South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area landform origins in Audrain and Callaway Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

Topographic map evidence is used to interpret landform origins in the South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area located in Audrain and Callaway Counties, Missouri. Audrain County is located north of Callaway County and the Missouri River flows in an east direction along the Callaway County southern border. Callaway County is almost completely drained by south-oriented Missouri River tributaries some of which have north oriented barbed tributaries. Central and western Audrain County is drained by the north oriented South Fork Salt River and its north and east oriented tributaries plus some southeast oriented barbed tributaries. North of the study region the South Fork Salt River flows to the east-oriented Salt River which then flows to the Mississippi River. Present day study region drainage routes were formed as deep valleys eroded headward into the region to capture immense south-oriented glacial melt water floods. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley first captured the south oriented flood flow and deep south-oriented tributary valleys then began to erode headward along and across south oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the east oriented Salt River and east oriented Salt River tributary valleys from the Mississippi River valley next captured the south oriented flood flow which had been moving to the actively eroding Missouri River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north oriented South Fork Salt River valley and north-oriented headwaters and tributary valleys to east-oriented South Fork Salt River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes present day valley orientations, barbed tributaries, elbows of capture, and shallow through valleys eroded across drainage divides.

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 South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area landform origins in Audrain and Callaway 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 South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area landform evidence in Audrain and Callaway 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.

South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: South Fork Salt River-Missouri 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 South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area in Audrain and Callaway Counties, Missouri. The Mississippi River flows in a south-southeast direction across the eastern half of figure 1 and serves as the boundary between Illinois to the east and Missouri to the west. The Missouri River flows in an east-northeast direction from Kansas City (on figure 1 west edge south of center) to Brunswick and then turns to flow in a southeast, south, and southeast direction to Jefferson City, Missouri. From Jefferson City the Missouri River flows in an east direction to join the Missouri River a short distance upstream from St. Louis. The Salt River is formed by various tributaries flowing into the reservoir behind Clarence Cannon Dam (located south and west of Hannibal, Missouri) and flows in a northeast and southeast direction to join the Mississippi River downstream from Hannibal, Missouri. Salt River tributaries from the north include the south-southeast oriented North and Middle Forks Salt River and from the south the north-oriented South Fork Salt River, which originates south of Mexico, Missouri. An unlabeled (on figure 1) east-oriented Salt River tributary originating near Moberly is the Elk Fork Salt River. The South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area in Audrain and Callaway Counties, Missouri is located between the north-oriented South Fork Salt River and its tributaries to the north and the east-oriented Missouri River to the south and includes the towns of Centralia, Mexico, Auxvasse, and Fulton, Missouri. Essays describing other regional Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide areas can be found listed under Missouri or MO Missouri River on the sidebar category list.
  • Topographic map evidence in the South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area is interpreted in the context of massive south-oriented melt water floods which flowed across the entire figure 1 map area, which is an interpretation also supported by topographic map evidence illustrated and described in hundreds of similar essays describing other Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide areas. The immense south-oriented floods flowing across the figure 1 map area (and a much larger region) 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 size to the present day Antarctic Ice Sheet if not larger. Further, the ice sheet weight and deep glacial erosion had created a deep “hole” in which the ice sheet was located, however much evidence for the deep “hole’s” southern rim has been removed or significantly altered by deep melt water flood erosion. Whatever drainage systems existed before were overwhelmed by the massive south-oriented melt water floods which initially flowed directly across the entire figure 1 map area directly to the Gulf of Mexico. Headward erosion of the deep Mississippi River valley and its tributary valleys systematically captured the south-oriented flood flow and channeled the flood waters into the large south-oriented Mississippi River valley. As the deep Mississippi River valley eroded headward tributary valleys eroded headward from the actively eroding Mississippi River valley head in sequence from the south to the north. For example, in the state Arkansas, south of the figure 1 map area, the southeast-oriented Arkansas River valley and its tributary valleys captured the south-oriented flood flow prior to headward erosion of the southeast-oriented White River valley and its tributary valleys. Further north in the figure 1 map area headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley and its east and northeast oriented Osage River tributary valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded White River valley and its tributary valleys. Next headward erosion of the Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys west of the Jefferson City area (where the Osage River joins the Missouri River) beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Osage River and its tributary valleys.
  • Looking more specifically at the South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area, headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley first captured the south-oriented flood flow, which was probably moving in what was at that time a giant south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. South-oriented flood flow channels then began to erode deep south-oriented tributary valleys headward from the newly eroded Missouri River valley north wall. The most successful of these tributary valleys captured flood flow from adjacent flood flow channels and also eroded headward across other south-oriented flood flow channels beheading flood flow channels in the process. Also, sometimes as south-oriented flood flow routes were beheaded, flood waters could still reach the actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys by flowing around the head of the actively eroding beheading valley creating southeast and southwest oriented flood flow routes. At the same time as south-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys were eroding headward new east-oriented tributary valleys were eroding headward the Mississippi River valley to the east and beheading south-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding south-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys. The east-oriented Salt River valley was one of these east-oriented Mississippi River tributary valleys and it captured a number of significant number of south-oriented flood flow channels. Evidence of these captures is seen in figure 1 in the form of the closely spaced and roughly parallel south-southeast oriented Salt River tributary valleys from the north. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Salt River tributary valleys, the most significant of which is the north-oriented South Fork Salt River valley, although other north-oriented tributaries are also visible in figure 1.

