Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area landform origins in Texas County, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri is a north-south oriented drainage divide between the north-oriented Big Piney River drainage basin on the west and the southeast-oriented Current river drainage basin on the east with the south-oriented North Fork White River drainage basin west of the Big Piney River drainage basin in the southwest. The Texas County area was eroded by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Flood flow to what were at one time actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys to what was then the newly eroded south-southeast oriented White River valley was beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley from what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri-Gasconade River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The deep north-oriented valleys captured flood waters from flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Gasconade River valley head. The captured flood water moved in south, southeast, east, northeast, and north directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. The southeast-oriented Current River valley eroded headward across the northeast-oriented flood flow routes to capture the flood water and to divert the flood flow south to the White River valley. Headward erosion of deep Gasconade River valley next beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow routes on the Big Piney River alignment. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Big Piney River valley and its northwest-oriented tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientation of present day valleys, asymmetric drainage divides, and through valleys eroded across present day 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 Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area landform origins in Texas 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 knows 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 the 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 topographic map evidence in the Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas 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.

Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri location map

Figure 1: Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri 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 Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri location map and illustrates most of Missouri and regions in several adjacent states. The Mississippi River flows in a south-southeast direction along the Missouri eastern border and then turns to flow in a south-southwest direction to the figure 1 south edge. The Missouri River flows in a south-southeast direction from the figure 1 north edge (west half) along the Missouri west border to Kansas City and then turns to flow in an east-northeast, southeast, and east direction to join the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The Gasconade River is a northeast, north, and north-northeast oriented Missouri River tributary originating east of Springfield in southern Missouri and joining the Missouri River east of Jefferson City. The White River originates in northwest Arkansas and flows in a northwest direction to Fayetteville, Arkansas and then turns to flow in a north and northeast direction to Table Rock Lake (Reservoir) located along the Arkansas-Missouri border. From Table Rock Lake the White River flows for a short distance in southern Missouri before turning to flow to Bull Shoals Lake (Reservoir) also along the Missouri-Arkansas border. From Bull Shoals Lake the White River flows in a southeast and south direction to the figure 1 south edge and south of the figure 1 map area joins the south-oriented Mississippi River. The North Fork White River is the unlabeled south-southeast tributary originating near the “P” in “Plateau” in southern Missouri and flowing to the White River at Norfolk Lake (Reservoir) in northern Arkansas. The Black River is a south-southeast and south-southwest oriented White River tributary originating in southern Missouri and joining the White River near Newport, Arkansas. The Current River is the northeast, southeast, and south-southeast oriented Black River tributary located west of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area located in Texas County, Missouri is located approximately where the letters “Plat” in the word “Plateau” in southern Missouri are located and is the drainage divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the White River drainage basin to the south and was eroded by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. At one time flood waters flowed to what was then the newly eroded White River valley and its actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys. At that time the deep Missouri River and Gasconade River valleys did not exist and flood waters freely moved south across Missouri on a topographic surface that was subsequently removed by flood water erosion. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley and its northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The deep north-oriented valleys captured south-oriented flood flow from flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Missouri River and Gasconade River valley heads. This captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding deep north-oriented valleys and also moved in similar directions to deep south-oriented White River tributary valleys.

Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri detailed location map

Figure 2: Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 


Figure 2 provides a detailed location map for the Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Texas County, Missouri. Figure 2 shows a region in south central Missouri and county names and boundaries are given. Houston is the Texas County seat and is located near the center of Texas County. The Gasconade River is formed at the junction of southeast and northeast oriented headwaters streams near Hartville in Wright County and then flows in a northeast, north, northwest, and northeast direction through Wright County and eastern Laclede County to flow across Pulaski County to Jerome near the figure 2 north center edge. At Jerome the Gasconade River turns to flow north to the figure 2 north edge and then in a north-northeast direction to the east-oriented Missouri River. Beaver Creek is a northwest-oriented Gasconade River tributary originating near Dunn in the Texas County southwest corner and joins the Gasconade River in northern Wright County. Big Piney River originates near Cabool in southwest Texas County and flows in a southeast, north-northeast, north-northwest, and north direction to join the Gasconade River in eastern Pulaski County near the figure 2 north edge. Big Piney River has several northwest-oriented tributaries in Texas County. The south-oriented stream originating south of Dunn in the Texas County southwest corner is the North Fork White River, which south of the figure 2 map area eventually joins the south-southeast oriented White River. The southeast oriented stream originating in the Texas County northeast corner and flowing across the Dent County southwest corner is Pigeon Creek, which in Shannon County becomes the southeast oriented Current River, which south of the figure 2 map area flows to the south-southwest oriented Black River, which in turn flows to the south-southeast oriented White River (see figure 1). The northeast-oriented stream joining southeast-oriented Pigeon Creek in the Dent County northwest corner to form the southeast-oriented Current River is Big Creek. The southeast-oriented North Prong Jacks Fork and east-southeast oriented South Prong join in southeast Texas County to form southeast- and northeast-oriented Jacks Fork, which joins the southeast-oriented Current River in Shannon County. Texas County has an interesting drainage pattern because the eastern third of the county is drained by south-oriented White River tributaries while the western two-thirds of the county is drained by north-oriented Gasconade River tributaries. The entire Texas County region was eroded by immense south-oriented floods, which at one time flowed to actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Gasconade River valley then beheaded flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented valleys. Flood waters still moving south-west of the actively eroding Missouri River-Gasconade River valley head then moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys in Dent and Crawford Counties. Some south-oriented White River tributary valleys then eroded headward across these southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes. Next headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment, which triggered a massive flood flow reversal that eroded the north-oriented Big Piney River valley and its tributary valley. Northwest-oriented Big Piney River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of southeast-oriented flood flow routes moving flood water to what were then actively eroding Current River tributary valleys to create the Big Piney River-Current River drainage divide.

Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area

Figure 3: Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area in southwest Texas County. Mountain Grove is the town straddling the figure 3 west edge. Cabool is the town slightly south and east of the figure 3 center. Dunn is the much smaller town located east of Mountain Grove in the figure 3 west center area. Beaver Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream located in the figure 3 northwest quadrant originating near Dunn and flowing to the figure 3 north edge near the northwest corner. Van Zant Creek is a northwest-oriented Beaver Creek tributary. North and west of the figure 3 map area Beaver Creek joins the north and north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. The southeast and south oriented stream originating near Mountain Grove is the North Fork White River. Panther Creek is the south-oriented North Fork tributary originating near Dunn. South of the figure 3 map area the North Fork White River eventually joins the south-southeast oriented White River. The stream flowing in a southeast direction to Cabool and then turning to flow in a north-northeast direction to the figure 3 northeast corner area is the Big Piney River. North of the figure 3 map the Big Piney River turns to flow in a north-northwest and north direction to join the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. The north-northwest Big Piney River tributary in the figure 3 southeast quadrant is Potter Creek. The northeast, east, and northeast stream in the figure 3 north center area is Hamilton Creek, which is a Big Piney River tributary. Note how the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide is an asymmetric drainage divide with a steeper slope on the south side. The drainage divide was created by south-oriented flood flow moving along what are now the north-oriented Beaver Creek and Gasconade River alignments to the actively eroding North Fork White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep northeast oriented Gasconade River valley north of the figure 3 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow route and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Beaver Creek valley (and also the north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment). The reversed flow flood waters were not able to erode the north-oriented Beaver Creek valley as deep as the much greater volumes of south-oriented flood flow had been able to erode the south-oriented North Fork White River valley. Note how Hamilton Creek headwaters are closely aligned with headwaters of a west-northwest oriented Beaver Creek tributary. This alignment suggests headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment before south-oriented flood flow on the Beaver Creek alignment was beheaded and reversed. South-oriented flood flow on the Beaver Creek alignment was captured by the actively eroding north-oriented Big Piney River valley and flowed in a south-southeast, east-southeast, northeast, east, and northeast direction to the actively eroding Big Piney River valley. The west-northwest oriented Beaver Creek tributary and the northeast, east, and northeast oriented Hamilton Creek valley provide evidence of the captured flood flow route. Shallow through valleys can be seen on more detailed maps and provide further evidence of the south, southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow route.

