One Hundred and Two River-East Grand River drainage divide area landform origins in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

Topographic map interpretation techniques are used to interpret drainage divide origins in the One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area located in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry Counties, Missouri. The study region is located in northwest Missouri along and/or near the Iowa-Missouri state line. Multiple south-oriented Missouri River tributaries, including the One Hundred and Two River, Platte River, Grand River, Middle Fork Grand River, and East Fork Grand River flow into and across the study region. South of the study region the One Hundred and Two River joins the south-oriented Platte River, which then joins the Missouri River upstream from Kansas City. The Grand River after flowing adjacent to and parallel with the Platte River in Worth County turns to flow in an east and southeast direction. The south-oriented Middle and East Forks Grand River then join the Grand River in Gentry County and the Grand River continues in a southeast direction to eventually join the Missouri River near Brunswick, Missouri, which is a considerable distance downstream from Kansas City. The closely spaced, narrow and elongate drainage basins in the Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry County areas combined with orientations of tributary valleys and shallow through valleys eroded across drainage divides suggests present day drainage routes evolved as deep valleys eroded headward along and across large flood formed and ever-changing south-oriented anastomosing channel complexes. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet located north of the study region and initially flowed south across the region. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Grand River valley (from the actively eroding deep Missouri River valley) captured south-oriented flood flow east of the present day Platte River valley. Flood flow along the Platte River alignment and further west was captured as the actively eroding Missouri River valley eroded further to the west permitting the deep Platte River valley to erode headward in the study region where it beheaded flood flow routes to the actively eroding Grand River valley.

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 One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area landform origins in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry 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 essay 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 One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area landform evidence in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry 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.

One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand 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 provides a location map for the One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry Counties, Missouri. The map illustrates regions in northwest Missouri, southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, and northeast Kansas, with the south-southeast oriented Missouri River  separating Iowa and Missouri from Nebraska and Kansas. South of the figure 1 map area the Missouri River turns at Kansas City, Missouri to flow in an east-northeast direction to Brunswick (seen in the figure 1 southeast quadrant) and then in a south-southeast and east direction to eventually join the south-oriented Mississippi River, which is located east of the figure 1 map area. The One Hundred and Two River is a south-oriented river flowing from near Corning in southern Iowa into northwest Missouri and after flowing near Maryville joins the south-oriented Platte River near St. Joseph, Missouri (St. Joseph is located on the Missouri River). South of the St. Joseph area the Platte River continues to flow in a south direction to join the Missouri River near Platte City (near figure 1 south edge). Upstream from the St. Joseph area the Platte River originates near Creston, Iowa and flows in a south, south-southwest, and south direction adjacent to and parallel with the One Hundred and Two River. East of the Platte River in southern Iowa and northern Missouri is the south-oriented Grand River, which also flows adjacent to and parallel with the Platte River before turning (west of Albany, Missouri) to flow in a southeast and south direction to join the Missouri River near Brunswick, Missouri. The East Fork Grand River is the unnamed Grand River tributary flowing from near Afton, Iowa to join the Grand River near Albany. The One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area of concern in this essay is located just south of the Iowa-Missouri state line, east of the One Hundred and Two River, west of the East Fork Grand River, and north of the towns of Stanberry and Albany. Essays describing Missouri drainage divide areas can be found listed under Missouri, MO Missouri River, and MO Grand River on the sidebar category list.
  • All modern-day drainage routes in the figure 1 map area and adjacent regions were developed as deep valleys and tributary valleys eroded headward into the region during immense south-oriented floods. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, the southern margin of which was located north of the figure 1 map area at the time figure 1 drainage routes were established. The ice sheet had been large, probably as large if not larger than the present day Antarctic Ice Sheet and had been located in a deep “hole”. The deep “hole” had been created by deep glacial erosion and by crustal warping caused by the ice sheet’s great weight. The figure 1 map area is located along what was the deep “hole’s” southern rim and was deeply eroded by melt water floods prior to establishment of landforms seen today. Flood water erosion completely stripped the southern rim area, which makes it difficult if not impossible to determine how deeply the figure 1 map area was eroded, although it is possible hundreds of meters of material was stripped from the region. Also, flood water erosion and deposition makes it difficult if not impossible to determine how far south the ice sheet’s southern margin extended prior to events determinable from present day topographic map evidence. Deep valleys eroded headward into the figure 1 map area from the actively eroding south-oriented Mississippi River valley located east of the figure 1 map area. South of the figure 1 map area in the state of Arkansas where the southeast-oriented Arkansas River valley eroded headward from the Mississippi River valley prior to headward erosion of the southeast-oriented White River valley to capture south-oriented floods flowing across the entire region. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley (and east and northeast-oriented tributary valleys located south of the figure 1 map area) next captured the south oriented flood flow and beheaded flood flow routes the newly eroded White River valley. South-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Missouri River valley along and across the south-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Des Moines River valley and tributary valleys (seen in the figure 1 northeast corner area) next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to some Missouri River tributary valleys.
  • The south-southeast oriented Missouri River valley segment eroded headward along what was a particularly large south and south-southeast oriented flood flow route, which was being fed by an immense melt water river flowing the mouth of a giant ice-walled and bedrock-floored canyon, which had been carved into the surface of the decaying ice sheet. Evidence for that giant ice-walled and bedrock-floored canyon is described in essays listed under James River, ND Missouri River, SD Missouri River, and Big Sioux River on the sidebar category list. The closely spaced and roughly parallel elongate south-oriented Missouri River tributary (and tributary) drainage basins seen in figure 1 suggest present day south-oriented valleys eroded headward along what were once south-oriented channels in a gigantic south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Such an anastomosing channel complex was captured by headward of the deep Missouri River valley and southeast-oriented tributary valleys (such as the southeast-oriented Grand River valley segment identifiable in figure 1) and the flood waters were diverted to the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Evidence seen on more detailed topographic maps illustrated in this essay further support this anastomosing channel origin interpretation. North-oriented barbed tributaries, which do not show up on the figure 1 map, were eroded by reversals of south-oriented flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes.

