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

Authors

Abstract:

The Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski Counties, Missouri was eroded by immense south oriented floods which were captured and diverted to flow in southeast, east, and northeast directions by headward erosion of deep north-oriented Missouri River and Osage River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley beheaded south oriented flood flow routes and 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 still moving south to the west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head and the captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding and deep north-oriented valleys. The deep Gasconade River valley was one such north-oriented valley which eroded headward along segments of these captured flood flow routes resulting in what are today large incised meanders and a northeast and north-northeast flow direction. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley and northeast-oriented Osage River valley north of the actively eroding Gasconade River valley continued to beheaded and reverse south-oriented flood flow routes and new deep north-oriented valleys eroded headward in sequence along the newly reversed flood flow routes and these valleys also beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Gasconade River valley which was eroding headward slightly in advance of the deep Osage River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow routes to the newly eroded deep Gasconade River valley before those flood flow routes could erode extensive south- and southeast-oriented Gasconade River tributary valleys. As a result north-oriented Osage River tributaries are much longer than south-oriented Gasconade River tributaries. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of present day valleys and meander segments and the presence of 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 Osage River Gasconade River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski 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 Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski 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.

Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Osage River-Gasconade 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 Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski Counties, Missouri location map and shows a large region in Missouri with a small region in western Illinois east of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River flows 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). A major Mississippi River tributary is the Missouri River which flows in an east-northeast direction from Kansas City to Brunswick (along figure 1 north edge) and then in a southeast direction to Jefferson City before flowing in an east direction to join the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The Osage River and Gasconade River are Missouri River tributaries. The Osage River is formed at the confluence of major tributaries near Schell City (near figure 1 west center edge) and flows in an east and northeast direction to Harry S. Truman Reservoir and then to the Lake of the Ozarks (Reservoir) before flowing in a northeast direction to join the Missouri River near Jefferson City. The Gasconade River originates near Seymour (east of Springfield and near the figure 1 south edge in the southwest quadrant) and flows in a northeast, north, northeast, and north-northeast direction to join the Missouri River near Gasconade (midway between Jefferson City and Washington). The Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski Counties is located east of the Lake of the Ozarks, south of the Osage River, north of the Gasconade River, and west of a north-south line between Jefferson City and Waynesville. The Osage, Miller, Maries, and Puulaski County region, along with the entire state of Missouri, was eroded by immense south-oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. For a time flood waters flowed south across the figure 1 map area to actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys which had eroded headward from 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 east-oriented Missouri River valley and its deep northeast-oriented tributary valleys then 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 to erode deep north-oriented valleys. Note north-oriented Meramec River, Gasconade River, and Osage River tributaries and the north-oriented Gasconade River segment. Gasconade River valley headward erosion usually preceded Osage River valley headward erosion, which preceded Missouri River valley headward erosion further to the north, although the two valleys eroded headward at about the same time. Headward erosion of the deep valleys altered the south-oriented flood flow routes as the deep north-oriented valleys eroding headward along newly beheaded flood flow routes captured flood waters still moving south on flood flow routes further to the west. Captured flood water then moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. Evidence for these captures is seen today in orientations of tributary valleys and also in large incised meanders developed by many of the regional river valleys.

Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Osage 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 more detailed location map for the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide area in Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown and Osage, Miller, and Maries Counties are completely shown while relevant regions in Pulaski County are shown. The river flowing along the Cole County, Osage County, and Gasconade County north borders is the east-oriented Missouri River. The Osage River meanders in a northeast direction from the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden County across Miller County and then along the Cole County-Osage County border to join the east-oriented Missouri River. A major Osage River tributary is north-oriented Maries River which originates near Dixon in the Pulaski County northeast corner and which flows near Vienna in Maries County before flowing north to join the Osage River a short distance south of where the Osage River joins the Missouri River. Little Maries River is a north-oriented tributary in western Maries County and joins Maries River in northern Maries County. Tavern Creek is a major north-oriented Osage River tributary originating in northwest Pulaski County and meanders across eastern Miller County. Little Tavern Creek is a north and northwest-oriented tributary in western Maries County and joins Tavern Creek in the Miller County northeast corner. Grand Glaize Creek is a northwest-oriented Osage River tributary located along the Miller-Camden County border. The Gasconade River meanders in a northeast direction across Pulaski County to the Phelps County northwest corner and then turns to meander in a north-northeast direction to flow across Maries County and the Osage County southeast quadrant before flowing into Gasconade County where it joins the Missouri River near Gasconade. Note how Gasconade River tributaries from the north are short while Osage River tributaries from the south are significantly longer. The asymmetric Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide suggests in the Osage, Miller, Maries, and Pulaski County areas the Missouri-River Osage River valley eroded headward across the region first and beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes almost as fast as headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley captured those flood flow routes. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. The Gasconade River valley was initiated in this manner and as it eroded south it captured south-oriented flood flow from west of the actively eroding Missouri River-Osage River valley head. The captured flood water moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding Gasconade River valley and caused the Gasconade River valley to erode headward along what is today a meandering northeast and north-northeast oriented route. As headward erosion of the Missouri River-Osage River valley continued west new north-oriented valleys eroded headward and captured flood flow routes that had been moving flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Gasconade River valley and the deep Gasconade River valley continued to erode headward in a meandering, but southeast and south-southeast direction so as to keep capturing flood waters from west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head, while reversed flow north of the newly eroded Gasconade River valley eroded the north-oriented Osage River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of those north-oriented Osage River valleys also captured flood flow from west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head and that captured flood water never reached the deep Gasconade River valley further to the south.

Maries River-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Maries River-Gasconade River drainage divide  near Dixon, Missouri.  Dixon is the town located near the figure 3 center. Hancock is a smaller town west of Dixon and Helm is a small town located east of Hancock. The Gasconade River meanders in a north-northeast direction near and across the figure 3 east edge. North and east of the figure 3 map area the Gasconade River flows in a north-northeast direction to join the Missouri River. Middle Creek is a southeast-oriented Bell Creek tributary, which is a Gasconade River tributary located in the figure 3 southwest corner area and joins a Gasconade River meander a short distance south of the figure 3 map area. South of the figure 3 map area the Gasconade River meanders in an east direction from where Bell Creek joins it to where it enters the figure 3 southeast quadrant. Jones Creek and Clemmens Creek are south-southwest oriented Gasconade River tributaries located east of Middle and Bell Creeks and join the Gasconade River just south of the figure 3 map area. Note southeast-oriented Clemmens Creek and Jones Creek headwaters and also southeast-oriented Gasconade River tributaries in the figure 3 east half. Clifty Creek and Little Clifty Creek are located in the figure 3 northeast quadrant and originate as southeast-oriented streams, but then turn to flow in a northeast direction to join the Gasconade River. Maries River originates near Dixon and flows in a north-northeast direction to the figure 3 north edge. North of the figure 3 map area Maries River flows to the Osage River, which then joins the Missouri River. Little Maries River originates near Helm and flows in a north direction to the figure 3 north edge. North of figure 3 Little Maries River eventually joins Maries River. Atwell Creek is the northwest, north, and northwest oriented stream originating west of Hancock and flowing to the figure 3 northwest corner. North and west of the figure 3 map area Atwell Creek joins north-northwest oriented Little Tavern Creek, which joins Tavern Creek, which in turn joins the Osage River. Note how west of Dixon the railroad line follows the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide, with the Osage River drainage basin being north of the railroad line and the Gasconade River drainage basin being south of the railroad line. Figure 3 drainage history is complex and is a story of how immense south-oriented flood flow was captured by headward erosion of the deep north-northeast oriented Gasconade River valley and diverted to flow in a southeast and northeast to that actively eroding valley, but which was captured in sequence by headward erosion of the north-oriented Maries River, Little Maries, and Atwell Creek valley as Osage River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes and triggered flood flow reversals that caused the erosion of new north-oriented valleys. The deep Osage River valley and the Gasconade River valley were eroding headward at about the same time and the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide is located at the southern margin of flood flow reversals triggered by Osage River valley headward erosion, which were limited by Gasconade River valley headward erosion.