Detailed map of Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 


Figure 4 provides a more detailed map of the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Dunn is the small town located south of the figure 4 center. Beaver Creek originates west of Dunn and flows in a north-northwest and northwest direction to the figure 4 northwest corner. North and west of the figure 4 map area Beaver Creek flows to the north and north-northeast oriented Gasconade River, which then flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. The North Fork White River originates near the figure 4 southwest corner and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 4 south edge. South of the figure 4 map area the North Fork turns to flow in a south direction to eventually join the south-southeast oriented White River. Panther Creek is the south-oriented North Fork White River tributary originating near Dunn and flowing to the figure 4 south edge. Note the southeast oriented stream originating near the section 31 south edge (just north of Dunn) and flowing adjacent to the southeast and east-oriented highway to the figure 4 east edge. That stream is the Big Piney River, which east of the figure 4 map area turns to flow in a north-northeast, north-northwest, and north direction to eventually join the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. The northeast-oriented stream originating in section 29 is Hamilton Creek, which north of the figure 4 map area joins the north-oriented Big Piney River. Note how the various drainage basins are joined by shallow through valleys. North-south oriented through valleys in sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, and 12 link north-oriented Beaver Creek headwaters valleys with south-oriented North Fork White River headwaters valleys. The deepest through valley floor elevation at the drainage divide is between 1440 and 1460 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet). Lead Hill (southwest from Dunn) rises to an elevation greater than 1620 feet and just west of the figure 4 map area a hill on the drainage divide rises to an elevation of at least 1600. The through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes to what was once the actively eroding North Fork White River valley. Flood flow was beheaded by headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley and flood waters on the north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-northwest oriented Beaver Creek and tributary valleys. Not to be overlooked on figure 4 are shallow through valleys linking the northwest and north-northwest Beaver Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Big Piney Creek headwaters valley and with the northeast-oriented Hamilton Creek valley. Note the shallow northwest-southeast-oriented through valley in section 31 linking a northwest-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valley with the southeast-oriented Big Piney River valley. The floor of that through valley has an elevation of between 1480 and 1500 feet and hills rising to elevations of at least 1540 feet are located nearby and proceeding a bit further in either direction there are hills rising to at least 1600 feet. A somewhat shallower southwest-northeast oriented through valley in section 29 links a northwest-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valley with the northeast-oriented Hamilton Creek valley. The through valley elevation is between 1520 and 1540 feet and hills on either rise to elevations greater than 1580 feet. The through valleys provide evidence south-oriented flood flow on the Beaver Creek alignment was captured and moved in southeast and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented Big Piney River valley.

Big Piney River-North Fork White River drainage divide area

Figure 5: Big Piney River-North Fork White River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 


Figure 5 illustrates the Big Piney River-North Fork White River drainage divide area east and south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Dunn is the small town located in the figure 5 northwest corner area. Cabool is the much larger town located just west of the figure 5 north center. Sterling is a small town located on the highway and railroad in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. Panther Creek flows in a south direction from near Dunn to join the southeast oriented North Fork White River headwaters in the figure 5 west center edge area and then the North Fork White River flows in a south direction to the figure 5 south edge (near southeast corner). North-oriented drainage west of Dunn as seen in figures 3 and 4 flows to north-northwest oriented Beaver Creek and then the north and north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. The Big Piney River originates near Dunn and flows in a southeast direction adjacent to the highway to Cabool and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 5 north center edge. North of figure 5 the Big Piney River flows in a north-northeast, north-northwest, and north direction to the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. Potter Creek is the north-northeast oriented Big Piney River tributary originating near Sterling and joining the Big Piney River near Cabool (the railroad follows Potter Creek). Sterling Hollow (near Sterling) drains in a west-southwest direction to southwest-oriented Middle Indian Creek, which south of the figure 5 map area flows to southwest and south-southwest oriented Indian Creek, which in turn flows to the North Fork White River. East-oriented drainage flowing to figure 5 east edge flows to southeast  and northeast-oriented Jacks Fork, which flows to the southeast-oriented Current River, which flows to the south-oriented Black River, which in turn flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. North-oriented drainage in the figure 5 northeast corner flows to northeast-oriented Spring Valley Creek, which also flows to the southeast-oriented Current River. Figure 5 drainage history began with south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 5 map area to what were then actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys, which were eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep east oriented Missouri River valley and tributary valleys (including the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River valley) then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north-ends of newly beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and eroded deep north-oriented valleys. The deep north-oriented valleys captured south-oriented flood flow from west of the actively eroding Missouri River-Gasconade River valley head. Captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. At the same time some actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys eroded headward across the southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes, which accounts for northeast-oriented tributaries to a southeast-oriented White River tributary east of the figure 5 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment. While the deep north-oriented Big Piney River valley was being eroded flood water continued to flow south on the Beaver Creek alignment, which eroded the south-oriented North Fork White River valley headward in the figure 5 southwest corner. Headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley next beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Beaver Creek alignment.

