Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area landform origins in Chariton County, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

Topographic map interpretation methods are used to interpret landform origins in the Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area located in Chariton County, Missouri. The Grand River and Chariton River are south-oriented tributaries flowing to the southeast-oriented Missouri River with the Grand River located west of the Chariton River. Mussel Fork is a south-oriented Chariton River tributary with south-oriented tributaries located west of the Chariton River and southwest-oriented Yellow Creek is a Grand River tributary with multiple south and south-southwest oriented tributaries located east of the Grand River. South of southwest-oriented Yellow Creek is west and south-oriented Salt Creek, which is a Grand River tributary. Drainage routes in the present day Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area of Chariton County evolved as headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley captured multiple south-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a large south-oriented flood formed anastomosing channel complex. Deep valleys then eroded headward along these south-oriented flood flow channels with the deeper valleys beheading diverging south-oriented flood flow channels. Evidence for beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels is found in the form of north-oriented and barbed tributaries flowing to south-oriented valleys and in the form of shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented valleys with south-oriented valleys further to the south. Based on topographic evidence described in other essays the massive south-oriented flood flow responsible for eroding the Chariton County region was derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet.

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 Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area landform origins in Chariton County, 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 Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area landform evidence in Chariton County, 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.

Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Grand River-Chariton 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 illustrates a location map for the Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area in Chariton County, Missouri. Missouri is the state occupying much of the figure 1 map area. Iowa is the state north of Missouri and Illinois is located east of Missouri and Iowa. Kansas is located west of Missouri and the southeast tip of Nebraska can be seen along the figure 1 west edge just north of Kansas. The Mississippi River flows in a south-southwest direction from the figure 1 north edge to the Iowa-Missouri state line and then flows in a south and south-southeast direction along the Missouri eastern border. Note closely spaced and parallel southeast oriented Mississippi River tributaries in northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa. South of the figure 1 map area the Mississippi River flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Missouri River forms the Missouri western border from the figure 1 west edge to Kansas City. At Kansas City the Missouri River turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to Brunswick. At Brunswick the Missouri River turns again to flow in a southeast direction to Jefferson City and then turns to flow in an east direction to join the Mississippi River just east of the figure 1 map area. Note how many tributaries flowing across northern Missouri to reach the Missouri River flow in south directions and are parallel to each other and if they do not flow directly to the Missouri River they flow to the southeast and south-oriented Grand River, which joins the Missouri River near Brunswick. The easternmost of the figure 1 labeled Grand River tributaries is Locust Creek, with Medicine Creek, and the Thompson River with its Weldon River tributary being located further to the west. East of the south-oriented Locust Creek-Grand River route is the south-oriented Chariton River. Between Locust Creek and the Chariton River is south-oriented Mussel Fork, which is a Chariton River tributary. The Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area in Chariton County, Missouri is located east of the Grand River, north of the southeast-oriented Missouri River, west of the Chariton River, and south of the towns of Laclede, Brookfield, and Marcelline. The Grand River-Missouri River drainage divide area landform origins in Livingston and Carroll Counties, Missouri essay describes the region directly to the west. This and other essays describing regional drainage divide areas can be found by selecting Chariton River, MO Grand River, MO Missouri River, or Missouri on the sidebar category list.
  • Based on topographic map evidence presented in this essay and in other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays the figure 1 map area, including Chariton County, Missouri, was eroded by immense south-oriented melt water floods. 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 comparable in size if not larger than the present day Antarctic Ice Sheet and had been located in a deep “hole”. The deep “hole” had been formed by deep glacial erosion and also by crustal warping caused by the ice sheet’s great weight. The figure 1 map region would have been located along the deep “hole’s” southern rim, although deep melt water erosion has removed almost all topographic evidence of that southern rim. Melt water floods at one time flowed south across the entire figure 1 map area (and a much larger region) directly to the Gulf of Mexico. Deep valleys then began to erode headward from the Gulf of Mexico along the south-oriented flood flow routes, with headward erosion of the deep Mississippi River valley and its tributary valleys gradually capturing much of the south-oriented flood flow. Mississippi River tributary valleys eroded headward from the actively eroding Mississippi River valley in sequence from south to north. In the case of the figure 1 map area headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley from the Jefferson City, Missouri region to Kansas City followed headward erosion of the deep east and northeast oriented Osage River valley (located south of figure 1) which joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City. Headward erosion of the southeast and south oriented Grand River valley followed slightly behind Missouri River valley headward erosion and captured south-oriented flood flow which had been moving to the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Subsequently headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Des Moines River valley (flowing from north of the figure 1 map area to join the Mississippi River along the Iowa-Missouri state line) beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Grand River valley.