Detailed map of Maries River-Clifty Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Maries River-Clifty 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 Maries Creek-Clifty Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in the figure 3 northeast quadrant. Shantytown is the small community located south of the figure 4 center. Big Bend is the small community located east of the figure 4 north center area (near the “C” in the words “DRY CREEK”. Maries River flows in a northeast, north-northeast, and north direction in the figure 4 west half. Note northwest-oriented Maries River tributaries from the east and southeast oriented tributaries from the west. Little Clifty Creek originates near Big Bend and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 4 east center edge. Clifty Creek is located south of Little Clifty Creek and flows in a southeast and east-southeast direction to the figure 4 east edge (south half). East of the figure 4 map area Little Clifty Creek joins Clifty Creek and Clifty Creek turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the north-northeast oriented Gasconade River. Note shallow through valleys linking northwest-oriented Maries River tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Clifty Creek headwaters valleys. One such through valley is located in section 4 just south of Big Bend. The floor of that through valley has an elevation of between 1060 and 1080 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet). On either side of the through valley the drainage divide rises to elevations greater than 1120 feet. Another through valley can be seen at Shantytown. The floor of the Shantytown through valley has an elevation of between 1080 and 1100 feet and the drainage divide on either side rises to elevations greater than 1140 feet. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was at that time the actively eroding and deep Gasconade River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley captured south-oriented flood water moving south-west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head (and later Osage River valley head). The captured flood water moved in southeast and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding north-northeast oriented Gasconade River valley. The southeast- and northeast-oriented Clifty Creek valley was eroded along one of those captured flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Osage River valley north of the figure 4 map area beheaded and reversed flood flow which then eroded the north-oriented Maries River valley. Headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Maries River valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding Gasconade River tributary valleys (such as the Clifty Creek valley). Flood waters on  northwest ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Maries River tributary valleys. The actively eroding north-oriented Maries River valley also captured flood waters moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head, and this captured flood flow eroded the deep Maries River valley and its southeast-oriented tributary valleys.

Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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


Figure 5 illustrates the Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide located south and west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Crocker is the town located near the figure 5 north center area. Swedeborg is the smaller town located in the figure 5 west center area. The highway and railroad line passing through Swedeborg and Crocker are located on and closely follow the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide. The Gasconade River has some rather spectacular incised meanders in the figure 5 south half and is flowing in an east and northeast direction, although at times because of the meanders it is flowing in opposite directions. Bell Creek and Middle Creek originate east of Crocker and flow in a southeast direction to join the Gasconade River. East of Middle and Bell Creeks are south-southwest oriented Jones and Clemmens Creeks, which are Gasconade River tributaries, but as already mentioned they have southeast-oriented tributaries. Gasconade River tributaries from the north in the figure 5 southwest quadrant are almost all southeast-oriented. North of the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide in the figure 5 northwest quadrant is north-oriented Tavern Creek, which flows to the Osage River. Note how Tavern Creek has southeast-oriented tributaries from the west and northwest-oriented tributaries from the east. North and east of Crocker near the figure 5 north center edge are Little Tavern Creek headwaters. North of figure 5 Little Tavern Creek is a Tavern Creek tributary. The figure 5 map area drainage history determinable from map evidence probably began with immense south-oriented floods flowing across the entire figure 5 and adjacent regions. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri-Osage River valley north of figure 5 map then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of  beheaded flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. These new and deep north-oriented valleys then captured south-oriented flood flow moving on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Missouri-Osage River valley head. The captured flood flow moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. Headward erosion of deep north-oriented valleys, such as the Gasconade River valley, proceeded along some of those captured flood flow routes. The Gasconade River meanders were probably developed as the Gasconade River valley eroded headward along constantly shifting captured flood flow routes. The west and northwest oriented Gasconade River meander segments were probably eroded along reversed flood flow routes, reversed when headward erosion of deep valleys beheaded east and/or southeast oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri-Osage River valley north of the figure 5 map area then beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow to the figure 5 map area, which resulted in headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Tavern Creek valley and its north-oriented Little Tavern Creek valley. Tavern Creek valley headward erosion beheaded and captured southeast-oriented flood flow routes moving flood water from flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head to the actively eroding Gasconade River valley head. The northwest-oriented Tavern Creek tributary valleys were eroded by flood flow reversals on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes.

Detailed map of Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Tavern Creek-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 Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area south and west of Crocker, which was seen in less detail in figure 5 above. The large cluster of buildings in the figure 6 northeast quadrant is the south end of the Crocker community. A Gasconade River meander can be seen along the figure 6 south center edge. The highway and parallel railroad line closely follow the Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide, with the Gasconade River drainage basin south and east of the railroad and the Tavern Creek (Osage River) drainage basin north and west of the railroad. Note how Tavern Creek headwaters valleys in the figure 6 map are northwest and north-north-northwest oriented, although further north they join a northeast Tavern Creek segment (see figure 6 northwest corner area). The Tavern Creek (Osage River)-Gasconade River drainage divide in figure 6 appears to be a narrow ridge with a relatively smooth top. However a close look at the ridge reveals shallow through valleys link the north-oriented Tavern Creek tributary valleys with the south oriented Gasconade River tributary valleys. For example, in section 20 the drainage divide elevation dips to between 1070 and 1080 feet (the map contour interval is ten feet). Follow the drainage divide east and north and it rises to elevations greater than 1130 feet in section 17 and follow the drainage divide west and its rises to an elevation of 1158 in section 19. These elevations record what remain of the walls of north-northwest to south-southeast oriented valley that once crossed the figure 6 map area. The valley was carved by south-southeast oriented flood flow moving across the region prior to headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 6 map area. Flood waters were probably captured by headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley. The southeast and south oriented meander segment beginning at the figure 6 south edge (see figure 5 to observe entire meander) probably originated as a continuation of the south-oriented flood flow channel. When headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow channel, the deep Gasconade River valley eroded headward along it into the figure 6 south center area before eroding west and beheading and reversing an adjacent south-oriented flood flow channel. The deep Gasconade River valley head then eroded south along that adjacent and at newly reversed flood flow channel to erode what is now the north-oriented meander segment. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 6 map area next beheaded south-oriented flood flow into the figure 6 map area. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Tavern Creek and tributary valleys and to create the Tavern Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide.

Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area west and south of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Crocker is the town located in the figure 7 northeast corner. Richland is the town located in the figure 7 center south area and Stoutland is the town located in the figure 7 southwest corner. Swedeborg is the smaller town located on the highway and rail line between Richland and Crocker. The railroad line from Stoutland to Richland, Swedeborg, and Crocker closely follows the Osage River-Gasconade River drainage divide with the Osage River drainage basin being north and west of the railroad and the Gasconade River drainage basin being south and east of the railroad. The Gasconade River meanders from the figure 7 south center edge area in a northeast direction to near the figure 7 east edge and then turns to flow south along the east edge before turning to meander in a northeast direction across the figure 7 east edge. Conns Creek originates just north of Richland and flows in a northwest direction to the figure 7 northwest corner. North of the figure 7 map area Conns Creek becomes north oriented Wet Glaize Creek which joins northwest-oriented Grand Glaize Creek, which flows to the northeast-oriented Osage River. Note north-northeast-oriented Tavern Creek headwaters in the figure 7 northeast quadrant north of the Osage-Gasconade River drainage divide. Note again short southeast-oriented Gasconade River tributaries from the north and the west and the north and northwest-oriented Conns Creek tributaries and headwaters. Immense south oriented floods were captured and diverted to flow in a southeast direction by headward of the deep north-oriented Gasconade River valley. Gasconade River valley meanders again provide evidence of how Gasconade River valley headward erosion first eroded headward along one flood flow channel and then eroded headward along an adjacent and reversed flood flow channel, where the flow reversal was caused by headward erosion of the deep Gasconade River valley beheading the adjacent flood flow channel. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 7 map area then beheaded the south and southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 7 map area. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels then reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Grand Glaize Creek valleys and its north- and northwest-oriented tributary valleys (including the northwest-oriented Conns Creek valley) and to create the Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area

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


Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide area north of Richland and seen in less detail in figure 7. Richland is the town located in the figure 3 southwest corner. The Gasconade River meanders in a north and then east direction in the figure 8 southeast corner.  The parallel and adjacent south to north highway and railroad line closely follow the Conns Creek-Gasconade River drainage divide. St John is a small town located on the highway and railroad line and southeast and south oriented Snake Creek originates near St John. Note how Snake Creek flows in a southeast and south direction to join a north oriented Gasconade River segment. The north oriented Gasconade River valley segment originated on the same south oriented flood flow channel alignment along which the south-oriented Snake Creek valley was eroded. Headward erosion of the deep east oriented Gasconade River valley beheaded and captured flood flow in that flood flow channel and also caused a flood flow reversal that eroded the north-oriented Gasconade River valley segment. Conns Creek originates north of Richland and flows in a northwest direction to the figure 8 west edge (north half). North and west of the figure 8 area Conns Creek becomes north-oriented Wet Glaize Creek, which flows to northwest-oriented Grand Glaize Creek, which flows to the northeast-oriented Osage River. Close study of the Conns Creek-Snake Creek drainage divide reveals shallow through valleys linking west and northwest oriented Conns Creek tributary valleys with east and southeast oriented Snake Creek tributary valleys. For example, on either side of a small hill south of St John are through valleys with floor elevations of between 1060-1070 feet (the map contour interval is ten feet). Proceeding south along the drainage divide there is a hill marked as having an elevation of 1144 feet (in section 4 near the border with section 5). Proceeding north elevations in figure 8 rise to over 1100 feet and north of figure 8 there are elevations greater than 1200 feet. The through valleys are evidence of channels carved by south-oriented flood waters from west of the figure 8 map area which had been captured by headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Gasconade River valley. The captured flood water was moving in a southeast direction to what was then the actively eroding southeast and south-oriented Snake Creek valley and the newly eroded Gasconade River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north and west of the figure 8 map area then beheaded the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Snake Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest and north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Grand Glaize Creek valley and its north- and northwest-oriented tributary valleys (including the Conns Creek valley) and to create the Conns Creek-Snake Creek drainage divide.

Osage River-Tavern Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 9 illustrates the Osage River-Tavern Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 7 map area (and there is a significant gap between the figure 9 and figure 7 map areas). The entire figure 9 map area is in the Osage River drainage basin. St Elizabeth is the town located in the figure 9 northeast quadrant and Tuscumbia is the town located in the northwest quadrant. The Osage River flows in a northeast direction from the figure 9 west edge to the north center edge area and then meanders in a southeast and north direction to the figure 9 north edge (east half). Note southeast and east oriented Osage River tributaries from the north and west. Dog Creek is an interesting north oriented tributary flowing from the figure 9 southwest corner area and then turning to flow in a northeast direction parallel to the adjacent Osage River before finally turning to flow in a northwest direction to join the Osage River. Note northwest-oriented tributaries to the northeast oriented Dog Creek segment and also north-northwest oriented Coon Creek, which joins the northeast oriented Osage River a short distance downstream from where Dog Creek joins the Osage River. Also note northeast-oriented tributaries to the southeast-oriented Osage River segment and north- and northwest-oriented tributaries to the north-oriented Osage River segment. Humphrey Creek is the north-oriented tributary joining the Osage River at the south end of the north-oriented Osage River segment. Tavern Creek meanders in a north-northeast direction in the figure 9 east half and north of the figure 9 map area joins northwest-oriented Little Tavern Creek and then flows in a northwest direction to join the north-oriented Osage River segment. Note southeast-oriented tributaries to Brushy Fork, a northeast and east oriented Tavern Creek tributary (in the figure 9 south center area). Note the Turnback Ridge and High Point area near the figure 9 center. To the west is north-northwest oriented Coon Creek. To the south is northeast-oriented Ramsey Branch, which flows to north-oriented Humphrey Creek. Also to the south is Haw Creek, which flows in a southeast direction to Brushy Fork, which flows to Tavern Creek. Figure 10 provides a more detailed map of the Coon Creek-Ramsey Branch, and Haw Creek drainage divide area, but note on figure 9 how those streams and their tributaries are aligned with each other and also linked by shallow through valleys. The figure 9 valleys were also eroded by immense south oriented floods as the deep Osage River valley eroded headward into the region and beheaded south oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. The meandering Tavern Creek valley was eroded headward along and across multiple beheaded south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes. The northeast- and east-oriented Brushy Fork valley eroded west and southwest from the Tavern Creek valley to capture south-oriented flood flow from west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. One captured flood flow route was along the present day Coon Creek-Haw Creek alignment. Headward erosion of the Osage River valley also beheaded and reversed flood flow on the north-oriented Osage River valley segment and the Humphrey Creek alignment. That flood flow reversal captured south-oriented flood flow moving on the Coon Creek alignment and the captured flood flow moved in a southeast and then northeast direction along the Ramsey Branch alignment. Finally headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the Coon Creek alignment. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Coon Creek valley and to create present day drainage divides.

Coon Creek-Haw Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Coon Creek-Haw 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 Coon Creek-Haw Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Coon Creek flows in a north-northwest direction in sections 20 and 17 to the figure 10 north edge and north of the figure 10 map area flows to the northeast oriented Osage River. Note northwest-oriented Prairie Hollow, which drains the figure 10 center area to Coon Creek. Northwest-oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 west edge and northwest corner drain to Dog Creek, which flows to the Osage River. Haw Creek originates in the section 30 southeast corner and flows in a northeast direction into section 29 where it turns to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 10 south center edge. South of the figure 10 map area Haw Creek flows to northeast and east-oriented Brushy Fork, which flows to north-northeast oriented Tavern Creek, which in turn flows to Osage River. Ramsey Branch is the northeast-oriented stream flowing to figure 10 east center edge. East of the figure 10 map area Ramsey Branch flows to north-oriented Humphrey Creek, which flows to a north-oriented Osage River segment. Note how the Coon Creek-Haw Creek drainage divide is crossed by shallow through valleys. For example in section 29 a through valley links the north-oriented Coon Creek valley with the south oriented Haw Creek valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 880 and 900 feet (the map contour interval is 20 feet) and the hill to the west rises to 953 feet while the hill to east rises to at least 920 feet. A slightly deeper through valley in the section 21 south center area links the northwest-oriented Prairie Hollow valley with the northeast-oriented Ramsey Branch valley and the through valley floor elevation is between 860 and 880 feet. Elevations rise to 939 feet in the north of section 21 and as already mentioned elevations rise to 953 feet in section 29. Another through valley in the section 29 northwest corner links northwest-oriented Dog Creek tributary valleys with the southeast-oriented Haw Creek valley. The floor of this section 29 through valley has an elevation of between 880 and 900 feet and the hill to the east rises to 953 feet and a hill along the figure 10 south edge rises to more than 990 feet. These through valleys provide evidence of south and southeast-oriented flood flow routes from west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head moving flood waters to actively eroding north-oriented valleys along flood flow routes beheaded and reversed by Osage River valley headward erosion. The Prairie Hollow-Ramsey Branch through valley was eroded by flood water moving south on what was then the yet to be beheaded and reversed Coon Creek alignment to the newly beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Humphrey Creek alignment. The Coon Creek-Haw Creek and Dog Creek tributary-Haw Creek through valleys were eroded by south-oriented flood water moving to the newly beheaded and reversed and actively eroding north-northeast oriented Tavern Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Osage River valley north of the figure 10 map beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Coon Creek alignment and the reversed flood flow eroded the Coon Creek valley. Continued headward erosion of the Osage River valley next beheaded and reversed flood flow on the northwest-oriented Dog Creek tributary alignment and the reversed flood flow eroded the northwest-oriented Dog Creek tributary valleys.

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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