Detailed map of Potter Creek-Jacks Fork drainage divide area

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


Figure 6 provides a more detailed map of the Potter Creek-Jacks Fork drainage divide area near Sterling seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Sterling is the small town located on the highway and railroad in the figure 6 southwest quadrant. Potter Creek originates a short distance north of Sterling and flows in a north-northwest direction adjacent to the railroad to the figure 6 north edge (west half). North of the figure 6 map area Potter Creek flows to the northeast, north-northeast, and north-northwest oriented Big Piney River, which flows to the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River, which in turn flows to the Missouri River. Sterling Hollow is the west-southwest oriented valley draining to the figure 6 southwest corner and west and south of the figure 6 map area Sterling Hollow drains to southwest-oriented Middle Indian Creek, which flows to south-southwest oriented Indian Creek, which flows to the south-oriented North Fork White River. The major east-northeast oriented valley in Howell County is Pine Creek, which east of the figure 6 map area flows to the South Prong of southeast and northeast oriented Jacks Fork, which flows to the southeast-oriented Current River, which flows to the south-oriented Black River, which flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. The east-northeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 6 northeast corner is a South Prong Jacks Fork tributary. In summary the north-northwest oriented Potter Creek drainage basin is surrounded on both sides by drainage basins of south-oriented White River tributaries, although on the west the White River tributaries quickly become south-oriented while on the east the White River tributaries first flow in east and northeast directions before turning to flow in south directions. Close inspection of the Potter Creek-South Prong Jacks Fork drainage divide reveals numerous shallow through valleys. For example in section 25 (in figure 6 north center area) a shallow through valley links a west-oriented Potter Creek tributary valley with an east-northeast oriented South Prong Jacks Fork tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation at the drainage divide is between 1540 and 1560 feet and hills on either side rise to elevations greater than 1600 feet. The through valleys provide evidence of east-oriented flood flow routes which were beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the north-northwest oriented Potter Creek valley. The east-oriented flood flow routes were eroded by flood waters from west of the actively eroding Gasconade-Missouri valley head moving east to regions where headward erosion of the deep Gasconade-Missouri River valley had beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow routes. Prior to being beheaded and reversed flood waters moved south on the present day north-oriented Big Piney River-Potter Creek alignment and then east and northeast initially to actively eroding north-oriented valleys. However, headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Current River valley captured the east- and northeast-oriented flood flow and diverted the captured flood flow in a southeast direction to newly eroded Black River valley, which transported the captured flood flow to the south-southeast oriented White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep south-oriented North Fork White River-Indian Creek-Sterling Hollow valley was capturing south-oriented flood flow moving south on the Big Piney River-Potter Creek alignment until headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley beheaded and reversed that flood flow route to erode the north-oriented Potter Creek-Big Piney River valley and to create the Potter Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide.

Map of northeast Texas County, Missouri

Figure 7: Map of northeast Texas County, Missouri. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 7 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Texas County northeast corner region. Unfortunately the maps in my digital map collection for this region and at this scale do not show contour lines, although they do show drainage routes. Figures 8 and 10 below provide more detailed maps with contour lines for selected regions in this northeast Texas County region and figure 9 provides a detailed map for a region directly south of figure 7. Houston is the town located north of the figure 7 southwest corner. Raymondsville is the smaller town south and west of the figure 7 center. Oscar is the small town located slightly west of the figure 7 north center. The Big Piney River flows in a north direction along the figure 7 west edge (north of Houston) and then turns to flow in a northwest direction to the figure 7 northwest corner. North of the figure 7 map area the Big Piney River flows in a north-northwest and north direction to join the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. Arthur Creek is a major northwest-oriented Big Piney River tributary and is formed at the junction of northwest-oriented Devils Hollow and Flat Rock Hollow north and west of Raymondsville. Brushy Creek is a northwest-oriented Big Piney Creek tributary flowing across the Houston city northeast corner.  Bender Creek flows south to near Oscar and then turns to flow in a southwest and west-northwest direction to join Arthur Creek. Streams in the figure 7 east half all flow to the southeast-oriented Current River, which is located east of the figure 7 map area. As previously stated the Current River flows to the south-oriented Black River, which flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. Ashley Creek is the Current River tributary flowing to the figure 7 northeast corner and is formed at the junction of east-oriented North Ashley Creek and southeast and northeast oriented South Ashley Creek. Big Creek is the northeast-oriented Current River tributary flowing from the figure 7 south center edge area to the figure 7 east center edge area. Hobbs Branch is the east-oriented Big Creek tributary near the figure 7 south center edge. Orientations of the northwest-oriented Big Piney River tributaries and the northeast-oriented Current River tributaries were determined by flood flow routes at a time when flood water was still moving south on the present day north-oriented Big Piney River alignment. As headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Gasconade River valley north and east of the figure 7 map area proceeded west it beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes east of the figure 7 map area. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The deep north-oriented valleys captured south-oriented flood water from west of the actively eroding Missouri-Gasconade River valley head and the captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. At the same time deep south-oriented White River tributary valleys (e.g. Current River valley) eroded headward across the new southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes and captured the northeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri-Gasconade River valley north of the figure 7 map area then beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Piney River valley and its northwest-oriented tributary valleys and to create the Big Piney River-Current River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Brushy Creek-Hobbs Branch drainage divide area