Detailed One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River location map

Figure 2: Detailed One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 2 provides a more detailed location map for the One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide in Nodaway, Worth, and Gentry Counties. County names and boundaries are shown and the west to east oriented Iowa-Missouri state line is located near the figure 2 north edge (Missouri is the state south of the line). The Missouri River forms the boundary between Doniphan County, Kansas and Andrew County, Missouri in the figure 2 southwest corner area. South of the figure 2 map area the Missouri River flows in a south-southwest direction before turning to flow in a southeast direction before turning again to flow in an east-northeast direction. The One Hundred and Two River flows in a south direction through central Nodaway County (just east of Maryville) and Andrew County to join the south-oriented Platte River near St. Joseph, Missouri (near figure 2 south edge). The Platte River flows in a south-southwest direction across the Worth County northwest corner and in western Nodaway County turns to flow in a south direction through eastern Andrew County to the figure 2 south edge. South of figure 2 the Platte River continues to flow in a south direction to join the Missouri River near Platte City, Missouri. The Grand River flows in a southwest direction into the Worth County northwest quadrant (just east of the Platte River) and then flows in a south direction into northwest Gentry County where it turns to flow in a south-southeast and then east and southeast direction to the Gentry County southeast corner. South and east of figure 2 the Grand River flows in a southeast and then south direction to join the Missouri River near Brunswick, Missouri. The Middle Fork Grand River flows in a south-southwest direction into central Worth County (just east of Grant City) and then in a south direction to join the Grand River in central Gentry County. The East Fork Grand River flows in a south-southeast direction through eastern Worth County and into central Gentry County, where it joins the southeast-oriented Grand River. Note how in spite of the close spacing of these multiple south-oriented rivers, each of these rivers also has south-oriented tributaries, so the One Hundred and Two River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area actually consists of multiple drainage divides between several closely spaced south-oriented valleys. The closely spaced south-oriented streams suggests the south-oriented valleys originated in what was once a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Further evidence for this anastomosing channel complex will be seen in topographic maps illustrated in the following figures.

