Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage and Gasconade Counties, Missouri, USA

· Gasconade River, Missouri, MO Grand River
Authors

Abstract:

The Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide in Osage and Gasconade Counties, Missouri is the drainage divide between the northeast and east oriented Missouri River and the Gasconade River, which is a northeast and north-northeast oriented Missouri River tributary. The Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area was eroded by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented valleys. These north-oriented valleys, which included the north-oriented Gasconade River valley, captured flood water still moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. This captured flood water then moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding north-oriented valleys and caused the north-oriented valleys to become northeast-oriented valleys and also to erode for short distances along southeast-oriented flood flow channels and then to behead and reverse an adjacent southeast-oriented flood flow channel and to erode for a distance in the opposite direction before resuming their north or northeast valley orientation. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Missouri River valley beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Gasconade River valley. Reversal of flood flow on those beheaded flood flow routes eroded what are today northwest-oriented tributary valleys to the northeast and east oriented Missouri River valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of present day valleys, large incised meanders reflecting former flood flow channel routes, and through valleys crossing 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 Missouri River Gasconade River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage and Gasconade Counties, Missouri, USA. Map interpretation methods can be used to unravel many geomorphic events leading up to formation of present-day drainage routes and development of other landform features. While each detailed topographic map feature provides detailed evidence to be explained, the solution must be consistent with explanations for adjacent area map evidence as well as solutions to big picture map evidence puzzles. I invite readers to improve upon my solutions and/or to propose alternate solutions that better explain evidence and are also consistent with adjacent map area and big picture evidence. Readers may do so either by making comments here or by writing and publishing their own essays and then by leaving a link to those essays in a comment here.
  • This essay is also exploring a new geomorphology paradigm in which erosional landforms are interpreted as evidence left by immense glacial melt water floods. Implied in that interpretation is the immense floods were derived from a thick North American ice sheet that created a deep “hole” in the North American continent and also melted fast. The previously unexplored paradigm being tested in this and other essays in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project is a thick North American ice sheet, comparable in thickness to the Antarctic ice sheet, occupied the North American region usually recognized to have been glaciated, and through its weight and erosive actions created a deep North American “hole”. The southwestern rim of that deep “hole” is today preserved in the high Rocky Mountains. The ice sheet through its weight and deep erosion (and perhaps deposition along major south-oriented melt water flow routes) caused significant crustal warping and tectonic change, through its action of melting fast produced immense floods that flowed across the continent, and through its action of melting fast systematically opened up space in the ice sheet created “hole” so headward erosion of newly developed north-oriented drainage systems captured immense south-oriented melt water floods and diverted 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 Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage and Gasconade 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.

Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area location map. National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 1 provides a Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area location map and shows a large region in Missouri with a region in western Illinois located east of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is the large river flowing in a south-southeast direction from the figure 1 north edge (east half) to St Louis and then to the figure 1 east edge (south half). The Missouri River flows in an east-northeast direction from Kansas City (near figure 1 northwest corner) to Brunswick and then in a southeast direction to Jefferson City. From Jefferson City the Missouri River flows in an east-northeast, east-southeast, and east-northeast direction to join the Mississippi River a short distance north of St Louis. The Gasconade River is a Missouri River tributary, which originates near Seymour (near figure 1 south edge east of Springfield) and which flows in a northeast, north-northeast, northeast, and north-northeast direction to join the Missouri River at Gasconade (located east of Jefferson City). Major Gasconade River tributaries include the north-oriented Osage Fork, Roubidoux Creek, and Big Piney River. West of the Gasconade River is the northeast-oriented Osage River, which joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City. The Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage and Gasconade Counties, Missouri is located south of the Missouri River from the Osage River confluence to the Gasconade River confluence. Immense south-oriented floods flowed across the Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area and the entire figure 1 map area at the time the deep Missouri River valley eroded headward across the figure 1 map area. At that time flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from the what was then the newly eroded southeast-oriented White River valley (located south of the figure 1 map area). Most south-oriented streams flowing to the figure 1 south edge are White River tributaries. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to those actively eroding White River tributaries in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The Gasconade River valley was initiated as such an north-oriented valley. The deep north-oriented valleys then captured south-oriented flood water on flood flow routes located west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. The captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. The most successful north-oriented valleys then eroded headward along the captured flood flow routes, resulting in what are today north-northeast and northeast oriented valleys. Less successful north-oriented valleys are shorter because Missouri River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes supplying flood waters needed to further erode those valleys. The Gasconade River valley was one of the most successful north-oriented valleys and was able to erode headward (south and west) faster than the actively eroding Missouri River valley and its tributary Osage River valley could behead the south-oriented flood flow routes supplying flood waters to erode the Gasconade River valley headward.

Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Missouri River-Gasconade 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 map of the Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage and Gasconade Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown. The Missouri River forms the northern border for Cole, Osage, Gasconade, and Franklin Counties. The Osage River flows in an east and northeast direction from the figure 2 west edge to the Cole-Osage County border and then forms the Cole-Osage County border as it meanders to the Missouri River. Note how the Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 2 northwest corner to where it joins the Osage River and then flows in a northeast direction almost to the Gasconade County border. The Gasconade River meanders in a north-northeast direction from the figure 2 south edge across central Maries County and the Osage County southeast quadrant before entering the Gasconade County northeast quadrant and joining the Missouri River at Gasconade. Maries River is a north-oriented Osage River tributary located west of the Gasconade River and flowing from the figure 2 south edge to join the Osage River in western Osage County. Major Missouri River tributaries in the Missouri River-Gasconade River drainage divide area include north and north-northeast oriented Baileys Creek and north-oriented Loose Creek and its tributary, northwest-oriented Cedar Creek. Cedar Creek and unnamed northwest-oriented tributary in northern Osage County are barbed tributaries (flowing in a northwest direction to join a northeast and east oriented river). The Gasconade River and Osage River meanders are unusual features worthy of note. While the Osage River is flowing in a northeast direction the large meanders mean at times the river is actually flowing in a southeast or northwest direction. A similar situation is true of the Gasconade River, which overall is flowing in a north-northeast direction, but along some meander segments is actually flowing in a southeast or northwest direction. The barbed Missouri River tributaries and the large Osage River and Gasconade River meanders are relics of flood flow routes that existed as the deep Missouri River valley eroded headward across the figure 2 map area. At that time immense south-oriented floods were flowing across the figure 2 map area and Missouri River valley headward erosion beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The actively eroding deep north-oriented valleys then captured south-oriented flood waters from west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. The captured flood waters flowed in southeast, east, and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding deep north-oriented valleys and eroded those southeast and northeast oriented flood flow channels headward. The deep north-oriented valleys then eroded headward along some of those flood flow channels and as they eroded headward they also captured flood flow from adjacent flood flow channels, causing the deep valleys to erode headward into those adjacent flood flow channels. When the deep valleys eroded headward into a new flood flow channel they beheaded the adjacent flood flow channel and reversed flood flow in that channel. Sometimes the deep valley then eroded headward along the reversed flood flow route before jumping to an adjacent channel and eroding headward in the opposite direction. In this manner the deep north-oriented Gasconade River, Osage River, and other valleys eroded headward to the south-southeast or southeast by following segments of southeast-oriented flood flow channels first in one direction and then jumping to an adjacent channel and eroding headward in the opposite direction.