Detailed location map for South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area

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

 

Figure 2 provides a more detailed location map for the South Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area in Audrain and Callaway Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown. The south-southeast oriented Mississippi River flows from the figure 2 north edge (east half) across the figure 2 northeast corner to the figure 2 east edge (south half). The Missouri River flows in an east direction near the figure 2 south margin along the southern edges of Boone, Callaway, Montgomery, Warren, and St. Charles Counties. The east oriented Elk Fork Salt River flows in an east direction along the figure 2 northwest quadrant north edge to join the north oriented South Fork Salt River near the Mark Twain State Forest area located just west of the figure 2 north center edge. The South Fork Salt River originates just east of the town of Auxvasse in northern Callaway County and flows in a north direction along the edge of Mexico in Audrain County to join the east oriented Elk Fork Salt River near the Mark Twain State Forest (in the Clarence Cannon Reservoir area, which is primarily north of the figure 2 map area). From the Clarence Cannon Reservoir the Salt River flows in a northeast and southeast direction to join the Mississippi River. Major South Fork Salt River tributaries seen in figure 2 and located north of Audrain County are east-northeast oriented Brush Creek and north and east oriented Long Branch, which originates in northwest Audrain County. In Audrain County major tributaries include north and east oriented Goodwater Creek which is a tributary to north-northeast and east oriented Youngs Creek; east-southeast oriented Fish Creek; east-oriented Skull Lick Creek; east, north, and east oriented Davis Creek; southeast oriented Scattering Creek; and southeast oriented Beaverdam Creek. South of the north oriented South Fork Salt River is east-southeast and south oriented Auxvasse Creek. Note how the south oriented Auxvasse Creek segment is aligned with north-oriented South Fork Salt Riverk, providing evidence the two opposing valley were initiated as a major south-oriented flood flow route, which was beheaded in the north and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented South Fork Salt River valley. A significant Auxvasse Creek tributary is south-oriented Harrison Branch which originates near the south end of the north-oriented South Fork Salt River. Other significant Auxvasse Creek tributaries are southeast-oriented Richland and Stinson Creeks. Middle River is a south-southeast Missouri River tributary west of the Auxvasse Creek drainage basin.

Long Branch-Silver Fork drainage divide area

Figure 3: Long Branch-Silver Fork drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

