Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area landform origins in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas Counties, Missouri is bounded by the Osage River in the north, the Pomme de Terre River in the west, and the north and east oriented Little Niangua River, which flows into the north-oriented Niangua River, in the east and south. The Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas County area was eroded by immense south-oriented floods, which prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River-Missouri River valley flowed to south-oriented tributary valleys actively eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded southeast oriented White River valley. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and were being captured in sequence, from south to north, by headward erosion of deep southeast and east-oriented valleys and tributary valleys from the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River-Osage River-Little Niangua River valley into the Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas County area beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented valleys. Because flood flow routes were beheaded in sequence from east to west and because flood flow routes were interconnected the deep north-oriented valleys were able to capture flood flow still moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Missouri River-Osage River-Little Niangua River valley head. Captured flood flow moving to the rapidly eroding north-oriented valleys often moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions, which are reflected in present day valley orientations. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of present day valleys and shallow through valleys eroded across present day drainage divides.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is provided as evidence in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project, which is compiling similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with and within certain adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored geomorphology paradigm, which is briefly described in the introduction below. 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-Little Niangua River drainage divide area landform origins in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas 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-Little Niangua River drainage divide area in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas 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).

Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Osage River-Little Niangua 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-Little Niangua River drainage divide area location map and illustrates most of southern Missouri. The east-oriented Missouri River is located just south of the north edge in the figure 1 northeast quadrant and joins the south-oriented Mississippi near St. Louis (Illinois is the state located east of the Mississippi River). The Osage River is an east and northeast oriented tributary joining the Missouri River near Jefferson City (south of the figure 1 north center edge) and flowing in an east direction from near Schell City to Harry S. Truman Reservoir and then to Lake of the Ozarks (another large reservoir) before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the east-oriented Missouri River. The Niangua River is a north-oriented tributary joining the Osage River at the Lake of the Ozarks. West of the Niangua River is the northwest and north oriented Pomme de Terre River, which joins the Osage River at the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. Between the Pomme de Terre River and Niangua River is an unlabeled north and east oriented Niangua River tributary, which is the Little Niangua River. The Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area illustrated and discussed in this essay is located south of the Osage River, east of the Pomme de Terre River, and north and west of the Little Niangua River. South of Missouri near the figure 1 south edge is a thin strip of northern Arkansas. Along the Missouri-Arkansas border is Table Rock Lake and east of Table Rock Lake is Bull Shoals Lake. These two reservoirs flood the White River valley. Downstream from Bull Shoals Lake the White River flows in a southeast direction to eventually join the Mississippi River. South-oriented streams from the Table Rock Reservoir area east as far as Poplar Bluff, Missouri (in the figure 1 southeast corner area) are White River tributaries. The drainage divide between north-oriented Osage and Missouri River tributaries and south-oriented White River tributaries was eroded by immense south-oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, which were at one time flowing to actively eroding tributary valleys eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. At that time the deep Osage River and Missouri River valleys did not exist and flood waters could freely move south across Missouri. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River-Osage River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding White River tributary valleys 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 and also to capture flood flow still moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. Headward erosion of the Osage River valley head then beheaded and reversed south, southeast, east, northeast, and north oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding north-oriented Osage River (and Missouri River) tributary valleys. Detailed evidence for the immense south-oriented floods across the present day Missouri River drainage basin is presented in hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays (see essays under various categories on sidebar category list).

Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Osage River-Little Niangua 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 map of the Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown as are relevant regions of Benton, Hickory, Camden, and Dallas Counties. The Osage River flows in an east direction along the figure 2 north edge in Benton County and then turns to meander in an east-southeast direction into Camden County where its valley is flooded by the Lake of the Ozarks, which is impounded behind Bagnell Dam. The dam is located in northeast Camden County and downstream from the dam the Osage River meanders in an east direction to the figure 2 northeast corner. Deer Creek is a northwest-oriented and barbed Osage River tributary in Benton County and west of Deer Creek is northwest, northeast, northwest, and north oriented Turkey Creek. West of Turkey Creek is the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River, which joins the Osage River near the figure 2 northwest corner. The Niangua River meanders in a north direction along the Dallas County east border and then continues in a north direction to join the Osage River in Camden County. The Little Niangua River originates near Pumpkin Center in Dallas County and flows in a northeast, northwest, and north direction into eastern Hickory County and then turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to join the Niangua River in Camden County. Thomas Creek is a northwest and north-northeast oriented Little Niangua River tributary in Dallas County. Further north, north-northeast and east-southeast oriented Starks Creek is a Little Niangua River tributary in Hickory County. Figure 2 drainage routes were established by headward erosion of deep valleys during an immense south oriented flood. Prior to headward erosion of the deep east oriented Osage River valley and east oriented tributary valley segments flood waters were flowing south across the figure 2 map area to actively eroding White River tributary valleys south of the figure 2 map area. Osage River valley headward erosion beheaded the south oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Headward erosion of the east oriented Niangua River-Little Niangua River valley segments occurred prior to headward erosion of the Osage River valley further to the north. North oriented drainage routes were eroded by reversals of flood flow along north ends of beheaded south oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of deep north-oriented valleys along newly beheaded and reversed flood flow routes often captured flood flow continuing to move south on routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head (and/or west of the actively eroding Niangua River-Little Niangua River valley head). Captured flood flow moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to reach the actively eroding north-oriented valleys and tributary valley orientations often document these captured flood flow movements.

Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide at Lake of Ozarks

Figure 3: Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide at Lake of Ozarks. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the Osage River drainage divide with east-oriented segments of the Little Niangua River and Niangua River in Camden County. Climax Springs is the town located near the figure 3 west center edge. The Osage River meanders in an east-southeast direction from the figure 3 north edge (west half) to the figure 3 east center edge. Morris Creek is the north-northwest Osage River tributary in the figure 3 northwest corner area. Bollinger Creek is the northeast-oriented Osage River tributary located in the figure 3 north center area. East of the figure 3 map area the Osage River makes several large-scale east-west oriented meanders before reaching Bagnell Dam, which is responsible for the Lake of the Ozarks, which floods the Osage River, Niangua River, and Little Niangua River valleys. The Niangua River flows north from the figure 3 south edge (near southeast corner) to the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks and joins the Osage River just east of the figure 3 map area. The Little Niangua River meanders in a northeast direction from the figure 3 south edge in the southwest quadrant and then meanders in an east direction across the figure 3 south half to join the Niangua River in the figure 3 southeast quadrant (the Niangua Arm area). Fiery Fork is the east-southeast oriented tributary joining the Little Niangua River in the Fiery State Forest area in the figure 3 south center. Note how there are multiple shallow through valleys eroded across the Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide. The through valleys are best seen on more detailed maps and on the figure 3 map are defined generally by one or two 20-meter contour lines. A close look at the figure 3 map area reveals a high point of over 320 meters east of Barnumton in the figure 3 center area and another high point of over 320 meters near the lookout east of Climax Springs (near the figure 3 west center edge). Between those two high points the drainage divide is lower, which defines a broad north-south oriented through valley eroded across the present day drainage divide. The through valley was eroded by south-oriented flood water prior to headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley to the north. Flood waters during final stages of the through valley erosion were moving to what was then the actively eroding east-oriented Little Niangua River valley and to tributary valleys eroding headward from that newly eroded valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley and its northeast-oriented tributary valleys beheaded the south-oriented flood flow. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented Osage River tributary valleys and to create the Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Davenport Hollow-Fiery Fork drainage divide area

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


Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Davenport Hollow-Fiery Fork drainage divide area located east of Climax Springs and seen in less detail the figure 3 map area. Canfield Ridge is the labeled ridge in the figure 4 northwest quadrant. The Climax Springs Lookout Tower is located at the south end of Canfield Ridge. Fiery Fork originates south of the Climax Springs Lookout Tower and flows in an east and east-southeast direction to the figure 4 south edge (near southeast corner) and east and south of the figure 4 map area joins the east-oriented Little Niangua River. North-northeast oriented Davenport Hollow is located east of Canfield Ridge and drains to north-northwest oriented Morris Creek, which north of the figure 4 map area flows to the Osage River as a barbed tributary. The northeast-oriented stream in the figure 4 northeast corner is Bollinger Creek, which north and east of the figure 4 map area flows to the Osage River. Figure 4 is difficult map for reading elevations because contour lines in most of the west half are in feet and contour lines in the east are in meters. But follow the drainage divide between the north-oriented Osage River tributaries and the south-oriented Fiery Creek tributaries eastward from the Climax Springs Lookout to the figure 4 east edge and notice the shallow north-south oriented through valleys. The through valleys appear to be minor saddles and are easily considered to be unimportant landscape features. However, those minor saddles are evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes that once flowed across the entire figure 4 map area prior to headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley (north of the figure 4 map area). When the south-oriented flood flow channels were eroded the east-oriented Fiery Creek valley was actively eroding headward across the figure 4 map area and south-oriented tributary valleys were eroding headward from it. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Bollinger Creek valley from what was then the actively eroding Osage River valley head next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Fiery Fork valley in the figure 4 east half. Headward erosion of the Osage River north of the figure 4 map area beheaded flood flow routes in the figure 4 west half and flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode deep north-oriented Osage River tributary valleys. The deep north-oriented valleys captured flood flow still moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. The captured flood flow moved across Canfield Ridge and held helped erode the deep north-northeast-oriented Davenport Hollow valley.

