Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area landform origins in Webster, Wright, and Douglas Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Gasconade River-White River drainage divide in Webster, Wright, and Douglas Counties, Missouri consists of an asymmetric west-to-east oriented drainage divide between the south-oriented White River drainage basin and the north-oriented Gasconade River drainage basin and an asymmetric north-to-south oriented drainage divide between east oriented Gasconade River drainage basin and the west-oriented White River drainage divide. The Webster, Wright, and Douglas County area was eroded by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet which flowed at one time to what was then the actively eroding White River drainage basin. South-oriented flood flow routes to the Webster, Wright, and Douglas County region were then beheaded by headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley and its deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River tributary valley. Flood waters on the north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment and other north-oriented Gasconade River tributary valleys. The deep north-oriented Gasconade River valley captured flood flow still moving south further to the west (headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley north of the Webster, WRight, and Douglas County region had not yet beheaded and reversed those flood flow routes). The captured flood flow moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the newly eroded and deep Gasconade River valley and eroded the southeast and northeast oriented Gasconade River headwaters valley. Headward erosion of the deep south oriented James River valley from the newly eroded White River valley then beheaded and reversed the southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow channel to the actively eroding southeast and northeast-oriented Gasconade River headwaters valley and eroded a west and northwest oriented James River headwaters valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes asymmetric drainage divides, positions and orientations of present day valleys, and 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 Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area landform origins in Webster, Wright, and Douglas 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 on 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 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 Webster, Wright, and Douglas 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.

Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Gasconade River-White 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 Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Webster, Wright, and Douglas Counties, Missouri. Figure 1 shows most of the state of Missouri and of northern Arkansas with the south-southeast and south-southwest Mississippi River forming along the Missouri and Arkansas eastern border. West of Missouri is Kansas and flowing from the figure 1 north edge to Kansas City (and forming the Kansas-Missouri border) is the Missouri River. From Kansas City the Missouri River flows in an east-northeast, southeast, and east direction to join the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The Gasconade River is a northeast, north, northeast, and north-northeast oriented Missouri River tributary originating east of Springfield (located in southwest Missouri) and joining the Missouri River east of Jefferson City. The White River originates in northwest Arkansas and flows in a northwest direction to near Fayetteville and then in a north and northeast direction to Table Rock Lake (Reservoir). From Table Rock Lake the White River makes a jog into southern Missouri and then flows to Bull Shoals Lake (Reservoir) and from Bull Shoal Lake flows in a southeast, south, and south-southeast direction to join the Mississippi River south of the figure 1 map area. The Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area in Webster, Wright, and Douglas Counties is located south of the northeast-oriented Gasconade River headwaters segment east of Springfield and is bounded on the west by the Gasconade River headwaters location and on the east by the north-oriented Gasconade River segment and was eroded by immense south-oriented floods, which were beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and were captured in sequence by headward erosion of deep east and southeast oriented valleys from the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented White River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow first and headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley and its deep Gasconade River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded White River valley. The north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north end of a south-oriented flood flow route beheaded by headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley. Headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Gasconade River valley captured flood waters moving south further to the west (the Missouri River valley and its tributary Osage River valley had not yet beheaded those western flood flow routes). The captured flood waters moved in a southeast, east, and northeast direction to the actively eroding Gasconade River valley. The northeast oriented Gasconade River headwaters valley was eroded by such captured flood water. Northwest oriented Osage River tributary valley segments draining to Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks (on the east- and northeast-oriented Osage River) were eroded by reversals of southeast oriented flood flow routes being  used by captured flood water moving to the previously eroded deep north oriented Gasconade River valley.

Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Gasconade River-White River drainage divide area 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 Webster, Wright, and Douglas, Counties, Missouri. All figure 2 areas are located in Missouri and county names and boundaries are shown. Note the location of Springfield near the figure 2 west edge in Greene County. Webster and Wright Counties are located east of Greene County and Douglas County is located south of Webster and Wright Counties. The Gasconade River originates east of Seymour in southeast Webster County and flows in a northeast direction to near Hartville where it is joined by the southeast-oriented Woods Fork (the northeast-oriented Gasconade River headwaters segment southwest of Hartville is labeled Lick Fork on figure 2, although on topographic maps below it is shown as the Gasconade River). Wolf Creek is an important northeast and north-northeast oriented tributary south of Hartville. From Hartville the Gasconade River flows in a northeast direction to near Rayborn. Near Rayborn the Gasconade River turns to flow in a north direction across eastern Wright County and then in a north-northeast direction to the figure 2 north edge. Whetstone Creek is an important north-oriented tributary joining the Gasconade River near Rayborn. Beaver Creek is an important north-northwest oriented Gasconade River tributary located east of Whetstone Creek. Clark Creek is a north-northeast oriented Gasconade River tributary located west of Whetstone Creek. The meandering, but southeast-oriented White River can be seen in Stanley County in the figure 2 southwest corner area, although flows in a southeast direction and soon is located south of the figure 2 map area. The south oriented North Fork White River originates in the Texas County southwest corner and flows across eastern Douglas County to the join the White River south of the figure 2 map area. Fox Creek and Bryant Creek are important North Fork White River tributaries shown on topographic maps below. Also important to the discussion in this essay is the James River, which originates in Webster County north of Seymour and which flows in a northwest direction to near Northview in western Webster County and then turns to flow in a southwest direction to the figure 2 west edge. West of the figure 2 map area the James River turns to flow in a south direction to join the southeast-oriented White River. In other words the drainage divide between the southeast-oriented Gasconade River (Lick Fork) headwaters segment and the northwest-oriented James River in southeast Webster County is also the White River-Gasconade River drainage divide. The northwest-oriented James River valley was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on a southeast-oriented flood flow route delivering flood waters to what was then the actively eroding and deep Gasconade River valley. The flood flow had been captured from south oriented flood flow routes in what are today the north-oriented Niangua, Pomme de Terre, and Sac River drainage basins and was beheaded by headward erosion of the deep south- and southwest-oriented James River valley.


Gasconade River-Bryant Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 3 illustrates the Gasconade River-Bryant Creek drainage divide area east of Seymour. Seymour is the town located in Webster County near the figure 3 west edge. Mansfield is the town located in Wright County in the figure 3 southeast quadrant. Cedar Gap is a place-name on the railroad line between Seymour and Mansfield located near the Webster-Wright County line and near Cedar Gap Lake. Bryant Creek originates near Cedar Gap and flows in southeast direction to the figure 3 south center edge. Southeast-oriented streams east of Cedar Gap are Bryant Creek tributaries. South of the figure 3 map area Bryant Creek flows in a southeast and south direction to eventually join the south oriented North Fork White River, which in turn eventually joins the White River. South-oriented streams west of Cedar Gap, including the stream south of the Webster-Wright-Douglas County common corner, flow to south and southwest oriented Beaver Creek, which flows to the southeast-oriented White River. Rippee Creek originates east of Seymour and flows in an east and east-northeast direction to join the northeast-oriented Gasconade River. The southeast-oriented stream in the figure 3 north center area is the Gasconade River headwaters. The east-southeast and north-northeast oriented tributary flowing from near Cedar Gap to the Gasconade River (just downstream where Rippee Creek joins it) is Baker Creek. Wolf Creek is the east-northeast, northeast, and north-northeast oriented Gasconade River tributary flowing north of Mansfield and flowing to the figure 3 northeast corner. Note how Wolf Creek headwaters are located near Lead Hill. The west oriented stream flowing to the figure 3 northwest corner is the headwaters of the northwest, southwest, and south oriented James River. Figures 5 and 6 will better illustrate the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area. A close look at the Gasconade River-Bryant Creek drainage divide area east of Cedar Gap reveals shallow through valleys linking the southeast-oriented Bryant Creek tributary and headwaters valleys with the north-northeast oriented Baker Creek valley and east-northeast and north-northeast oriented Wolf Creek valley. The through valleys are best seen on more detailed maps and figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Wolf Creek-Prairie Hollow drainage divide area near Mansfield. The through valleys provide evidence that large volumes of south-oriented flood water once flowed across the drainage divide and was captured by headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley and its east- and northeast-oriented tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Wolf Creek-Prairie Hollow drainage divide area