Detailed location map for Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area

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

 

  • Figure 2 shows a more detailed location map for the Grand River-Chariton River drainage divide area in Chariton County, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown. The Missouri River flows in an east-northeast direction along the Carroll County southern border and then turns to flow in a southeast direction along the Chariton County southern border before flowing to the figure 2 south center edge. The Grand River flows in a southeast direction across Livingston County to the Chaiton County northwest corner and then turns to flow in a south direction along the Carroll-Chariton County border to join the Missouri River near Brunswick. Locust Creek is the south-oriented tributary joining the Grand River near the Chariton County northwest corner and which flows in a south direction in western Linn County.  Yellow Creek is a southwest and west oriented Grand River tributary formed at the confluence of West and East Yellow Creeks near Rothville in northern Chariton County. East and West Yellow Creeks flow in south-southwest directions in eastern Linn County before flowing into Chariton County. South-oriented Yellow Creek tributaries flowing from Linn County into Chariton County and west of West Yellow Creek are Elk Creek and Turkey Creek. Salt Creek is a west and south-oriented Grand River tributary located south of Yellow Creek in western Chariton County and joins the Grand River near Brunswick. South of the west-oriented Salt Creek headwaters segment are south-oriented Lake Creek and Palmer Creek, with Lake Creek being a Palmer Creek tributary and with Palmer Creek being a Missouri River tributary. The Chariton River flows in a south direction in Macon County to the Chariton County northeast corner and then flows in a south-southwest direction to join the Missouri River near where Palmer Creek joins the Missouri River. The major labeled Chariton River tributary in Chariton County is Mussel Fork, which flows in a south direction along the Linn-Macon County border and into Chariton County where it joins the Chariton River a short distance south and east of Keytesville. Clarks Creek is a labeled south-oriented Mussel Fork tributary flowing from the Linn County southeast corner to join Mussel Fork south of Mike in Chariton County. The Little Chariton River drains the Chariton County southeast corner region and joins the Missouri River near Glasgow (located at the Chariton County southernmost point). Note how figure 2 drainage routes are almost all oriented in south directions and are frequently closely spaced and parallel to each other. This drainage pattern suggests the figure 2 drainage routes were established as deep valley eroded headward along south oriented flood flow channels in an immense south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Examples of topographic map evidence supporting this former anastomosing channel complex origin interpretation are provided below.

Chariton River-Little Chariton River drainage divide area

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

 