Deer Creek-Starks Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Deer Creek-Starks Creek drainage divide area west and slightly south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Climax Springs is the town in Camden County in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. Edwards is the small town located near the figure 5 north center edge. Jordan is the small town located near the figure 5 south center edge. Cross Timbers is the town located in the figure 5 southwest quadrant and Fristoe is the town located near the west edge of the figure 5 northwest quadrant. The north and east oriented Little Niangua River is located in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. Starks Creek is the north-northeast and southeast oriented Little Niangua River tributary flowing the figure 5 south center edge. Rainy Creek is the north-northwest and north-northeast oriented stream originating near Climax Springs and flowing to the figure 5 north edge (east half)). Deer Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 5 north center edge just east of Edwards and Little Deer Creek is the north-oriented stream just west of Edwards. North of the figure 5 map area Little Deer Creek joins Deer Creek, which flows in a north-northwest and then northeast direction to join the Osage River. Turkey Creek is the northwest, north, north-northeast, and north-northwest oriented Osage River tributary flowing from the Cross Timbers area to the figure 5 north edge (west half). The north-oriented Pomme de Terre River is located a short distance west of the figure 5 west edge. Note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Deer Creek and Little Deer Creek headwaters valleys with southeast and south oriented Starks Creek tributary valleys. Also note shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking west and northwest oriented Turkey Creek tributary valleys with east and southeast oriented Starks Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of south and southeast oriented flood flow routes eroded prior to headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 5 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Little Niangua River-Starks Creek valley occurred slightly in advance of headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley. Flood waters flowing west of the actively eroding Osage River valley eroded south and southeast oriented flood flow channels into a high level topographic surface equivalent in elevation to the present Deer Creek-Starks Creek and Turkey Creek-Starks Creek drainage divides. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 5 map area 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 deep north-oriented valleys then captured flood flow still moving south on flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head resulting in southeast- and east-oriented flood flow movements.

Detailed map of Deer Creek-Phillips Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Deer Creek-Phillips 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 Deer Creek-Phillips Creek drainage divide area where Benton, Hickory, and Camden Counties meet and seen in less detail in figure 5. Deer Creek flows in a southwest direction from the figure 6 north center edge area almost to the figure 6 west edge and then turns to flow in a north direction to the figure 6 north edge (near northeast corner). North of figure 6 Deer Creek flows in a north-northwest  and northeast direction to join the east-oriented Osage River. Phillips Creek is the south and southeast oriented stream originating near where Benton, Hickory, and Camden Counties meet and flowing to the figure 6 south edge (near southeast corner). South of the figure 6 map area Phillips Creek flows to the northeast oriented Little Niangua River. East-oriented streams in the figure 6 northeast quadrant are tributaries to the northeast and east oriented Little Niangua River. South-oriented streams in the figure 6 southwest quadrant flow to Starks Creek, which is a Little Niangua River tributary, and south-oriented streams in the figure 6 south center area flow directly to the Little Niangua River. Close inspection of the drainage divide between the north-oriented Deer Creek drainage basin and the northeast and east oriented Little Niangua River drainage basin reveals numerous shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Little Niangua River tributary valleys. For example in section 1 a shallow through valley links a northwest-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley with the southeast oriented Phillips Creek headwaters valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 1030 and 1040 feet. Hills on either side in section 1 rise to elevations of at least 1060 feet. The through valley is only 20-40 feet deep, but is a water eroded feature and was eroded by south-oriented flood flow moving to what at that time was the actively eroding Phillips Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Little Niangua River valley. At that time the deep Deer Creek valley and Osage River valley further to the north did not exist. Flood flow to the actively eroding Phillips Creek valley ceased when a northeast-oriented flood flow route along the present day southwest-oriented Deer Creek alignment eroded headward into the region from what was then the rapidly eroding north-oriented Rainy Creek valley (see figure 5). The actively eroding north-oriented Rainy Creek valley was eroding headward on a newly beheaded and reversed flood flow route and was capturing south-oriented flood flow still moving on the Deer Creek alignment, which at that time was west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. Osage River valley headward erosion then beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Deer Creek alignment and the deep north-oriented Deer Creek valley beheaded and reversed northeast-oriented flood flow to the Rainy Creek valley, which resulted in erosion of the southwest-oriented Deer Creek headwaters valley.