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


Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Wolf Creek-Prairie Hollow drainage divide area near Mansfield, which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Lead Hill is located in the figure 4 west center edge area and Wolf Creek originates north of Lead Hill and flows in a north, east-northeast, northeast, and east-northeast direction to the figure 4 north edge (east half). Prairie Hollow originates in section 30 (figure 4 southwest quadrant) and flows in a southeast, east and south-southeast direction to the figure 4 south edge (in section 28). South of the figure 4 map area Prairie Hollow drains in a southeast direction to Bryant Creek, which flows to the North Fork White River, which in turn flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. The Wolf Creek-Prairie Hollow drainage divide is the drainage divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the White River drainage basin to the south. Note how the drainage divide is an asymmetric drainage divide being steeper on the south side than on the north. North of the figure 4 map area Wolf Creek flows in a north-northeast direction to join the northeast-oriented Gasconade River, which flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. Lead Hill rises to an elevation of 1744 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet). A hill in the south center area of section 15 in the figure 4 northeast quadrant rises to 1570 feet. Five miles east of the figure 4 east edge a hill along the Gasconade River-White River drainage divide rises to 1683 feet. Between these high points the Gasconade River-White River drainage divide is lower. A close look at the drainage divide reveals through valleys or channels eroded across the divide. For example, where the line separating section 19 from section 20 crosses the drainage divide there is a through valley crossed by the railroad where the through valley floor elevation is between 1480 and 1500 feet. At Mansfield in the section 21 northeast quadrant another through valley of similar depth links a northeast-oriented Fry Creek tributary valley with a southwest-oriented Prairie Hollow tributary valley (Fry Creek east and north of the figure 4 map area flows in a north direction to join Wolf Creek). The narrow through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the actively eroding southeast-oriented White River drainage basin. The much broader through valleys located between the higher hills on the drainage divide provide evidence of much larger flood flow channels that once moved flood water south into the actively eroding White River drainage basin. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Gasconade River valley north of the figure 4 map area beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow on the north-oriented Wolf Creek alignment. The reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented Wolf Creek valley and captured south-oriented flood flow from west of the actively eroding Gasconade River valley head. The asymmetric drainage divide resulted because the north side was eroded by reversed flood flow while the south side was eroded by much larger volumes of south-oriented flood flow.