  • Figure 3 uses a reduced size topographic map to illustrate the Chariton River-Little Chariton River drainage divide area in southeast Chariton County. The southeast-oriented Missouri River valley is located in the figure 3 southwest corner. Keytesville is the town in the figure 3 west center area and Dalton is the town located south and west Keytesville in the figure 3 southwest quadrant.  Salisbury is the somewhat larger town located east and slightly south of the figure 3 center. Note the north-south Chariton-Randolph County line near the figure 3 east edge. The Chariton River flows in a south-southwest direction from the figure 3 north center edge to join the southeast-oriented Missouri River south of the figure 3 map area. Mussel Fork is the south-oriented stream flowing from the figure 3 north edge (west half) to join the Chariton River south of Keytesville. The Litte Chariton River is formed near the figure 3 south center edge at the confluence of southwest oriented Middle Fork and southwest oriented East Fork. The Middle Fork flows from the figure 3 northeast corner while the East Fork flows from the figure 3 east center edge. Study of figure 3 drainage divides reveals some interesting features. For example between Keytesville and Salisbury is southwest- and west-oriented Puzzle Creek which flows to the Chariton River. Puzzle Creek originates as a southwest-oriented stream north of Salisbury, but on entering the Chariton River valley becomes a west-oriented stream. Note how Puzzle Creek has northwest and even northeast oriented tributaries and how some of those tributaries are linked by shallow through valleys with south- and southeast-oriented Little Chariton River (or Middle Fork) tributary valleys. The tributary orientations and the shallow through valleys provide evidence of former south-oriented flood flow channels prior to headward erosion of the deep Chariton River valley. Flood waters at that time were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day Chariton River-Little Chariton River drainage divide and may have been flowing to what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. The north-oriented Puzzle Creek tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels when headward erosion of the deep Chariton River-Puzzle Creek valley beheaded those flood flow channels. Also note northwest-oriented tributaries to the East Fork Little Chariton River in the figure 3 southeast corner area. Northwest-oriented Chariton River tributaries can be seen north of Salisbury and they are also linked by shallow trough valleys with south-oriented Middle Fork tributary valleys.

Mussel Fork-Chariton River drainage divide area

Figure 4: Mussel Fork-Chariton River drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 4 uses a reduced size topographic map to illustrate the Mussel Fork-Chariton River drainage divide area in the Chariton County northeast corner area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Labeled county lines are located near the figure 4 east edge. The Chariton River flows in the large south-southwest oriented valley extending from the figure 4 northeast corner area to the figure 4 south center edge. The southwest-oriented Middle Fork Little Chariton River flows across the figure 4 southeast corner. Note how the Chariton River has northwest-oriented tributaries from the east, which provide evidence headward erosion of the deep Chariton River valley beheaded and reversed multiple south- and/or southeast-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Chariton River tributaries from the west are generally oriented in south and southeast directions further supporting the anastomosing channel complex interpretation. The south and south-southwest oriented stream flowing from the figure 4 north edge (just west of center) to the figure 4 south edge (west half) is Mussel Fork. Musselfork is a small town near the figure 4 center. Jones Branch is a south-oriented Chariton River tributary located just east of Musselfork and Cottonwood Creek is a south-southwest oriented Mussel Fork tributary located just west of Musselfork. Note how Cottonwood Creek is linked by a shallow through valley with a north-oriented Mussel Fork tributary valley (now flooded with a reservoir). Figure 5 below provides a detailed topographic map of the through valley region to better illustrate that region. Also note near the figure 4 north center edge how south-oriented Jones Creek is linked by a shallow through valley with a north-oriented Mussel Fork tributary (the north-oriented tributary joins Mussel Fork north of the figure 4 map area). These north-south oriented through valleys provide evidence of what were once south-oriented flood flow channels in a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. The northern diverging flood flow channel was located on the Jones Creek alignment and moved south-oriented flood flow from the a south-oriented channel on the present day Mussel Fork valley alignment to the Chariton River valley alignment. The south-oriented diverging flood flow channel on the Cottonwood Creek alignment diverged from the channel on the Mussel Fork valley alignment and then converged with the Mussel Fork valley channel further to south. Such diverging and converging channels are common in flood formed anastomosing channel complexes. Headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Mussel Fork valley along the present day Mussel Fork valley channel alignment beheaded the south-oriented diverging channels.