One Hundred and Two River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide area

Figure 3: One Hundred and Two River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 3 illustrates the One Hundred and Two River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide area in southeast Nodaway County. Maryville is the larger town located in the figure 3 northwest corner. The One Hundred and Two River flows in a south direction just east of Maryville from the figure 3 north edge to the south edge. Ravenswood is the somewhat smaller town located near the north edge in the figure 3 northeast quadrant and is located east of the south and southwest oriented Platte River valley which extends the figure 3 north edge to the south center edge. As seen in the figure 2 map the One Hundred and Two River and the Platte River flow adjacent to and parallel with each other to the St. Joseph area where the One Hundred and Two River finally joins the south oriented Platte River. Conception Junction is the town located on the Platte River valley east edge in the figure 3 southeast quadrant. Clyde is a smaller town located just east of Conception Junction. The  southeast-oriented stream flowing to the figure 3 southeast corner is Wildcat Creek, which south and east of the figure 3 map area flows to the southeast-oriented Grand River. Between the south oriented One Hundred and Two River and the south oriented Platte River near the figure 3 north edge are two south-oriented streams. The easternmost stream, which flows in a south direction from the north edge to the south edge, is Long Branch and joins the Platte River south of the figure 3 map area. The westernmost of these south-oriented streams is Mozingo Creek, which flows to the south-oriented One Hundred and Two River just north of the figure 3 west center area. Dog Branch is a shorter south- and west-oriented One Hundred and Two River tributary in the figure 3 southwest quadrant. Bedison is the small town located on the One Hundred and Two River-Long Branch drainage divide just north of the Dog Branch headwaters. Note how a northwest-oriented Mozingo Creek tributary is linked by a north-south oriented through valley at Bedison with a southeast-oriented Long Branch tributary (the railroad is located in the through valley). The map contour interval is ten meters and the through valley is defined by one contour line on each side. While shallow, the through valley provides evidence of a former southeast-oriented flood flow channel linking the Mozingo Creek valley with the Long Branch valley. Such divergence and convergence of flood flow channels is typical of flood formed anastomosing channel complexes. Study of the figure 3 map region suggests other locations where flood flow channels diverged and converged, although more detailed topographic maps are needed to better identify many former flood flow channels. More shallow through valleys can be seen on the figure 3 map area along the drainage divide between the Platte River and Wildcat Creek, which is the Platte River-Grand River drainage divide. Figure 4 below provides a detailed topographic map of to better illustrate shallow through valleys crossing the Platte River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide near Conception Junction.

Detailed map of Platte River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Platte River-Wildcat 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 Platte River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide area near Conception Junction. The south-oriented Platte River valley is located along the figure 4 west edge. Wildcat Creek is the southeast-oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 southeast corner and south and east of the figure 4 map area flows to the southeast-oriented Grand River. Note how a Wildcat Creek tributary flows in a north-northeast direction in section 24 and 13 (south of Conception Junction) and then turns to flow in an east-northeast and an east-southeast direction to join Wildcat Creek. Note also the shallow through valleys linking the north-northeast and east-northeast oriented tributary valley with the Platte River valley. The map contour interval is four meters and the through valley used by the railroad at Conception Junction is defined by six contour lines on each side. Study of the drainage divide south of Conception Junction suggests at least three more somewhat shallower through valleys in the figure 4 map area. North of Conception Junction additional shallower through valleys can be seen in the figure 4 map area. The through valleys provide evidence that prior to headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Platte River valley multiple east- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels were moving large volumes of flood waters to what was then the actively eroding Wildcat Creek valley, which was eroding headward from the newly eroded Grand River valley. The presence of multiple east- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels suggests that prior to headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Platte River valley there was an east- and/or southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex supplying flood water to what was then the actively eroding Grand River valley (located east of the figure 4 map area). In other words, what appears to have happened along the Platte River-Wildcat Creek drainage divide seen in figures 3 and 4 is headward erosion of a south-oriented anastomosing channel beheaded a southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex, which had previously eroded headward across what were probably numerous south-oriented melt water flood flow routes.

East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Grand River drainage divide area

Figure 5: East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Grand River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 5 illustrates the East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Grand River drainage divide area along the Iowa-Missouri border north and east of the figure 3 map area. Bedford, Iowa is the town in the figure 5 northwest corner. Athelstan, Iowa is the much smaller town located east of the figure 5 south center area and on the north side of the west-east oriented Iowa-Missouri state line. Sheridan, Missouri is the town located near the figure 5 south center edge and is located just east of the Nodaway-Worth County line. The East Fork One Hundred and Two River flows in a south-southwest direction in the figure 5 northwest corner area and joins the other forks to form the south-oriented One Hundred and Two River a short distance west of the figure 5 map area. Note how the East Fork One Hundred and Two River has northwest oriented tributaries from the east. The northwest oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Novey Creek is a south-southwest oriented stream located in the figure 5 southwest corner and is linked to a northwest oriented East Fork tributary by a shallow north-south oriented through valley. East of the East Fork One Hundred and Two River is south-southwest and south oriented Honey Creek  which flows through the word CLAYTON near the figure 5 north edge to the word INDEPENDENCE near the south edge. Honey Creek tributaries from the west are southeast or east oriented and are often aligned with northwest-oriented East Fork One Hundred and Two River tributaries. Honey Creek also has northwest-oriented tributaries from the west, especially along the south-southwest oriented segment (and the south-southwest oriented tributary located near the word JACKSON). The southwest oriented river flowing from the figure 5 northeast corner to the south center edge is the Platte River. The Platte Branch is the south-oriented stream between Honey Creek and the Platte River which joins the Platte River just west of Athelstan. Platte Branch has southeast-oriented tributaries from the west, some of which are aligned with northwest- and west-oriented Honey Creek tributary valleys. The southwest and south-oriented river flowing immediately to the east of the Platte River is the Grand River. Note how these two very distinct Missouri River tributaries are flowing in adjacent and parallel valleys, in some places less than two miles apart, yet as seen in figures 1 and 2 south of the figure 5 map area the Platte River continues to flow in a south direction while the Grand River turns to flow in a southeast direction and to join the Missouri River considerably down stream from where the Platte River joins the Missouri River. Note also through valleys eroded across the narrow Platte River-Grand River drainage divide suggesting Platte River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to what was then the newly eroded Grand River valley.

Detailed map of East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Novey Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Novey 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 East Fork One Hundred and Two River-Novey Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. The East Fork flows in a south-southwest direction across the figure 6 northwest corner. Novey Creek originates in section 14 in the figure 6 center area and flows in a south-southwest direction to the figure 6 south edge (west of center). Honey Creek is the south-oriented stream near the figure 6 east edge. The north oriented stream with the small reservoir flowing to the figure 6 north center edge is an East Fork tributary and north of the figure 6 map area turns to flow in a northwest direction. Note how in the section 15 southeast quadrant and section 14 southwest quadrant there is shallow through valley linking a northwest oriented East Fork tributary valley with a southeast oriented Novey Creek tributary valley. The figure 6 map contour interval is 10 feet and the through valley is defined by two contour lines to the northeast and three contour lines to the southwest. Another through valley linking a different East Fork tributary valley with the Novey Creek valley can be seen along the section 15-22 boundary. These through valleys and other shallower through valleys provide evidence of southeast and east oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Novey Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the deep East Fork valley. The northwest and west oriented East Fork tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on northwest and west ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Remember, the East Fork valley beheaded flood flow routes one at a time in sequence from the southwest to the northeast. Reversed flood flow on a newly beheaded flood flow route could capture yet to be beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow from flood flow routes north of the actively eroding East Fork valley head. Such captures of flood water provided water volumes required to erode the northwest and west-oriented East Fork tributary valleys. Additional through valleys can be seen in the west half of section 12 in the figure 6 northeast quadrant linking east and southeast-oriented Honey Creek tributary valleys with northwest-oriented tributary valleys to the north and northwest-oriented East Fork One Hundred and Two River tributary seen in the figure 6 north center area. These through valleys provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the Honey Creek valley, which were not captured by Novey Creek valley headward erosion.

Platte River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area

Figure 7: Platte River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area. 