Figure 3 illustrates the Long Branch-Silver Fork drainage divide area located Centralia. Centralia is the larger town located at the figure 3 center and is located in Boone County, near the north-south oriented Boone County-Audrain County line. Sturgeon is the town just north of the figure 3 west center edge area. The north and west-southwest oriented stream in the figure 3 southwest quadrant is Silver Fork, which west of the figure 3 map area flows in a south-southwest direction to join south-oriented Perche Creek, which then flows to the Missouri River. Silver Fork is much better illustrated in maps included in the Elk Fork Salt River-Missouri River drainage divide area landform origins in Randolph, Audrain, and Boone Counties essay (can be found under Missouri or MO Missouri River on sidebar category list). The stream flowing north from near Sturgeon is Salings Creek, which north of the figure 3 map area joins north and northeast oriented Reese Fork, which flows to the east-oriented Elk Fork Salt River. Note how Salings Creek originates as a south-oriented stream along the figure 3 west edge and makes a U-turn to flow in a north direction. The north-oriented stream east of Salings Creek is Long Branch, which north of the figure 3 map area turns to flow in an east direction to join the north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The north and north-northeast oriented stream north of Centralia is Goodwater Creek, which north of the figure 3 map area turns to flow in an east-northeast direction and eventually joins east-oriented Long Branch before Long Branch joins the north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The north-oriented stream flowing along the county line and then turning to flow in a north-northeast direction is Youngs Creek which north of the figure 3 map area is joined by Goodwater Creek. The east-oriented stream just north of the highway and flowing to the figure 3 east center edge is Skull Lick Creek, which east of the figure 3 map area joins the north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The north- and east-oriented stream in the figure 3 southeast quadrant (south of the highway) is Davis Creek, which is another South Fork Salt River tributary. Note how Silver Fork originates as a north-oriented stream and then turns to eventually flow in a south direction and how Salings Creek originates as a south-oriented stream and then turns to become a north-oriented stream. Also note how north-oriented Goodwater Creek is aligned with the north-oriented Silver Fork segment. South of the north-oriented Silver Fork headwaters (and the north-oriented Youngs Creek headwaters) are headwaters of south-oriented Cedar Creek, which is a Missouri River tributary. And south of the north-oriented Davis Creek headwaters are headwaters of southeast and south oriented Auxvasse Creek. The alignment of these opposing drainage routes suggests the drainage routes originated as south-oriented flood flow channels, which were beheaded by headward erosion of east-oriented valleys from the actively eroding Salt River valley complex. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented valleys.

Detailed map of Long Branch-Silver Fork drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Long Branch-Silver Fork 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 Long Branch-Silver Fork drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Silver Fork flows in a northwest direction in section 21 and then turns to flow in a west and west-southwest direction to the figure 4 southwest corner area. As noted previously Silver Fork eventually joins south-oriented Perche Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. The north-oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 north edge (just west of center) is Long Branch, which north of the figure 4 map area turns to flow in an east direction to join the north-oriented South Fork Salt River, which then joins the Salt River, which flows to the Mississippi River. The north-oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 north edge north of Centralia is Goodwater Creek, which is a Long Branch tributary. The drainage divide between Long Branch and Silver Fork seen in figure 4 is the Mississippi River-Missouri River drainage divide and appears to be formed on a relatively smooth erosion (or deposition?) surface. The map contour interval is ten feet and a close look at the drainage divide reveals very shallow north-south valleys linking the north-oriented Long Branch valley with west and west-southwest oriented Silver Fork valley. The shallow valley floor elevations are between 860 feet and 870 feet while areas to the east rise to more than 880 feet. To the west elevations do not rise as high, although they do rise to more than 870 feet. The shallow valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the actively eroding (and south-oriented) Silver Fork valley which had eroded headward from the newly eroded and deep Missouri River valley. Headward erosion of the west-oriented Silver Fork valley also captured south-oriented flood moving on the Goodwater Creek alignment. The north-oriented Silver Fork valley segment seen in figure 3 was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north end of that beheaded flood flow route. Shallow valleys can also be seen linking the north-oriented Goodwater Creek headwaters with the Silver Fork valley. Headward erosion of Salt River tributary valleys north of the figure 4 map area then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to trigger a major flood flow reversal which resulted in headward erosion of the east-oriented Long Branch valley (also north of the figure 4 map area). Headward erosion of the east-oriented Long Branch valley beheaded south-oriented flow routes crossing the figure 4 map area and flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the present day north-oriented Long Branch and Goodwater Creek valleys.

Youngs Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area

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

 