Baileys Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Baileys Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area south of the Missouri River. The east-oriented Missouri River can be seen in the figure 3 northwest and northeast corners. Chamois is the town south of the Missouri River in the figure 3 northwest quadrant. Gasconade is the town in the figure 3 northeast corner and is located at the Gasconade River confluence with the Missouri River. Morrison is the smaller town located on the Missouri River valley edge near the north-south Osage-Gasconade County line. The Gasconade River meanders in a north-northeast direction from the figure 3 south edge (east half) to join the Missouri River near Gasconade. Note how the Gasconade River actually flows south in the figure 3 southeast quadrant before turning and flowing north, northwest, and west, and then finally turning to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 3 northeast corner. Fredericksburg is a small town located on the Gasconade River near where it touches the Osage-Gasconade County line in the figure 3 east center area. An east-oriented Gasconade River tributary south of Fredericksburg is Richland Creek. Baileys Creek is west of the Gasconade River and also meanders in a north-northeast direction from the figure 3 south center edge to join the Missouri River north of Morrison. Note how Baileys Creek and some of its tributaries have also eroded large meanders into the upland surface and make U-turns just like the Gasconade River. Dooling Creek is the north-oriented stream joining the Missouri River near Chamois. Deer is a very small town located south of Chamois near the figure 3 west center edge. The northwest and north-northwest oriented stream near Deer is Deer Creek, which joins the east-northeast oriented Missouri River west of the figure 3 map area. Close study of the figure 3 map reveals shallow through valleys crossing most of the drainage divides. Figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the shallow through valleys in that region. The shallow through valleys provide evidence of what were once southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood water to actively eroding north-oriented valleys east of the figure 3 map area and later to the deep Gasconade River valley as it eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. The northwest oriented Gasconade River valley segment upstream from Fredericksburg was probably eroded by reversed flood flow on a beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow route. Headward erosion of the deep Baileys Creek valley from the actively eroding Missouri River valley head next beheaded and captured the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Gasconade River valley. Continued headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley subsequently beheaded and reversed flood flow routes still further to the west and the reversed flood flow eroded the northwest-oriented Deer Creek valley.

Detailed map of Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3. The Gasconade River flows in a west and north direction from the figure 4 east edge to the north edge in the figure 4 northeast quadrant. Fredericksburg is the small town located near the Gasconade River bend. Richland Creek is a northeast, southeast, and east oriented Gasconade River tributary flowing across the figure 4 south center area to join the Gasconade River east of the figure 4 map area. Note how the northeast-oriented Richland Creek segment has short southeast-oriented tributaries. Baileys Creek flows in an east-southeast and north direction from the figure 4 west edge to the north edge. Note Baileys Creek has several northwest-oriented tributaries. Close inspection of the Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide reveals several shallow through valleys linking valleys of northwest-oriented Baileys Creek tributaries with southeast-oriented Richland Creek tributary valleys. The deepest through valley is located in section 2 just south of the figure 4 center. The map contour interval is 20 feet and the floor of that section 2 through valley has an elevation of between 700-720 feet. The hill immediately to the northeast rises to at least 765 feet and elevations in section 10 near the figure 4 south edge rise to over 800 feet. The through valley is a water eroded feature and is what remains of a former southeast-oriented flood flow channel that moved flood water from west of what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley head to what was then the actively eroding Richland Creek valley, which was eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded Gasconade River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 4 map area next beheaded and reversed the south and southeast-oriented flood flow route eroding the through valley. Flood waters on the northwest and north ends of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Baileys Creek valley and its northwest-oriented tributary valley and created the Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide. Several other slightly less deep through valleys cross the present day Baileys Creek-Richland Creek drainage divide and provide evidence of multiple flood flow channels. High elevations along the drainage divide provide clues as to minimal amounts of erosion the immense floods accomplished.