Detailed map of Mussel Fork-Cottonwood Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Detailed map of Mussel Fork-Cottonwood Creek drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 5 provides a detailed topographic map of the Mussel Fork-Cottonwood Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in the figure 4 map above. The south-oriented stream near the figure 5 east edge is Jones Creek, which south of the figure 5 map area joins the Chariton River (and which north of the figure 5 map area is linked by a north-south oriented through valley with a north-oriented Mussel Fork tributary valley). Mussel Fork meanders in a south direction in its meandering valley in the figure 5 west half. Note the now flooded north- and northwest-oriented Mussel Fork tributary valley in sections 12 and 11 in the figure 5 north center area. The south-oriented stream directly to the south and flowing to the figure 5 south center edge is the headwaters of Cottonwood Creek, which south of the figure 5 map area eventually joins Mussel Fork. Along the section 13-14 boundary there is a north-south oriented through valley linking the flooded north-oriented Mussel Fork tributary valley with the south-oriented Cottonwood Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is 10 feet and the through valley floor elevation is between 760 and 770 feet. Elevations on either side of the through valley rise to more than 810 feet. The through valley was eroded by a south-oriented flood flow channel into a surface which was at least 810 feet high if not higher and the flood flow channel diverged from a south-oriented flood flow channel located along the present day Mussel Fork valley alignment. The south-oriented Cottonwood Creek flood flow channel was just one of many diverging flood flow channels. The Jones Creek valley in the figure 5 east half was eroded along another major diverging flood flow channel. Shallow through valleys (some defined by only 2 or 3 contour lines on a side) are located along the drainage divide between the former Cottonwood Creek flood flow channel and the Jones Creek flood flow channel and provide evidence of diverging and converging flood flow channels which once crossed that drainage divide. Shallow through valleys also cross the drainage divide between the south-oriented Mussel Fork valley and the south-oriented Cottonwood Creek valley. For example in the section 14 southwest quadrant shallow through valleys (defined by a single contour line on each side) link northwest-oriented Mussel Fork tributary valleys with a southeast-oriented Cottonwood Creek tributary valley and provide evidence of additional diverging channels.

Salt Creek-Missouri River drainage divide area

Figure 6: Salt Creek-Missouri River drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 6 is a reduced size topographic map of the Salt Creek-Missouri River drainage divide area north and west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3 (and figure 4). Brunswick is the town located north of the figure 6 south center edge. Keytesville is the town located near the east edge and Dalton is located near the south edge in the figure 6 southeast corner region. Triplett is the town in the figure 6 west center region. The east-northeast and southeast oriented Missouri River valley is located near the figure 6 south margin and a Missouri River channel meander loop can be seen south and west of Brunswick. The south and southeast oriented river in the large south-oriented valley in the figure 6 west half is the Grand River and the Grand River joins the Missouri River south of the figure 6 south center edge. The south-oriented stream in the deep valley near the figure 6 east edge is Mussel Fork, which joins the Chariton River as seen in figure 3. Between the Grand River valley and the Mussel Fork valley are several south-oriented tributaries flowing to the Missouri River valley. From west to east the labeled south-oriented Missouri River tributaries are Brush Creek, Lake Creek, and Palmer Creek, with Lake Creek joining Palmer Creek on the Missouri River valley floor. The west, southwest, and south oriented Grand River tributary flowing across the figure 6 north center area and then in a south direction along the Grand River valley east edge is Salt Creek. Note how Salt Creek has several northwest-oriented tributaries including northwest-oriented Elm Branch. In addition Squaw Branch (labeled South Branch on more detailed topographic maps) flows in a west and then north direction to reach west-oriented Salt Creek. Note how the north oriented Squaw Branch valley is linked by a well-defined north-south oriented through valley with the south-oriented Lake Creek valley. Figure 7 below provides a detailed topographic map of the Squaw Branch-Lake Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valley. A somewhat shallower through valley links the south-oriented Brush Creek valley with north- and northwest-oriented Salt Creek tributary valley. The through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels beheaded by headward erosion of the west-oriented Salt Creek valley from what was probably the actively eroding Grand River valley. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the present-day north-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of South Branch Salt Creek-Lake Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Detailed map of South Branch Salt Creek-Lake Creek drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 7 provides a detailed topographic map of the South Branch Salt Creek (Squaw Branch on the figure 6 map)-Lake Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 6 above. The north-oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 north center edge is the South Branch Salt Creek (Squaw Branch on figure 6) and north of the figure 7 map area flows to west-oriented Salt Creek, which eventually reaches the south-oriented Grand River. The south-southeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 south center edge is Lake Creek, which south of the figure 7 map area flows in a south direction to the Missouri River valley. The north-northwest and west oriented stream in sections 1 and 36 along the figure 7 west edge is Elm Branch, which west and north of figure 7 flows in a northwest direction to reach west and southwest oriented Salt Creek. The south-southeast oriented stream flowing across section 3 along the figure 7 east margin is Palmer Creek, which south and east of figure 7 flows in a south direction to reach the Missouri River valley. Note in the section 5 northwest quadrant a north-south oriented through valley linking the north-oriented South Branch Salt Creek valley with the south-oriented Lake Creek valley. The map contour interval is ten feet and the through valley floor elevation is between 780 and 790 feet. A spot elevation in the section 33 center (east of the through valley is marked at 841 feet while a spot elevation (west of the through valley) along the section 1 south border is marked at 836 feet. These elevations suggest the through valley when eroded was approximately 50 feet deep (maybe deeper) and was eroded into a surface at least as high as the highest figure 7 elevations today. Other somewhat shallower through valleys can also be seen. For example in the section 33 southwest quadrant and section 4 northwest corner shallow through valleys link a southeast-oriented Palmer Creek headwaters valley with a northwest and west oriented headwaters valley draining to the north-oriented South Branch Salt Creek valley. Also in the section 33 northeast quadrant a shallow through valley links another southeast-oriented Palmer Creek headwaters valley with a northwest and west-northwest oriented South Branch Salt Creek tributary valley. These through valleys and many others provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels which flowed across the entire figure 7 map area. The flood flow channels were beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep Salt Creek valley (north of figure 7).