Figure 5 illustrates the Youngs Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area south and slightly east of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Note the labeled county lines. Silver Fork flows in a north and northwest direction from the figure 5 west center area to the northwest corner. East of Silver Fork Youngs Creek flows in a north direction along the Boone-Audrain County line. South-oriented streams in the figure 5 southwest corner area are south-oriented Cedar Creek and south-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries. South of the figure 5 map area Cedar Creek flows directly to the Missouri River. Note how the south-oriented Cedar Creek headwaters are aligned with the north-oriented Silver Fork and Youngs Creek headwaters. Again the north-oriented Silver Fork valley was eroded by reversed flood flow on the north end of a beheaded south-oriented flood flow route beheaded by headward erosion of the west-oriented Silver Creek valley. The north-oriented Youngs Creek valley was eroded in a similar manner (although several steps were involved in the process) when headward erosion of the Salt River valley system (from the deep south-oriented Mississippi River valley) beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. The east and north-northeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 5 north center edge and then flowing in an east direction is Davis Creek, which joins the north-oriented South Fork Salt River a short distance east of the figure 5 map area. The east-southeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 5 east center edge is Scattering Creek, which also is tributary to the north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The east-northeast and southeast oriented stream south of Scattering Creek is Beaverdam Creek, which is another South Fork Salt River tributary. The east-southeast and southeast oriented stream south of Beaverdam Creek and flowing to the figure 5 south edge (just west of the southeast corner) is Bynum Creek, which south of the figure 5 map area joins southeast and south oriented Auxvasse Creek, which is a Missouri River tributary. The south-oriented stream flowing to the figure 5 south center edge is Fourrmile Branch which south of the figure 5 map area meets north-oriented Auxvasse Creek to form east-southeast, southeast, and south oriented Auxvasse Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. Again we are seeing the figure 5 map area the Mississippi River-Missouri River drainage divide. Initially south-oriented flood water flowed across the entire figure 5 map area. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Salt River valley and its tributary valleys from the deep south-oriented Mississippi River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes and triggered a massive flood flow reversal, which formed the north-oriented South Fork Salt River drainage basin.

Davis Creek-Beaverdam Creek drainage divide area

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

 

We will now look at some of the regions immediately surrounding the figure 5 map area. First we will proceed in a north direction to see drainage routes north and slightly east of the figure 5 map area. Figure 6 overlaps considerable areas of the figure 5 map area, but also shows the north-oriented South Fork Salt River flowing near the figure 6 east edge. Mexico is the large town located in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. East, north-northeast, east-southeast, and east-northeast oriented Davis Creek flows from the figure 6 southwest quadrant to join the north-oriented South Fork Salt River just north of Mexico. The east-oriented South Fork Salt River tributary flowing along and across the figure 6 north edge is Skull Lick Creek. The north-oriented stream located along the county line in the figure 6 northwest corner is Youngs Creek. Southeast-oriented Scattering Creek and Beaverdam Creek join the north-oriented South Fork Salt River in the figure 6 southeast quadrant as barbed tributaries. Orientations of the Scattering Creek and Beaverdam Creek southeast-oriented valley segments suggests they were initiated as southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was once a major south-oriented flood flow route. A close look at figure 6 drainage divides reveals evidence for a few shallow through valleys, although the evidence is rare suggesting flood waters were flowing across the entire figure 6 map area at the time the flood flow reversal took place and that all significant figure 6 valleys were eroded into the regional erosion (deposition?) surface after the flood flow reversal had begun. If so the figure 6 map area drainage history needs to be viewed primarily in the context of an evolving flood flow reversal where significant flood waters flowed into the region from yet to be beheaded flood flow routes west of the actively eroding east-oriented Salt River tributary valley heads located north of the figure 6 map area. For example, headward erosion of the deep north-oriented South Fork Salt River valley captured southeast-oriented flood flow in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. That southeast-oriented flood flow came from the figure 6 west margin map area where south-oriented flood flow routes had not yet been beheaded by Salt River tributary valley headward erosion. Headward erosion of the east and north-northeast oriented Davis Creek valley and tributary beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow to southeast-oriented Scattering Creek and Beaverdam Creek valleys. Next headward erosion of Long Branch and Youngs Creek valleys north of the figure 6 map area beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow routes along the figure 6 west margin.

Youngs Creek-Skull Lick Creek drainage divide area

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

 