Deer Creek-Baileys Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Deer Creek-Baileys Creek drainage divide area west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. The Missouri River flows in a northeast direction from the figure 5 west edge to the figure 5 north edge where it turns to flow in an east-northeast direction. Chamois is the town located south of the Missouri River near the figure 5 north edge. Mokane is the town north of the Missouri River in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. Baileys Creek originates as a southeast-oriented stream in the figure 5 southeast quadrant and then turns to meander in a north direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 5 east edge (north half). Dooling Creek is a north-oriented tributary joining the Missouri River near Chamois and Greasy Creek is a northwest-oriented Dooling Creek tributary. West of Dooling Creek is northwest-oriented Deer Creek, which flows to the northeast-oriented Missouri River valley in the St Aubert Island area. West of Deer Creek is Owl Creek, which is a shorter north-northwest oriented Missouri River tributary. Cedar Creek is the longer north, northwest, west, north, and south oriented stream in the figure 5 southwest quadrant, which joins north, northeast, and northwest oriented Loose Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. Note the presence of west and northwest oriented Cedar Creek tributaries and also other northwest and north-northwest oriented Missouri River tributaries. The northwest-oriented tributaries flowing to the northeast-oriented Missouri River are barbed tributaries and provide evidence headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Missouri River valley beheaded and reversed multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented tributary valleys. The Cedar Creek-Loose Creek and Baileys Creek meanders suggest flood waters flowed in different directions as deep valleys eroded headward into the region, although there was significant southeast-oriented flood flow across the entire figure 5 map area at one time, probably moving to what was then the actively eroding Gasconade River valley. At that time the deep Missouri River valley was just beginning to erode headward across the figure 5 map area. A close look at figure 5 drainage divides also reveals shallow through valleys crossing most drainage divides. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple flood flow channels that existed as the deep Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys were eroding headward into the figure 5 map region. Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Owl Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate through valleys located in that region.

Detailed map of Owl Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Owl Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5. St Aubert is the very small town located near the figure 6 north center edge. The Missouri River flows in a northeast direction in the figure 6 northwest quadrant. Deer Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream located in the figure 6 east half (east of the south to north oriented highway). St Aubert Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream flowing to St Aubert. Owl Creek originates in section 31 in the figure 6 south center and flows in a meandering northwest, north and north-northwest direction to the Missouri River valley. Note the unnamed west-northwest oriented tributary in sections 25 and 26 located west of Owl Creek, which joins the Missouri River valley as a barbed tributary. Study of the figure 6 map reveals shallow through valleys crossing most drainage divides. The through valleys are shallow and many people might simply call them saddles notched into the drainage divides. The through valleys however are evidence of flood flow channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep valleys seen today. One such through valley can be seen in the section 29 southwest corner and links a northwest-oriented Owl Creek tributary valley with a northeast-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is 20 feet and the through valley floor elevation is between 740 and 760 feet. The hill immediately to the north rises to an elevation greater than 820 feet. The hill to the south rises to an elevation greater than 920 feet. Much shallower through valleys (with much higher floor elevations) cross the drainage divide south of the 920 foot plus high hill and provide evidence flood waters once crossed all areas of the drainage divide. At least for a short period of time flood waters were moving south-southeast on the present day Owl Creek alignment, which was west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head, and then in a southeast direction along the northwest-oriented Owl Creek valley alignment, before turning to flow in a northeast direction to erode what was then the actively eroding northeast-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley, which was eroding headward from what was then the actively eroding Deer Creek valley. The Deer Creek valley at that time was eroding headward along what had been a south-southeast oriented flood flow route, which had been beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley. In other words, flood water from west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head was being captured by headward erosion of the deep north-northwest oriented Deer Creek valley. The captured flood flow moved in southeast and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding Deer Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley then beheaded the south-southeast, southeast, and northeast flood flow route to the Deer Creek valley and flood flow on the north-northwest and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction again to erode the north-northwest oriented Owl Creek valley and the northwest-oriented Owl Creek tributary valleys. This process was repeated over and over again.