Pomme de Terre River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area

Figure 7: Pomme de Terre River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 illustrates the Pomme de Terre River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area south and slightly west of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Cross Timbers is the town located south of the figure 7 north center edge. Hermitage is the town located in the figure 7 southwest quadrant and Preston is the small town at the highway intersection south of the figure 7 center. The Pomme de Terre River meanders in a north direction near the figure 7 west edge. North of the figure 7 map area the Pomme de Terre River flows to the east-oriented Osage River. Little Mill Creek is a west-northwest oriented Pomme de Terre River tributary west of Cross Timbers. Mill Creek is west-oriented Pomme de Terre River tributary south of Little Mill Creek. The Little Niangua River meanders in a north direction near the figure 7 east edge and turns in the figure 7 northeast corner area to flow in an east, northeast, and east direction to join the north-oriented Niangua River and then the Osage River. Starks Creek originates in the figure 7 south center area and flows in a northwest direction before turning to flow north (east of Preston) and then in a north-northeast direction to the figure 7 north edge (east half). North of figure 7 Starks Creek turns to flow in a southeast direction to reenter the figure 7 northeast corner area where it joins the Little Niangua River. Turkey Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream located just east of Cross Timbers and flowing to the figure 7 north center edge. North of figure 7 Turkey Creek continues to flow in a north direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the east-oriented Osage River. A close look at the figure 7 map reveals a shallow west to east oriented through valley north of Preston linking the west-oriented Mill Creek valley with the north-northeast oriented Starks Creek valley. The through valley is defined by one 20-meter contour line on each side. The through valley provides evidence of an east-oriented flood flow route which moved flood water from a south-oriented flood flow route on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment to the what was then the rapidly eroding north-northeast oriented Little Niangua River and Starks Creek valleys, which were rapidly being eroded headward on newly beheaded and reversed flood flow routes, which had been beheaded by Little Niangua River valley headward erosion. At that time Osage River valley headward erosion had not yet beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the Pomme de Terre River alignment and the deep Pomme de Terre River valley did not exist. When headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 7 map area did behead flood flow on the Pomme e Terre River alignment, flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the deep north-oriented Pomme de Terre River valley, and to reverse what had been east-oriented flood flow routes to the Starks Creek and Little Niangua River valleys, and to capture flood flow from south-oriented flood flow routes located west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head.

Detailed map of Little Mill Creek-Starks Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Little Mill Creek-Starks 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 Little Mill Creek-Starks Creek drainage divide area near Cross Timbers, seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Cross Timbers is the town located in the figure 8 map area. Starks Creek is the north-northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 8 south edge (east half) to the figure 8 east center edge area. Note east and southeast oriented Starks Creek tributaries from the west. East of the figure 8 map area Starks Creek makes an abrupt turn to flow in a southeast direction to join the east and northeast oriented Little Niangua River. Little Mill Creek originates in the section 34 area and meanders in a northwest direction to the figure 8 west center edge. West of the figure 8 map area Little Mill Creek flows to the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River. Turkey Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream flowing on what appears to be an upland erosion surface separating the west oriented Little Mill Creek valley from the east oriented Starks Creek valley. Note west to east oriented through valleys linking west and northwest oriented Turkey Creek tributary valleys with east and southeast oriented Starks Creek tributary valleys. Through valleys can be seen between sections 13 and 24 and near the corner of sections 23, 24, 25, and 26 among other locations. Based on figure 8 map area evidence the through valleys are defined by only three or four 10-foot contour lines, which means they probably are only 20 to 40 feet deep. However the through valleys are evidence of southeast- and east-oriented flood flow routes eroded by south-oriented flood flow still moving on the Turkey Creek alignment to what was then the actively eroding Starks Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 8 map area later beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Turkey Creek alignment. Through valleys across the Little Mill Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide exist, although they are defined by a single 10-foot contour line on each side. These much shallower through valleys suggest reversed flood flow on the Turkey Creek alignment was not successful in capturing much flood water moving south on the Pomme de Terre River alignment to the west of the figure 8 map area. This failure to capture south-oriented flood flow from the west may have been due to a deeper south-oriented flood flow channel. Whatever reason for the failure to capture flood flow still moving south and west of the figure 8 map area, the lack of captured flood water meant reversed flood flow on the Turkey Creek alignment was not able to erode as deep a valley as reversed flood flow on the Starks Creek alignment to the east and reversed flood flow on the Pomme de Terre River alignment to the west. The result is today the north-oriented Turkey Creek drainage basin in figure 8 is located on a north-oriented upland erosion surface standing above the surrounding north-oriented valleys.

Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 illustrates the Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Urbana is the small town located near the figure 9 west center edge. Tunas is the small town located in the figure 9 east center area. The north-oriented Niangua River is located along the east edge in the figure 9 northeast quadrant. The north-northeast-oriented tributary joining the Niangua River near the figure 9 east center edge is Jakes Creek. The north-oriented Pomme de Terre River is located west of the figure 9 map area. The Little Niangua River flows in a northeast direction from the figure 9 south center edge and then turns to flow in northwest direction by Tunas to the figure 9 north edge. North-oriented tributaries to the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River segment from east to west include north-oriented Tunas Branch, north and north-northeast oriented Judge Creek, northwest and north-northeast oriented Thomas Creek, and north-northeast, northeast, southeast, and northeast oriented Cahoochie Creek (the East Branch of which flows through Urbana). The northwest-oriented Little Niangua River valley segment may have originated as a southeast-oriented flood flow channel which eroded headward from what was then an actively eroding north-northeast oriented Jakes Creek valley being eroded headward from the newly reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Niangua River alignment before headward erosion of the east-oriented Little Niangua River valley occurred north of the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River valley segment. Headward erosion of a shallow southeast-oriented valley on the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River alignment may have been occurring as the deep east-oriented Little Niangua River valley north of the figure 9 map was being eroded and the north-oriented Tunas Branch, Judge Creek, and Thomas Creek valleys may have begun to erode headward prior to the reversal of flood flow that eroded the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River alignment. When headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Little Niangua River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes supplying flood waters to the southeast-oriented flood flow route and the north-northeast oriented Jakes Creek valley were beheaded, the southeast-oriented flood waters were reversed to erode the deeper northwest-oriented Little Niangua Creek valley. The northeast-oriented Little Niangua River headwaters valley was probably eroded by captured flood flow moving in a northeast direction to the actively eroding Jakes Creek valley and which was captured by the reversal of flood flow on what is today the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River valley segment.

Detailed map of Little Niangua River-Jakes Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Little Niangua River-Jakes 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 Little Niangua River-Jakes Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in the figure 9 map area above. The Little Niangua River is located in the figure 9 northwest quadrant and flows in a northeast direction and then turns to flow in a northwest direction. Note northwest and west oriented tributaries to the Little Niangua River near the elbow of capture (where the Little Niangua River turns from flowing in a northeast direction to flowing in a north-northwest direction). Jakes Creek flows in an east direction along the figure 10 south center edge and then turns to flow in a north-northeast direction to the figure 10 northeast corner. Note east and southeast oriented Jakes Creek tributaries. Multiple shallow through valleys link the northwest and west oriented Little Niangua River tributary valleys with the east and southeast oriented Jakes Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast- and east-oriented oriented flood flow routes from what are today northwest-oriented and northeast-oriented Little Niangua River segments to the deep north-northeast oriented Jakes Creek valley. Flood flow to the Jakes Creek valley ended when headward erosion of the deep east oriented Little Niangua River valley north and west of the figure 10 map area beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow moving along what is today the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River valley segment. The reversal of flood flow also captured northeast-oriented flood flow moving into the figure 10 map area on what is today the northeast-oriented Little Niangua River alignment. This capture of the northeast oriented flood flow (by headward erosion of the newly beheaded, reversed, and rapidly eroding northwest oriented Little Niangua River valley), which had originally been captured by headward erosion of the deep Jakes Creek valley, created the present day Little Niangua River elbow of capture and also created the Little Niangua River-Jakes Creek 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 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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