Yellow Creek-Mussel Fork drainage divide area

Figure 8: Yellow Creek-Mussel Fork drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 8 illustrates the Yellow Creek-Mussel Fork drainage divide area located north of the figure 6 map area, north and west of the figure 4 map area, and includes overlap areas with figure 6 and figure 4. Rothville is the small town located in the figure 8 north center area and Mendon is the larger town just south of the figure 8 west center region. Newhall is a small town located south and slightly east of the figure 8 center. The south and south-southwest stream near the figure 8 east edge is Mussel Fork. Clarks Creek is the south-oriented Mussel Fork tributary located east of the north-south highway (in figure 8 east half) and Long Branch is the south-oriented Mussel Fork tributary located west of the highway (and joining Mussel Fork south of the figure 8 map area).  The southwest oriented stream flowing from Rothville to near the figure 8 west edge where it turns to flow in a west-northwest direction is Yellow Creek. Yellow Creek is formed near Rothville at the confluence of south-oriented West Yellow Creek and south-southwest oriented East Yellow Creek. Just west of the figure 8 map area Yellow Creek joins the south-oriented Grand River, which is located west of the figure 8 map area (the south-oriented Grand River valley is located just west of the figure 8 west margin). Note how Yellow Creek has several northwest oriented tributaries. Hickory Branch is a west-oriented Yellow Creek tributary originating in the Newhall area and joining Yellow Creek west of Mendon. Note north- and northwest-oriented Hickory Branch tributaries. Salt Creek is the west and southwest oriented stream located south of Hickory Branch and also originating in the Newhall region. Note how south-oriented Salt Creek headwaters valleys are linked by shallow through valleys with northwest-oriented Hickory Branch tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels captured by Salt Creek valley headward erosion and then beheaded by Hickory Branch valley headward erosion. Also note north of Newnall a shallow through valley linking a southwest-oriented Hickory Branch headwaters valley with the northwest-oriented White Oak Creek valley, where White Oak Creek flows to southwest-oriented Yellow Creek near Rothville. In summary, the figure 6 and 8 map evidence demonstrates the following sequence of events. First multiple south-oriented flood flow channels flowed across the entire figures 6 and 8 map areas on a surface at least as high as the highest figure 6 and 8 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley then captured these south-oriented flood flow channels. Next headward erosion of the southwest- and west-oriented Salt Creek valley from the actively eroding south-oriented Grand River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Missouri River. Next headward erosion of the west-oriented Hickory Branch valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Salt Creek valley. Then Yellow Creek valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Hickory Branch valley.