Figure 7 shows the Youngs Creek-Skull Lick Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 6 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 6. The South Fork Salt River is the north-oriented stream meandering from the figure 7 south edge (east half) to the figure 7 northeast corner. Skull Lick Creek is the east oriented tributary flowing from the figure 7 southwest corner near the south edge to join north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The southeast oriented tributary joining Skull Lick Creek near the figure 7 south center is Little Skull Lick Creek. North of Little Skull Lick Creek is southeast oriented Fish Branch, which is another barbed tributary flowing to north-oriented South Fork Salt River. The east oriented stream flowing along and across the figure 7 north edge and joining the north-oriented South Fork Salt River north of the figure 7 northeast corner is Long Branch. Youngs Creek is the north-northeast, east, and east-northeast tributary flowing from the figure 7 west edge (north of southwest corner) to join Long Branch near the figure 7 northeast corner. The east-oriented tributary joining Youngs Creek at the elbow of capture (where Youngs Creek turns from flowing in a north-northeast direction to flowing in an east direction) is Goodwater Creek. Remember from previous figures Long Branch, Goodwater Creek, and Youngs Creek all began as north-oriented streams. What happened to produce the figure 7 drainage pattern began with south oriented flood flow across the entire region, with a major south-oriented flood flow route probably located along the present north-oriented South Fork Salt River alignment. Headward erosion of the deep Salt River valley north of the figure 7 map area beheaded and reversed the south-oriented flood flow route in the figure 7 east half and the flood flow reversal began. As the east-oriented Elk Fork Salt River valley eroded headward north of the figure 7 map area the reversed flood flow on the South Fork Salt River valley began to draw in flood flow from west of the actively eroding Elk Fork Salt River valley head. This captured flood flow moved in an east direction and began to erode the east-oriented Long Branch valley and also to erode the east- and east-northeast oriented Youngs Creek valley. Headward erosion of east-oriented valleys beheaded south- and southeast-oriented flood flow to what were by that time actively eroding southeast oriented Fish Branch and Little Skull Creek valleys and also beheaded south-oriented flood flow near the figure 7 west margin (which as seen in previous figures was flowing to what were then the actively eroding south-oriented Cedar Creek and Auxvasse Creek valleys (and perhaps to the actively eroding Scattering Creek and Beaverdam Creek valleys). Flood flow on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Youngs Creek valley.

Beaverdam Creek-Auxvasse Creek drainage divide area

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

 

Figure 8 illustrates the Beaverdam Creek-Auxvasse Creek drainage divide area located south and slightly east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Auxvasse is the town on the highway in the figure 8 southeast quadrant. The South Fork Salt River flows in a north direction near the east edge of the figure 8 northeast quadrant and water in the South Fork Salt River flows to the east-oriented Salt River. Harrison Branch is the south-oriented stream flowing near the east edge of the figure 8 southeast quadrant and south of the figure 8 map area Harrison Branch joins south-oriented Auxvasse Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. Beaverdam Creek is the southeast and northeast oriented tributary joining the north-oriented South Fork Salt River in the figure 8 northeast corner. Jesse Creek is the southeast and northeast oriented tributary located south of Beaverdam Creek. Auxvasse Creek flows in a north direction from the Grand Prairie area near the south edge of the figure 8 southwest quadrant and joins south-southeast oriented Fourmile Branch and south-southwest oriented Lick Branch near the small town of Hatton to then flow in an east-southeast direction to the figure 8 south edge (just west of southeast corner). Bynum Creek is the east-southeast and south-southeast oriented tributary flowing from the figure 8 northwest quadrant to join Auxvasse Creek south of Auxvasse. Just barely seen along the north edge in the figure 8 northwest corner are headwaters of north-oriented Youngs Creek. Note how the north-oriented South Fork Salt River is aligned with south-oriented Harrison Branch suggesting the opposing streams are flowing along the alignment of what was once a major south-oriented flood flow route which was subsequently beheaded and reversed so as to erode the north-oriented South Fork Salt River valley. Note also how north-oriented Jesse Creek is aligned with south-oriented Auxvasse Creek tributaries in the Auxvasse region and especially note the through valley just east of Auxvasse linking a north-oriented Jesse Creek tributary valley with a south-oriented Auxvasse Creek tributary valley. Again these valley orientations and the through valley provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes which were beheaded and reversed to erode the north-oriented valleys. Further west in the figure 8 map area is evidence of another dismembered south-oriented flood flow route. Headward erosion of the east-southeast oriented Auxvasse Creek valley first captured the south-oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Auxvasse Creek valley. The south-southeast oriented Fourmile Creek valley then eroded headward along the captured flood flow route until headward erosion of the east-oriented Youngs Creek valley beheaded and reversed the south-oriented flood flow route to erode the north-oriented Youngs Creek valley.