United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 7 illustrates the Platte River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area east and slightly south of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Grant City is the larger town in the figure 7 south center area. The Platte River flows in a south-southwest direction from the figure 7 north edge (west of center) to the figure 7 west center edge. Blockton is the small town located on the east side of the Platte River valley near the north edge. The Platte Branch flows in a south-southeast direction from the figure 7 northwest corner to join the Platte River near Athelstan. East of the Platte River, and flowing from the figure 7 north center edge in a south-southwest and south direction to the south edge (west half), is the Grand River. The south-southwest oriented stream east of Grant City is the Middle Fork Grand River. Marlowe Creek is the south-oriented stream east of Grant City and joins the Middle Fork Grand River south of the figure 7 map area. After Marlowe Creek joins it the Middle Fork flows in a south-direction to join the Grand River, which south of the figure 7 map area turns to flow in a southeast direction. The south-southwest oriented stream east of the Middle Fork Grand River is the East Fork Grand River, which also joins the Grand River south of the figure 7 map area. The south-southwest oriented Middle Fork tributary flowing from the figure 7 northeast corner is Fietchall Creek. Lotts Creek is the south-southwest oriented East Fork Grand River tributary flowing from the figure 7 east center edge. Note how the multiple south-southwest and south oriented streams in the figure 7 map area have narrow and elongate drainage basins and the Grand River tributary valleys are oriented in a south-southwest directions, at least in their upper reaches. The closeness of these parallel valleys suggests they originated as channels in an anastomosing channel complex, the east half of which was captured by headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Grand River valley (see figures 1 and 2) while the west half continued to flow in a south and south-southwest direction to the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Study of the figure 7 drainage divides also reveals shallow through valleys linking tributary valleys. For example along the Grand River-Marlowe Creek drainage divide west and northwest of Grant City there are easy to identify through valleys, some of which are defined by two 10-meter contour lines. Or near the town of Redding (near the figure 7 north center edge) easy to identify through valleys can be seen crossing the Grand River-Middle Fork Grand River drainage divide. Close study of the figure 7 map area also reveals numerous north and northwest oriented barbed tributaries to the south-oriented streams.

Detailed map of Platte River-Grand River drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Platte River-Grand River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 8 provides a detailed topographic map of the Platte River-Grand River drainage divide area seen in less detail in both figures 7 and 5. Athelstan is the town located near the figure 8 north center edge and is located on the north edge of the southwest-oriented Platte River valley. The west to east oriented Iowa-Missouri state line is located along the Athelstan urban area southern boundary. South-oriented Platte Branch joins the Platte River in the figure 8 northwest quadrant (in the southwest quadrant of the abbreviated section 31). Note how the Platte River (and its southeast valley wall) makes a jog to the northwest just before the Platte Branch joins it. The Grand River flows in a southwest direction in the figure 8 southwest corner. Note how Grand River tributaries from the north and east are oriented in south and southeast directions and begin almost along the Platte River valley edge. Also note the well-defined through valleys linking the south and southeast oriented Grand River tributary valleys with the Platte River valley. The deepest through valley is located in the section 5 northeast quadrant and has a valley floor elevation of between 1100 and 1110 feet (the map contour interval is ten feet). Elevations along the drainage divide, both to the northeast and to the southwest of the through valley, rise to more than 1200 feet. Other through valleys seen in figure 8 are somewhat shallower, but can be easily identified. The through valleys are most prevalent along the drainage divide just upstream from where the Platte River makes it jog to the northwest. The Platte River northwest jog and the through valleys suggest that for a time headward erosion of the southeast and south oriented Grand River tributary valleys was in the process of capturing the south oriented Platte Branch as well as south oriented flood flow along what is now the Platte River valley location. Headward erosion of the deep southwest-oriented Platte River valley into the region beheaded south-southeast oriented flood flow from the Platte Branch alignment to the actively eroding Grand River valleys and flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Platte River valley jog and capture south and southwest-oriented flood flow routes, which moving water to the actively eroding south and southeast-oriented Grand River tributary valleys. Capture of the southwest-oriented flood flow routes enabled the deep southwest-oriented Platte River valley to continue eroding headward and to behead flood flow routes to the actively eroding south- and southeast-oriented Grand River tributary valleys.