James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area

Figure 5: James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 5 illustrates the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area located west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Seymour is the town located near the south edge in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. Fordland is the smaller town located near the figure 5 southwest corner. Diggins is the small town located midway between Fordland and Seymour on the highway and railroad. Crown is the even smaller town located near the figure 5 northwest corner. Rippee Creek is the east-oriented Gasconade River tributary located near the figure 5 southeast corner. The southeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 5 east edge north of Rippee Creek is the Gasconade River headwaters. The east-northeast oriented stream north of the Gasconade River headwaters is Bowman Branch, which flows to the northeast and southeast oriented Woods Fork Gasconade River, which in turn joins the Gasconade River near Hartville (east of the figure 5 map area—see figure 2). The south, west, and northwest oriented drainage route originating a short distance west of the Gasconade River headwaters point of origin and flowing to the figure 5 northwest corner area is the James River. West of the figure 5 map area the James River turns to flow in a southwest and then south direction to join the southeast oriented White River. The west-northwest oriented stream originating near Diggins and flowing to the figure 5 west edge is Panther Creek. West of figure 5 Panther Creek flows to the southwest-oriented James River. Southwest-oriented streams flowing to the figure 5 south edge west of Seymour are Finley Creek tributaries. South and west of the figure 5 map area Finley Creek flows in a west and west-southwest direction to eventually join the south-oriented James River. Note how Seymour is located on a slightly higher region than the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area to the north, which is a shallow west-to-east oriented through valley. The map contour interval is 20 meters and the through valley is defined by one contour line on the south side and at least two contour lines on the north. The through valley was eroded by massive flows of southeast- and east-oriented flood water, which had been captured from south-oriented flood flow routes west of figure 5, and which was moving to what was then the newly eroded and deep northeast, north, and northeast oriented Gasconade River valley. At that time the deep Missouri River-Osage River valleys had not eroded headward across the region north and west of figure 5 and flood waters could still move south in that region. When the deep Osage River valley did erode headward across that region it beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes and triggered flood flow reversals that eroded the north-oriented Niangua, Pomme de Terre, and Sac River valleys and their tributary valleys. Southeast-oriented flood flow on the present day northwest oriented James River alignment was however beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the south-oriented James River valley from what was then the newly eroded White River valley located south of the figure 5 map area. The reversed flood flow eroded the northwest- and west-oriented James River valley and created the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide.

Detailed map of James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide area north of Seymour, which was seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Seymour is the town straddling the figure 6 southwest corner. The Gasconade River flows in a southeast direction from section 17 near the figure 6 north edge to the figure 6 east edge (south half). As seen in figure 3 (east of the figure 6 map area) the Gasconade River turns to flow in a northeast direction and still further east turns to flow in a north direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the east-oriented Missouri River (see figures 1 and 2). The James River originates a short distance north of the figure 6 map area and flows south across section 18 and then in section 19 turns to flow in a southwest and west direction to the figure 6 west edge. West of the figure 6 map area the James River flows in a northwest direction before turning to flow in a southwest and south direction to join the southeast-oriented White River. Note the west-to-east oriented through valley near the corner of sections 17, 18, 19, and 20 linking the west-oriented James River valley with the southeast-oriented Gasconade River valley. The map contour interval is 20 feet and the through valley floor elevation at the drainage divide is between 1580 and 1600 feet. North of the through valley elevations rise to 1730 a short distance north of the figure 6 map area. Elevations greater than 1660 feet are found a short distance south of Seymour. Note also how the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide in figure 6 is an asymmetric divide, with the steeper slope being on the Gasconade River side. The James River is a White River tributary and in figures 3 and 4 the steeper side was on the White River side. Why is the steeper slope on the James River-Gasconade River drainage divide steeper on the Gasconade River side? Remember, in figures 3 and 4 flood water was flowing south into what was then the actively eroding White River drainage basin and the drainage divide was created by a reversal of flood flow triggered by headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley. In figures 5 and 6 the flood flow was moving in a southeast and east direction to what was then the actively eroding Gasconade River drainage basin. The James River-Gasconade River drainage divide was created by a flood flow reversal triggered by headward erosion of the south-oriented James River valley. In other words, the steeper slope on an asymmetric drainage divide is usually on the side where flood waters were originally flowing and the less steep slope in on the side where the flood flow reversal took place.