Deer Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Deer Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area located south and west of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. The Missouri River flows in a northeast direction in the figure 7 northwest quadrant and is joined by the northeast-oriented Osage River, which is flowing south of Dodds Island in the figure 7 west center edge area. Tebbetts is the town located in the figure 7 northwest corner area north of the Missouri River-Osage River confluence. Frankenstein is a smaller town located near the figure 7 center. Deer Creek flows in a northwest and north-northwest direction to the figure 7 north edge (just east of the north center edge area). Owl Creek is the shorter northwest and north-northwest oriented stream just west of Deer Creek and flowing to the figure 7 north center edge. Cedar Creek flows in a north and northwest direction from the figure 7 south edge (east half) to the figure 7 center area and then flows in west direction before flowing north and then south to join north-oriented Loose Creek, which then turns to flow in a northeast direction before turning to flow in a northwest direction to join the northeast-oriented Missouri River as a barbed tributary. Note how the northeast-oriented Loose Creek segment has northwest and west oriented tributaries. The west-oriented Cedar Creek segment has a south-oriented tributary (Troesser Creek). Linn Creek is a north and northwest oriented Cedar Creek tributary located south of Troesser Creek. Note other north-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries and southwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries as well. Note also how most Missouri River tributaries from the south and east are northwest-oriented and enter the Missouri River valley as barbed tributaries. The northwest-oriented barbed Missouri River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes that crossed the region prior to headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley. At that time flood waters were flowing in a southeast direction to what was then the actively eroding north-oriented Gasconade River valley head, which was eroding headward from what had been the actively eroding Missouri River valley head. As the Missouri River valley eroded headward across the region north of figure 7 it beheaded and reversed flood flow routes into the figure 7 map area. Reversed flood flow on those flood flow routes eroded north-oriented tributary valleys such as the Deer Creek and Owl Creek valleys. Headward erosion of those deep north-oriented valleys captured south-oriented flood waters from further west and the captured flood waters moved in southeast, east, northeast, and north directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. The Missouri River valley continued to erode headward across the southeast-oriented flood flow routes (and the figure 7 map area) and beheaded and reversed flood flow on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes. Flood waters on northwest and north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest, west, southwest, and even south oriented tributary valleys to the northwest-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Deer Creek-Luystown Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Deer Creek-Luystown 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 Deer Creek-Luystown Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Luystown Ceek is a southwest oriented Cedar Creek tributary and joins northwest and west oriented Cedar Creek near the figure 8 south center edge. Troesser Creek is the south-oriented Cedar Creek tributary located in the figure 8 west half. North-oriented streams flowing to the figure 8 north edge (center and east half) are Deer Creek tributaries and north of the figure 8 map area flow to northwest and north-northwest oriented Deer Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. West of the figure 8 map area Cedar Creek after making a north and south oriented loop joins north, northeast, and northwest oriented Loose Creek, which flows to the Missouri River. Study of figure 8 drainage divides reveals drainage divide elevations decrease toward the west, but also numerous shallow through valleys eroded across the drainage divides. For example, in the section 9 southwest corner a shallow through valley links a southeast-oriented Luystown Creek tributary valley with a north-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is 20 feet and a spot elevation on the through valley floor is marked at 843 feet. To west is a hill rising to at least 880 feet and to the east the drainage divide rises to at least 920 feet. Another through valley can be seen in section 8 where the power line crosses the drainage divide. The floor of that section 8 through valley is between 820 and 840 feet and the hill to the northwest is marked as having an elevation of 877 feet while the hill to the southeast rises to at least 880 feet. Similar through valleys cross all of the figure 8 drainage divides. These through valleys are what remains of flood flow channels that eroded the figure 8 map region prior to headward erosion of the present day deep valleys. Flood flow across the region was complex, with south-oriented flood flow being diverted to the southeast by Gasconade River valley headward erosion. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 8 map area then beheaded and reversed flood flow to erode what are now the Deer Creek and tributary valleys, with flood waters probably flowing in a southeast direction along at least segments of the present day Cedar Creek alignment and then in a northeast and north and even northwest direction to reach the actively eroding north-oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters continued to change flow direction as the deep Missouri River valley continued to erode headward and beheaded and reversed flood flow moving on the Cedar Creek alignment. The reversal of flood flow on the Cedar Creek alignment was responsible for eroding the Cedar Creek and tributary valleys. The southwest-oriented Luystown Creek alignment probably was initiated as northeast-oriented flood flow route to what was then the newly beheaded and reversed flood flow eroding the north-oriented Deer Creek valley and then was eroded further by the reversal of flood flow that eroded the northwest and west oriented Cedar Creek valley.