Auxvasse Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide area

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

 

Figure 9 illustrates the Auxvasse Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide area located south of the figure 8 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Fulton is the large town straddling the south edge of the figure 9 southwest quadrant. Kingdom City is the much smaller town near the highway intersection north of Fulton and in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Auxvasse Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 9 north edge (north of Kingdom City) to join south-southwest oriented Harrison Branch and then to flow in a south-southeast and south direction to the figure 9 south edge (east half). Richland Creek is a southeast-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 west edge to the figure 9 south center area and then joins south-oriented Crows Fork Creek which flows to the figure 9 south center edge. South of the figure 9 map area Crows Fork Creek joins south-oriented Auxvasse Creek, which then flows to the Missouri River (see figure 10 below). Note how Richland Creek has several south oriented tributaries from the north including Dyers Branch, Maddox Branch, and Sallees Branch. Maddox Branch has southeast oriented headwaters and southeast-oriented tributaries including McKinney Creek and Houfs Branch. Stinson Creek is the southeast-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 west edge to the south edge at Fulton (south of the figure 9 map area Stinson Creek joins south-oriented Auxvasse Creek). The southeast-oriented drainage routes in the figure 9 west half developed as south oriented Auxvasse Creek captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from west of the actively eroding east oriented Salt River tributary valley heads. Such captures would only be possible if flood waters were flowing across the entire figure 9 map area and the valleys eroding headward into the region were deep. Also of interest in the figure 9 map area are northwest and northeast-oriented headwaters of southeast oriented Whetstone Creek located in the figure 9 northeast corner area. East of the figure 9 map area Whetstone Creek joins the southeast-oriented Loutre River, which then flows to the Missouri River. The northwest-oriented headwaters of what becomes a southeast-oriented drainage systems provides evidence headward erosion of the southeast oriented Whetstone Creek valley and a northeast oriented tributary valley beheaded and reversed a parallel southeast oriented flood flow channel.

Middle River-Auxvasse Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Middle River-Auxvasse Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

Figure 10 uses a reduced size topographic map to illustrate the Middle River-Auxvasse Creek drainage divide area located south of the figure 9 map area. Fulton is located near the figure 10 north center edge. The east-oriented Missouri River can be seen in the figure 10 southeast corner area. Auxvasse Creek flows in a south-southwest and south direction from the figure 10 north edge (near northeast corner) to join the Missouri River near the small town of Steedman in the southeast corner region. Note north-oriented tributaries to south-oriented Auxvasse Creek in the figure 10 east center edge area (north of the small town of Reform and the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant). Crows Fork Creek flows in a south and south-southeast direction from the figure 10 north edge through the words EAST FULTON to join south-oriented Auxvasse Creek. The south-southeast oriented Auxvasse Creek tributary flowing from the figure 10 north edge at Fulton is Stinson Creek. Youngs Creek, which originates near the words WEST FULTON is interesting because it flows in southeast direction, parallel to Stinson Creek, and then makes a U-turn to flow in a north direction to join Stinson Creek as a barbed tributary. Study of the figure 10 map area reveals additional north-oriented barbed tributaries to south-oriented Auxvasse Creek and/or to south-oriented Auxvasse Creek tributaries. These north-oriented barbed tributaries provide evidence the deep south-oriented Auxvasse Creek valley and its tributary valleys eroded headward across what were then south-oriented flood flow routes to the what was then the newly eroded deep Missouri River valley. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow dirtection to erode the north-oriented tributary valleys. The south-southeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 10 north edge (west of Fulton) to the figure 10 south center edge is the Middle River, which joins the Missouri River just south of the figure 10 map area. South of the Youngs Creek U-turn and north of the words ST AUBERT northwest-oriented Lake Branch flows as a barbed tributary to southwest and south oriented Prairie Fork which is a Middle River tributary. Otherwise the Middle River drainage system, unlike the Auxvasse Creek drainage system, has no obvious barbed tributaries. The lack of barbed tributaries suggests the Middle River valley eroded headward along a south-southeast oriented flood flow route, while valleys in the Auxvasse Creek drainage system eroded across south-oriented flood flow routes. Following the Middle River headward (north of the figure 10 map area) leads to the north-oriented Auxvasse Creek headwaters, suggesting headward erosion of the east-southeast-oriented Auxvasse Creek valley seen in figure 8 beheaded the south-oriented flood flow route along which the deep Middle River valley was being eroded.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: