links a north-oriented Hess Creek tributary valley with the southeast-oriented Turkey Creek valley. Hess Creek is a north, northeast, and north oriented Heaths Creek tributary and Turkey Creek is an east-northeast and southeast oriented Muddy Creek tributary. The through valley floor elevation is between 240 and 250 meters and elevations on either side rise to more than 260 meters. West and south of Hughesville a shallower through valley links an unnamed north-northwest oriented Heaths Creek tributary valley with the south-oriented Brushy Creek valley, where Brushy Creek flows to east-oriented Little Muddy Creek, which in turn flows to Muddy Creek. The floor elevation of this second through valley is between 250 and 260 meters and elevations on either side rise to more than 260 meters. North and slightly east of La Monte a shallower through valley can be seen linking the north-oriented Beaverdam Creek valley with the east-southeast oriented Little Muddy Creek valley. Again these through valleys provide evidence of former south-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding Muddy Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Hess Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Hess Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 6 provides a detailed topographic map of the Hess Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5. Hughesville is the town located near the figure 6 west center edge. Hess Creek originates in section 24 just east of Hughesville and flows in a north and east-northeast direction to the figure 6 north edge (west half) and north of the figure 6 map area flows to northeast-oriented Heaths Creek. Turkey Creek flows in an east-northeast direction across section 19 and into section 20 where it turns to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 6 south edge (east half). Note how the east-northeast oriented Turkey Creek segment has north and north-northeast oriented tributaries and how water from those tributaries makes a U-turn to reach Muddy Creek. Note also how northwest-southeast oriented through valleys in the section 19 and 20 boundary area link a south-oriented Turkey Creek tributary valley with a northwest- and north-oriented Hess Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is ten feet and the through valley floor elevations are between 800 and 810 feet (a spot elevation of 807 is shown on one of the through valley floors). Elevations along the figure 6 southwest quadrant south edge rise to 850 feet and in section 16 in the figure 6 northeast quadrant rise to more than 860 feet. While the channels in sections 19 and 20 seen crossing the drainage divide appear to be narrow the through valley in fact spans the entire distance between the high points identified in sections 30 and 16. In other words, through valley is at least 40 feet deep at its deepest points and is more than two miles across. This through valley was eroded as one of many southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters to the actively eroding Muddy Creek valley. The size and depth of the through valley illustrate how flood waters stripped the regional landscape as they flowed across the region. Headward erosion of the Heath Creek valley then beheaded and reversed the flood flow and the reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented Hess Creek valley. How much material was eroded from the figure 6 map area prior to development of the erosion (deposition?) surface represented by the highest figure 6 elevations is impossible to determine, however it is possible flood waters deeply eroded the region and perhaps also deposited considerable material, some or all which has since been eroded.

Muddy Creek-Flat Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Muddy Creek-Flat Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 7 illustrates the Muddy Creek-Flat Creek drainage divide area located south and slightly east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Sedalia is the largest town shown and Dresden is the smaller town in the figure 7 northwest quadrant. Muddy Creek meanders in an east and north-northeast direction from the figure 7 west edge (north of center) to the north edge (north of Sedalia and then meanders along the east half of the figure 7 north edge. North and east of the figure 7 map area Muddy Creek joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Muddy Creek tributaries from south include (from west to east) north-oriented Elk Branch; northwest, northeast, and north-oriented Coon Creek; north-oriented Brushy Creek; and north-oriented Sewer Branch with its northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributary. Flat Creek meanders in a northeast and east direction from the figure 7 south center edge to the southeast corner. East of the figure 7 map area Flat Creek joins the north-oriented Lamine River. Camp Branch is the east-oriented tributary joining Flat Creek near the figure 7 south center edge. Through valleys crossing the Muddy Creek-Flat Creek drainage divide are not as obvious as in previous figures, although a close look at the drainage divide in the Campbell Siding area (on southwest side of Sedalia) reveals a shallow through valley linking northwest-oriented Coon Creek tributary valleys with a southeast-oriented Flat Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is ten meters and the through valley floor elevation is between 260 and 270 meters. A spot elevation of 277  meters is seen just to the southwest. Contour lines in Sedalia are difficult to read although east of  Sedalia elevations rise to at least 280 meters. Proceeding west of the figure 7 map area elevations also rise to more than 280 meters. The exact width and depth of the through valley is difficult to determine, however the figure 7 map evidence definitely documents the presence of a through valley crossing the Muddy Creek-Flat Creek drainage divide. Again, the through valley provides evidence of a south-oriented flood flow channel to the actively eroding Flat Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the Muddy Creek valley.

Detailed map of Coon Creek-Camp Branch drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Coon Creek-Camp Branch drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 8 illustrates a detailed topographic map of the Coon Creek-Camp Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Coon Creek flows in an east-northeast direction across the figure 8 northwest corner. Other north oriented streams flowing to the figure 8 north edge are Coon Creek tributaries. Note how these Coon Creek tributaries usually begin as north and/or northwest oriented streams although there are some northeast-oriented tributaries and valley segments. Flat Creek flows in a northeast direction across the figure 8 southeast corner. Camp Branch is the east-oriented stream flowing along the figure 8 south edge and joining Flat Creek just south of the figure 8 south edge. Note how most Camp Branch and Flat Creek tributaries are oriented in southeast and south directions, although in sections 13 and 18 there are northeast oriented tributaries to a southeast-oriented Flat Creek tributary. The figure 8 map contour interval is ten feet and through valleys can be seen crossing the Coon Creek-Camp Branch (and Flat Creek) drainage divide. The deepest through valley is located at and around the corner of sections 7, 12, 13, and 18 and has a valley floor elevation of between 860 and 870 feet. Elevations to the southwest rise to more than 910 feet and while not seen in figure 8 elevations to the east in Sedalia also rise to more than 910 feet (the highest elevation shown in Sedalia is a spot elevation of 922 feet). In other words the through valley is at least 40 feet deep and was probably deeper when eroded. A somewhat shallower through valley is seen in the region around the corner of sections 14, 15, 22, and 23. The through valley floor elevation is between 890 and 900 feet and elevations on either side rise to more than 910 feet. Proceeding west of the figure 8 map area elevations greater than 930 feet can be found. The through valleys seen in figure 8 represent two channels on the floor of a much broader through valley spanning the distance between the 922 foot elevation in Sedalia and the 930 foot high elevations west of the figure 8 map area. South-oriented flood flow moving to the actively eroding Flat Creek valley eroded the broad south-oriented flood flow channel into what was then an erosion (or deposition?) surface at least as high as the highest figure 8 map region elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Muddy Creek-Coon Creek valley then captured the south-oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented valley.