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

Figure 8 provides a more detailed map with contour lines for the Brushy Creek-Hobbs Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Brushy Creek flows in a northwest direction from the figure 8 center region to the figure 8 northwest corner. West of the figure 8 map area Brushy Creek flows to the north-oriented Big Piney River, which flows to the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River, which in turn flows to east-oriented Missouri River. Hobbs Branch originates in section 25 and flows in a north and northeast direction to section 24 where it turns to flow in an east-southeast direction to the figure 8 east edge (south half). East of the figure 8 map area Hobbs Branch flows to northeast oriented Big Creek, which flows to the southeast-oriented Current River, which flows to the south-oriented Black River, which in turn flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. The north-northwest oriented stream in section 7 in the figure 8 northeast quadrant is draining northwest-oriented Devils Hollow, which drains to northwest-oriented Arthur Creek, which flows to the north-oriented Big Piney River. The northwest-oriented stream in the figure 8 southwest quadrant is Indian Creek, which also flows to the north-oriented Big Piney River. Note how in sections 23 and 24 there are shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the northwest-oriented Brushy Creek valley with the east-southeast oriented Hobbs Branch valley. The through valley floor elevations at the drainage divide are between 1360 and 1380 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet). Hills to the north rise to at least 1420 feet and the hill along the figure 8 south center edge rises to 1461 feet. The through valleys provide evidence of southeast and northeast oriented flood flow routes which once flowed across the figure 8 map area. At that time the flood water was moving south on what is now the north-oriented Big Piney River alignment, which was west of the actively eroding and deep northeast and east oriented Gasconade River-Missouri River valley head. South-oriented flood waters on the Big Piney River alignment were captured by reversed flood flow moving to deep north-oriented valleys being eroded headward on newly beheaded and reversed flood flow routes located east and north of the figure 8 map area (those flood flow routes were beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep northeast and east oriented deep Gasconade River-Missouri River valley). Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Current River valley then captured the northeast-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters to the south-oriented Black River. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley north of the figure 8 map area then beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment and created the Brushy Creek-Hobbs Branch drainage divide.