Wolf Creek-Puncheon Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 7 illustrates the Wolf Creek-Puncheon Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Mansfield is the town located in the figure 7 west center area and Norwood is the town located in the figure 7 east center area. Macomb is a small town located on the railroad midway between Mansfield and Norwood. North-oriented Possum Hollow joins northeast oriented Baker Creek near where Baker Creek joins the northeast oriented Gasconade River in the figure 7 northwest corner (see figure 3). Wolf Creek flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 7 west edge (just north of highway) and then north of Mansfield turns to flow in a northeast and north-northeast direction to the figure 7 north edge and to join the northeast-oriented Gasconade River north of the figure 7 map area. Spence Creek is a northwest and north-northwest-oriented Wolf Creek tributary originating near Macomb. The northeast-oriented stream in the figure 7 northeast corner area is a tributary to north-oriented Whetstone Creek, which is another Gasconade River tributary (see figure 9 below). The north-northeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 north edge west of the Whetstone Creek tributary is Clarks Creek, which also flows to the Gasconade River. The southeast-oriented stream in the figure 7 southeast corner area is Fox Creek, which south and east of the figure 7 map area flows in a south direction to join Bryant Creek, which in turn flows to the North Fork White River, which in turn flows to the White River.  The south-oriented streams west of Tick Ridge (near south edge south of Norwood) are Bryant Creek tributaries. Dry Creek is a southwest-oriented stream originating near Norwood and flowing to the figure 7 south center edge. South of the figure 7 map area Dry Creek joins Bryant Creek. Puncheon Creek is the southeast-oriented stream originating south and east of Mansfield and joining Dry Creek south of the figure 7 south center edge. Note how the figure 7 Gasconade River-White River drainage divide is again an asymmetric drainage divide with the steeper slope being on the White River drainage basin side. Prior to headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley flood waters flowed south across the figure 7 drainage divide to what was then the actively eroding White River drainage basin. Headward erosion of the deep northeast- and north-oriented Gasconade River valley triggered a reversal of flood flow in the north half of the figure 7 map area which eroded the north-oriented Gasconade River tributary valleys. While the actively eroding Gasconade River valley captured significant southeast – and east-oriented flood flow from the west (as seen in figures 5 and 6) those flood waters did not deeply erode the north-south oriented Gasconade River-White River drainage divide seen in figure 7.

Detailed map of Spence Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Spence Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area near Macomb which was seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Macomb is the small town or cluster of buildings located adjacent to the railroad in the figure 8 south center area. Spence Creek originates near Macomb and flows in a northwest direction to the figure 8 northwest corner area. North and west of figure 8 Spence Creek joins north oriented Wolf Creek, which flows to the northeast, north, and northeast oriented Gasconade River, which in turn flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. The south-southeast oriented stream in section 28 (south and east of Macomb) is an unnamed Dry Creek tributary. Dry Creek is a southwest-oriented tributary to south-oriented Bryant Creek, which flows to the south-oriented North Fork White River, which in turn flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. Note how Macomb is located on the floor of a northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the northwest-oriented Spence Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Dry Creek tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation along the drainage divide is between 1520 and 1540 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet). Hills on either side of the through valley rise to elevations greater than 1600. For example in sections 19 and 30 west of Macomb there is a hill with a marked elevation of 1629 feet and near the south edge of section 15 northeast of Macomb there is a hill with a marked elevation of 1683 feet. Study of the north-south drainage divide reveals what appear to be multiple north-south oriented shallow channels, although the higher hills define a much broader and deeper south-oriented flood flow channel eroded across the drainage divide. The south-oriented flood flow was moving to what were then actively eroding White River tributary valleys, which were eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. At that time the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley and north-northeast oriented Wolf Creek valley north of the figure 8 map area did not exist. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley north of the figure 8 map area triggered a flood flow reversal in the figure 8 north half which eroded the northwest-oriented Spence Creek valley and its tributary valleys. Narrow channels eroded across the present day Gasconade River-White River drainage divide probably represent the final south-oriented flood flow routes just prior to the flood flow reversal in the figure 8 north half.