Flat Creek-Osage River drainage divide area

Figure 9: Flat Creek-Osage River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 9 illustrates the Flat Creek-Osage River drainage divide area located south of the figure 7 map area and there is a gap between figures 7 and 9. Windsor is the town located in the Henry County northeast corner (south of the figure 9 northwest corner). Cole Camp is the town (without a name) located along the south half of the figure 9 east edge and east of Cole Camp Junction. Ionia is the small town located northwest of Cole Camp Junction and Brandon is the even smaller town located on the railroad between Ionia and Windsor. Flat Creek originates in the Brandon area and flows in a north and northeast direction to the figure 9 north edge (east of center) and then turns to flow in an east direction to join the north oriented Lamine River. Note how Flat Creek has north and northwest-oriented tributaries from the south and east and southeast-oriented tributaries from the north and west. The north oriented Flat Creek tributary flowing between Brandon and Ionia is South Flat Creek. South-oriented streams in the Windsor area and also flowing to the west half of the figure 9 south edge are tributaries to south and southeast-oriented Tebo Creek, which south of the figure 9 map area joins the Osage River. South-oriented streams flowing to the south edge of the figure 9 southeast quadrant (east of highway) are Cole Camp Creek tributaries and south of the figure 9 map area Cole Camp Creek flows to the Osage River. The north half of the figure 9 map area uses a 10 meter contour interval while the south half uses a 20 meter contour interval, which does not show enough detail to show shallow through valleys eroded across the region. Figure 10 below provides a more detailed topographic map of drainage divides south of the South Flat Creek headwaters to illustrate through valleys in that region. Figure 9 does permit a big picture view which shows how north-oriented drainage routes are aligned with south-oriented drainage routes suggesting the drainage routes originated as south-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Osage River tributary valleys (which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Osage River valley). Headward erosion of the deep northeast and east-oriented Flat Creek valley then captured the south-oriented flood flow and beheaded flood flow routes to the actively eroding Osage River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes then reversed flow direction to erode the north- and northwest-oriented Flat Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of South Flat Creek-Carman Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of South Flat Creek-Carman Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 10 shows a detailed topographic map of the South Flat Creek-Carman Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9. Before looking at drainage routes first note the two highest points on the map are at the northeast corner where elevations exceed 990 feet and in section 5 near the southwest corner where a small hill reaches an elevation of at least 990 feet (the map contour interval is ten feet). The north-oriented stream flowing from section 34 to sections 27, 22, and 21 and then to the figure 10 north edge in section 16 is South Flat Creek. Note the southwest west, and northwest-oriented tributary in sections 24, 23 and 22 which has southwest and south oriented tributaries from the north and north-oriented tributaries from the south. The south, east, and south oriented stream originating in section 25 and flowing to the figure 10 southeast corner area is Carman Creek, which just south of the figure 10 southeast corner joins south-oriented Cole Camp Creek. Note how southeast-oriented Carman Creek headwaters valleys are linked by shallow through valleys in sections 25 and 26 with the northwest-oriented South Flat Creek tributary valley. Floors of the through valleys at their deepest points are between 930 and 940 feet and elevations gradually rise in a northeast direction to 990 feet in the northeast corner and in a southwest direction with some gentle ups and downs to 990 feet in the figure 10 southwest corner. The gentle ups and down include other slightly shallower north-south oriented channels linking the north-oriented South Flat Creek valley with the south-oriented Little Tebo Creek valley seen in sections 4, 8, and 9 near the south edge of the figure 10 southwest quadrant. Elevations of through valleys linking the north-oriented South Flat Creek valley with the south-oriented Little Tebo Creek valley are between 940 and 950 feet. In other words a broad through valley 40-60 feet or more deep spans the figure 10 map area diagonally and links the north-oriented South Flat Creek valley with the south-oriented Carman Creek and Little Tebo Creek valleys. This through valley was eroded by south-oriented flood flow moving to what were then the actively eroding Carman Creek (and Camp Cole Creek) and Little Tebo Creek valleys. Headward erosion of the northeast and east oriented Flat Creek valley to the north beheaded and reversed the flood flow to erode the north-oriented South Flat Creek valley and its tributary valleys.

Additional information and sources of maps studied

This essay has provided only a sample of the detailed topographic map evidence supporting the flood erosion interpretation. Many additional illustrations could be provided. Readers are encouraged to look at mosaics of detailed topographic maps to see the abundance of available data. Maps used in this study were created and published by the United States Geologic Survey and can be obtained directly from the United States Geological Survey and/or from dealers offering United States Geological Survey maps. Hard copy maps can also be observed at United States Geological Survey map depositories which are located throughout the United States and elsewhere. Illustrations used here were created using National Geographic Society TOPO software and digital map data. TOPO software and map data can be obtained from the National Geographic Society and/or dealers offering National Geographic Society digital map data.

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