Locust Creek-East Yellow Yellow Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: Locust Creek-East Yellow Creek drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 9 illustrates the Locust Creek-East Yellow Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 8 map area and includes an overlap area with figure 8. Brookfield is the large town located north of the figure 9 center. Marcelline is the town located in the figure 9 southeast quadrant and Laclede is the somewhat smaller town located west of Brookfield. St Catherine is the small town east of Brookfield. The west to east oriented Linn-Chariton County line is located in the figure 9 south half just south of Marcelline. The south-oriented stream flowing in the valley along the figure 9 west edge is Locust Creek which joins the south-oriented Grand River just west of the figure 9 southwest corner. Muddy Creek is the south-southwest tributary joining Locust Creek near the figure 9 west center edge and flowing west of Laclede. Turkey Creek is the south-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 north edge to the south edge and located just east of Laclede. South of figure 9 Turkey Creek joins south-oriented Elk Creek, which then joins southwest and west-northwest oriented Yellow Creek, which then joins the Grand River. Elk Creek is the south-oriented stream flowing along the Brookfield west margin to the figure 9 south edge and is a Yellow Creek tributary. The south-oriented stream just east of Brookfield and west of St Catherine is East Yellow Creek. West Yellow Creek is the south and south-southwest oriented stream east of St Catherine. Clarks Creek is the south-oriented stream flowing from Marcelline Reservoir (east of Marcelline) to the figure 9 south edge (near southeast corner) and south of figure 9 flows to Mussel Fork. South-oriented Mussel Fork is located just east of the figure 9 map area. Note how East Yellow Creek has northwest-oriented tributaries especially in the figure 9 southeast quadrant. The closely spaced and roughly parallel south-oriented valleys and their tributary valleys seen in the figure 9 map area suggest they originated as deep valleys eroded headward along what were multiple south-oriented anastomosing flood flow channels. The deepest valleys eroded headward along major flood flow channels and beheaded diverging south-oriented flood flow channels. Study of the figure 9 map area reveals some through valleys linking south-oriented tributary valleys with valleys further north, although the shallow through valleys are better seen on more detailed topographic maps. Figure 10 below provides a detailed topographic map of the East Yellow Creek-Locust Branch drainage divide area just north of Marcelline to better illustrate a through valley linking a north-oriented East Yellow Creek tributary valley with a south-oriented Clarks Creek tributary valley (Locust Branch is the south-oriented stream east of Marcelline and west of Clarks Creek)

Detailed map of East Yellow Creek-Locust Branch drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of East Yellow Creek-Locust Branch drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 10 provides a detailed topographic map of the East Yellow Creek-Locust Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Marcelline is the town straddling the figure 10 south edge. East Yellow Creek flows in a south-southwest direction from the figure 10 north edge (just west of center) to the figure 10 west edge (near southwest corner). South and west of the figure 10 map area East Yellow Creek flows to Yellow Creek, which in turn flows to the Grand River. Note northwest and north oriented East Yellow Creek tributaries, which are flowing in valleys eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes. The north-oriented stream flowing in the east half of sections 17 and 8 to the figure 10 north edge (east of center) is a tributary to a south- and west-oriented East Yellow Creek tributary located north of the figure 10 map area. The north-oriented stream meets a south-oriented stream to form the west-oriented tributary (see figure 9). Note how in the section 17 southeast quadrant the north-oriented East Yellow Creek tributary valley is linked by a through valley with a south-oriented valley which is drained by south-oriented Locust Branch. The map contour interval is ten feet and the through valley floor elevation is between 840 and 850 feet. Elevations east of the through valley rise to more than 870 feet and west of the through valley elevations rise to more than 900 feet. The south-oriented stream east of Locust Branch and flowing through Marcelline Reservoir is Clarks Creek. South of figure 10 Locust Branch joins Clarks Creek, which then flows to Mussel Fork, which in turn flows to the Chariton River. The through valley seen in section 17 provides evidence of a south-oriented flood flow channel to what was once the newly eroded Chariton River valley, which was beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep East Yellow Creek valley from what at that time was probably the actively eroding Grand River valley head.

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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