Whetstone Creek-Fox Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 9 illustrates the Whetstone Creek-Fox Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Norwood is the town located along the figure 9 west center edge. Mountain Grove is the larger town located near the Wright County-Texas County line. Dunn is the smaller town located east of Mountain Grove in Texas County. Whetstone Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream located midway between Norwood and Mountain Grove. North of the figure 9 map area Whetstone Creek flows to the north-oriented Gasconade River (where the Gasconade River turns from flowing in a northeast direction to flowing in a north direction). Note west and northwest oriented Whetstone River tributaries. The southeast and south oriented stream draining the figure 9 southwest quadrant is Fox Creek, which flows to south-oriented Bryant Creek, which in turn flows to the North Fork White River. The North Fork White River originates south and east of Mountain Grove and flows in a southeast and south direction to the figure 9 south edge. South of the figure 9 map area the North Fork White River flows in a generally south-oriented direction to eventually join the south-southeast oriented White River. Note how there is a well-defined north-south oriented drainage divide between the south-oriented Fox Creek drainage basin in the west and the south-oriented North Fork White River drainage basin in the east. The drainage divide ridge suggests the two south-oriented valleys eroded headward along separate, but parallel south-oriented flood flow routes or channels. North oriented streams in the figure 9 northeast quadrant flow to northwest and north-oriented Beaver Creek, which flows parallel to the north-oriented Gasconade River for a considerable distance before turning to the west to join the Gasconade River. South-oriented flood flow on the Beaver Creek alignment initially eroded the deep North Fork White River valley into the figure 9 map area and south-oriented flood flow on the Whetstone Creek alignment initially eroded the deep Fox Creek valley headward into the figure 9 map area. The situation became more complex when headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley north of the figure 9 map area beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River alignment while south-oriented flood flow was still moving on the Whetstone Creek-Fox Creek alignment. The North Fork White River valley then began to capture south-oriented flood flow from the south-oriented Whetstone Creek-Fox Creek alignment. The captured flood flow moved in southeast and east directions to the actively eroding North Fork White River valley. Shortly thereafter headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Whetstone Creek-Fox Creek alignment and the southeast and east oriented flood flow channels to the actively eroding North Fork White River valley were reversed to erode west and northwest oriented Whetstone Creek tributary valleys and to create the Whetstone Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide.

Detailed map Whetstone Creek- North Fork White River drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map Whetstone Creek- North Fork White River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Whetstone Creek-North Fork White River and the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide areas seen in less detail in figure 9 above. The North Fork White River originates in section 10 and flows in a southeast direction to section 13 where it turns to flow to the figure 10 south edge. South of the figure 10 map area the North Fork White River eventually flows to the south-southeast oriented White River. North oriented streams flowing to the east half of the figure 10 north edge are Beaver Creek headwaters and flow to north-northwest and north oriented Beaver Creek, which eventually joins the north and northeast oriented Gasconade River, which flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. West and northwest oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 west edge and the west half of the figure 10 north edge flow to north-northwest oriented Whetstone Creek, which flows to the north- and northeast-oriented Gasconade River. Note through valleys eroded across the Whetstone Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide and the Beaver Creek-North Fork White River drainage divide. For example, in section 16 a through valley links a west-oriented Whetstone Creek tributary valley with the valley of an east and east-southeast oriented North Fork White River tributary. The through valley floor elevation at the drainage divide is between 1480 and 1500 feet. The hill immediately to the south rises to at least 1600 feet and a hill in the section 10 southwest corner area also rises to at least 1600 feet. In other words the through valley has been eroded at least 100 feet, maybe more, into a topographic surface that south-oriented flood waters once flowed across. Note also the north-south oriented through valley in sections 10 and 11 linking a north-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valley with the south-oriented North Fork White River valley. The lowest through valley elevations along the drainage divide are between 1440 and 1460 feet. As already mentioned a hill in the section 10 southwest corner area rises to at least 1600 feet. Further west in the figure 10 northeast corner area Lead Hill rises to more than 1620 feet. The through valley is evidence of a south-oriented flood flow route which was moving large volumes of flood water to what was then the actively eroding south-oriented North Fork White River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. At that time the north-oriented Gasconade River and Beaver Creek valleys did not exist, but were instead parallel south-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley (north of the present day north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment) beheaded and reversed the south-oriented flood flow routes to erode the north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment and its north-oriented Beaver Creek and Whetstone Creek tributary valleys and to create the Gasconade River-White 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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