Grand River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area

Figure 9: Grand River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

  • Figure 9 illustrates the Grand River-East Fork Grand River drainage divide area south and slightly east of the figure 7 map area (there is no overlap). The Grand River flows in a south direction across the figure 9 west half and south of the figure 9 map area turns to flow in an east and southeast direction. The Middle Fork Grand River flows in a south direction just east of the figure 9 center and joins the Grand River south of the figure 9 map area. The East Fork Grand River meanders in a south direction near the figure 9 east edge and also joins the Grand River south of the figure 9 map area. Oxford is a place-name just south of the word GREENE in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Note northwest-oriented tributaries to the south-oriented Grand River in the Oxford region. Indian Creek is the south-oriented Grand River tributary with headwaters south and east of Oxford. Note how Indian Creek headwaters (and headwaters of an Indian Creek tributary) are linked by shallow through valleys with northwest-oriented Grand River tributary valleys. The valley orientations and the shallow through valleys provide evidence of multiple diverging and converging south-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Gentry is a town located on the west side of the Middle Fork Grand River valley near the figure 9 south edge. The south-southeast oriented tributary flowing from the figure 9 north edge to join the Middle Fork a short distance north of Gentry is Bear Creek. Note how Bear Creek has north and northeast oriented tributaries north and west of Gentry. Just west of Gentry are through valleys linking the Bear Creek valley with headwaters of a south-southeast oriented Middle Fork tributary which flows to the figure 9 south edge (and then joins the Middle Fork south of the figure 9 map area). The valley orientations and through valleys provide evidence of former south-oriented flood flow channels, where flood waters on the north ends of those channels reversed flow direction after being beheaded by Bear Creek valley headward erosion and then eroded the north and northeast oriented tributary valleys. Peddler Creek is the south-oriented Middle Fork tributary (located between the Middle Fork and East Fork) originating just east of the letter “K” in MIDDLEFORK (near the figure 9 north edge) and joining the Middle Fork near the figure 9 south edge. Note how the Peddler Creek valley is linked at the north end with valleys of north-northwest oriented Middle Fork tributaries. Figure 10 below provides a detailed topographic map of the Middle Fork-Peddler Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate those through valleys. Study of the figure 9 map drainage divides reveals additional shallow through valleys linking north-oriented tributary valleys with headwaters of south-oriented tributary valleys. In all cases valley orientations and the through valleys provide evidence of a former anastomosing channel complex.

Detailed map of Middle Fork Grand River-Peddler Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Middle Fork Grand River-Peddler Creek 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 Middle Fork Grand River-Peddler Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9. The Middle Fork Grand River flows in a southwest direction from the figure 10 north edge (west of center) to near the figure 10 west edge and then in a south and south-southeast direction to the figure 10 south edge (near southwest corner). Marlowe Creek is the south-oriented tributary flowing to the Grand River from the figure 10 northwest corner. The south-oriented stream originating in section 20 (figure 10 west center area) is a south-oriented Middle Fork Grand River tributary and joins the Middle Fork Grand River south of the figure 10 map area. Note how the southwest-oriented Middle Fork Grand River segment has northwest and north-northwest oriented tributaries from the south. The south-oriented river meandering across the figure 10 east edge is the East Fork Grand River. Wharton Branch is the south- and east-oriented tributary flowing from the figure 10 north center edge to join the East Fork in section 14 (in figure 10 northeast quadrant). Note how Wharton Branch has north- and northeast-oriented tributaries. The south-southeast oriented stream originating in section 21 (near figure 10 center) and flowing to the figure 10 south center edge is Peddler Creek, which joins the Middle Fork Grand River south of the figure 10 map area. The south-southeast oriented stream originating in sections 22 and 23 flows to the figure 10 south edge and then turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to join the East Fork Grand River near the figure 10 southeast corner. Note how heads of valleys of these three major south-oriented tributary streams are linked by shallow through valleys with heads of north-oriented valleys. For example, in the section 21 northwest quadrant through valleys link both a north-northwest and a north oriented Middle Fork Grand River tributary with the south-southeast oriented Peddler Creek valley. The map contour interval is four meters and the northern through valley has a spot elevation of 323 meters marked on its floor. Elevations on either side of the through valley rise to at least 336 meters. The western through valley is comparable in their depth. In section 22 a somewhat shallow through valley links a northeast-oriented Wharton Branch tributary valley with a south-southwest oriented Peddler Creek tributary valley. Study of the figure 10 map area reveals many additional through valleys, many of which are even shallower (some are only defined by a single contour line on each side). The through valleys provide evidence of multiple diverging and converging flood flow channels, which were captured, beheaded, and reversed as deep valleys eroded headward into the figure 10 map area.

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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