Detailed map of Indian Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: Detailed map of Indian Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 provides a detailed map of the Indian Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area located south of the figures 7 and 8 map areas and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Indian Creek originates in section 35 and flows in a northwest and west direction to the figure 9 northwest corner area. West and north of the figure 9 map area Indian Creek flows in a northwest direction to join the north-oriented Big Piney River, which flows to the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River, which in turn flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. Johnson Branch is a northwest-oriented tributary joining Indian Creek near the figure 9 northwest corner. Hog Creek is the northwest-oriented stream flowing across the figure 9 southwest corner and Little Hog Creek is the northwest-oriented Hog Creek tributary. The west-northwest oriented stream north of Hog Creek is Dog Creek. West of the figure 9 map area Dog Creek joins Hog Creek and Hog Creek flows in a northwest direction to join the north-oriented Big Piney River. The southeast-oriented stream flowing from section 2 to the figure 10 southeast corner area where it turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to the figure 9 east edge is Big Creek. East of the figure 9 map area Big Creek turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the southeast-oriented Current River, which flows to the south-oriented Black, which in turns flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. Hobbs Branch originates in section 25 and flows in a north, northeast, and east-southeast direction in the figure 10 northeast corner area. East of the figure 9 map area Hobbs Branch flows to northeast-oriented Big Creek. Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley at the corner of sections 1, 2, 35, and 36 linking the northwest-oriented Indian Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Big Creek valley. The through valley floor elevation at the drainage divide is between 1360 and 1380 feet. A hill north of the through valley rises to at least 1480 feet and a hill south of the through valley rises to at least 1460 feet. This through valley is one of the deeper through valleys eroded across the Big Piney River-Current River drainage divide. Flood water that eroded the through valley was moving south on the present day Big Piney River alignment and southeast on the present day Indian Creek alignment and then began to turn in the figure 9 southeast corner area to flow in a northeast direction. Initially the flood flow had been captured by deep north-oriented valleys eroding headward from the newly eroded Missouri River-Gasconade River valley in the region north and east of the figure 9 map area, however headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Current River valley captured the northeast-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters in a southeast direction to the south-oriented Black River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley north of the figure 9 map area beheaded and reversed the south-oriented flood flow on the present day Big Piney River alignment. Flood waters on the north and west ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Big Piney River valley and its northwest-oriented and other tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Bender Creek-South Ashley Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Bender Creek-South Ashley Creek drainage divide area near Oscar which was seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Oscar is the small town located near the north edge in the figure 10 northwest quadrant. Bender Creek originates near Oscar and flows in a southeast, south, and southwest direction to the figure 10 west center edge. West of the figure 10 map area Bender Creek turns to flow in a west-northwest direction to northwest-oriented Arthur Creek, which flows to north-oriented Big Piney River, which flows to the northeast-oriented Gasconade River, which flows to east-oriented Missouri River. Note northwest-oriented Bender Creek tributaries. The southwest-oriented stream in section 21 near the figure 10 south edge is a tributary to the northwest-oriented Bender Creek tributary seen in section 20. South Ashley Creek flows in a southeast direction in the figure 10 southeast quadrant to the east edge (near figure 10 southeast corner) and east of the figure 10 map area South Ashley Creek turns to meander in a northeast direction to join northeast-oriented Ashley Creek which then joins the southeast-oriented Current River. The Current River as previously described flows to the south-oriented Black River, which flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. Note south-oriented South Ashley Creek and Gregory Hollow tributaries. Northeast-oriented streams in the figure 9 northeast quadrant are North Ashley Creek tributaries. Drainage routes in the figure 10 map area are complex and provide evidence flood waters flowed in multiple directions across the Bender Creek-Ashley Creek drainage divide. Generally flood waters were moving in a southeast and northeast direction as they flowed from what still a south-oriented flood flow route on the present day Big Piney River alignment initially to deep north-oriented valleys being eroded headward from the newly eroded Missouri River-Gasconade River valley north and east of the figure 10 map area. The deep southeast-oriented Current River valley east of the figure 10 map area then captured the northeast-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters southeast and south to what was then the newly eroded White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Big Piney River alignment and the reversed flood flow eroded the deep north-oriented Big Piney River valley and its tributary valleys. Note shallow through valleys linking the present day north-oriented Big Piney River tributary valleys in the figure 10 west half with the south-oriented Current River tributary valleys in the figure 10 east half. The through valleys are generally defined by two or fewer contour lines on each side (where the map contour interval is 20 feet). The through valleys provide evidence of east-oriented flood flow routes prior to the reversal of flood flow in the Big Piney River drainage basin and creation of the Big Piney River-Current River drainage divide.

Additional information and sources of maps

This essay has only provided a sample of the drainage divide evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” geomorphology paradigm. Many additional examples could be provided, especially by using more detailed topographic maps. Readers are encouraged to look at mosaics of detailed topographic maps to see the abundance of supporting data. Maps used in this study were created by the United States Geological Survey and can be purchased in hard copy from the United States Geological Survey or from dealers offering United States Geological Survey maps. Hard copy maps can also be observed at United States Geological Survey map depositories located in major research libraries and elsewhere throughout the United States and in other countries. Illustrations used in this essay were created using National Geographic Society TOPO software and digital data. National Geographic Society digital maps can be purchased from the National Geographic Society or from dealers offering National Geographic Society digital maps.

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