Cedar Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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


Figure 9 illustrates the Cedar Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide south of the figure 3 map area, south and east of the figures 5 and 7 map areas, and includes overlap areas with figures 3, 5, and 7. Linn is the town near the figure 9 west center edge. The Gasconade River meanders in a north direction from the figure 9 south center edge and then turns east-southeast, northeast, northwest, southeast, and north to flow to the figure 9 northeast corner. In the figure 9 northeast corner the Gasconade River turns south before turning to flow in a north and north, northwest, and northeast direction to the Missouri River (see figure 3). Heckman Bend is the enclosed by the Gasconade River northwest and southeast oriented meander loop in the figure 9 east center area. Hope Creek is a southeast-oriented Gasconade River tributary joining the southeast-oriented Gasconade River segment. Contrary Creek is a southeast-oriented Gasconade River tributary flowing from the figure 9 center area and then turning to flow in a northwest direction to join the Gasconade River northwest-oriented segment. Pointers Creek is the southeast-oriented stream joining the north-oriented Gasconade River near the figure 9 south center edge as a barbed tributary. Note other southeast-oriented barbed tributaries which join the north-oriented Gasconade River. These southeast-oriented tributaries provide evidence the deep Gasconade River valley eroded headward across multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Southeast-oriented meander segments represent locations where the Gasconade River valley eroded headward along southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Northwest-oriented Gasconade River meander segments were eroded as the Gasconade River valley eroded headward along beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Cedar Creek is the northwest, north, and northwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 9 northwest corner. The southeast-oriented stream originating north of Mint Hill (near figure 9 north center edge) and then turning to flow north to the figure 9 north edge (east half) is the headwaters of Baileys Creek (see figure 3). The southeast-oriented Baileys Creek headwaters and the northwest-oriented Cedar Creek valley segments provide further evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 9 map area. Headward erosion of the Baileys Creek valley captured the southeast-oriented flood flow channel which now serves as the Baileys Creek headwaters valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley then beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 9 map area to erode the northwest-oriented Cedar Creek valley and to create the Cedar Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Baileys Creek-Hope Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Baileys Creek-Hope 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 Baileys Creek-Hope Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Hope is the very small town located in the figure 10 southeast quadrant and Hope Creek is the southeast oriented stream flowing near Hope to the figure 10 southeast corner. South and east of figure 10 Hope Creek flows to a southeast-oriented meander segment of the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River (see figure 9). South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 south edge west of Hope Creek are Gasconade River tributaries and south of figure 10 flow in a southeast direction to join the Gasconade River where it turns from flowing in a northwest direction to flowing in an east direction (before it turns again to flow in a southeast direction–see figure 9).  Baileys Creek flows in a southeast direction in section 20 to section 21 where it turns to flow north, east, and north to the figure 10 north edge. North of the figure 10 map area Baileys Creek meanders in a north and north-northeast direction to eventually join the Missouri River (see figure 3). Note how the southeast-oriented Hope Creek valley and valleys of the south and southeast oriented streams west of Hope Creek are linked by shallow through valleys with the southeast and north oriented Baileys Creek valley. For example, in section 27 a through valley links the southeast-oriented Hope Creek valley with a north oriented Baileys Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is 20 feet and the through valley floor elevation is between 800 and 820 feet. North of the through valley is a hill on the drainage divide marked as having an elevation of 876 feet. Follow the drainage divide south and west to the figure 10 southwest corner and there is a marked elevation of 896 feet. But as you follow the drainage divide note in section 28 two more independent through valleys linking the Baileys Creek valley with the south and southeast oriented Gasconade River tributary valleys. These two additional through valleys also have floor elevations of between 800 and 820 feet. The multiple through valleys crossing the present day Baileys Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes which existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Baileys Creek valley. Flood waters were moving in a southeast direction to what was then the actively eroding Gasconade River valley head. Headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Baileys Creek valley from what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley head captured the southeast-oriented flood flow channels and diverted the flood water north to the newly eroded Missouri River valley. At that time Missouri River valley headward erosion had not progressed far enough to behead and reverse southeast-oriented flood flow routes crossing the figure 10 map area, although those flood flow routes were beheaded and reversed at about the same time the deep Baileys Creek captured those flood flow routes in the figure 10 map area.

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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