Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area landform origins in Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area in Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties, Missouri is the southern half of the drainage divide between two north-oriented Osage River tributaries and was eroded and created during a massive reversal of an immense south oriented flood. The south oriented flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and were captured in sequence from south to north by headward erosion of deep east and southeast oriented valleys and tributary valleys from the south oriented Mississippi River valley. Prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri-Osage River valley flood waters flowed south across the Polk, Dallas, and Webster County area to actively eroding south oriented tributary valleys which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded southeast oriented White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep northeast oriented Gasconade River valley and tributary valleys (from what was then the newly eroded east-oriented Missouri River valley) into the region east of Webster County next captured south-oriented flood flow from west of Webster County and created south, southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes across the Webster County. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri-Osage River valley north of the Polk, Dallas, and Webster County area then beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the present day north-oriented Niangua River alignment. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction and began to erode the deep north-oriented Niangua River and tributary valleys. These deep north-oriented valleys captured flood flow still moving south on the present day north-oriented Pomme de Terre River alignment and created new south, southeast, east, northeast, and north oriented flood flow routes across Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties. Finally, Osage River valley headward erosion beheaded and reversed flood flow on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment. The reversed flood flow eroded the deep north-oriented Pomme de Terre River valley and also eroded northwest, west, and southwest oriented Pomme de Terre tributary and headwaters valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes orientations and positions of present day valleys and the existence of 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 Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area landform origins in Polk, Dallas, and Webster 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 essay 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 Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area in Polk, Dallas, and Webster 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.

Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Pomme de Terre River-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 Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area in Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties, Missouri location map and illustrates a large region in southern Missouri along with a strip of northern Arkansas near the figure 1 south edge and a small region in western Illinois east of St. Louis in the figure 1 northeast quadrant. The Mississippi River flows in a south and southeast direction from the figure 1 north edge along the Missouri-Illinois border in the northeast quadrant and east and south of the figure 1 map continues to flow in a south direction to the Gulf of Mexico. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 1 north center edge to Jefferson City and then in an east and east-northeast direction to join the south-oriented Mississippi River north of St. Louis. The Osage River is a Missouri River tributary and is formed by several tributaries near Schell City, Missouri (near the figure 1 west edge) and then flows in an east and northeast direction to Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the Missouri River near Jefferson City. The Pomme de Terre River is a northwest and north oriented Osage River located north of Springfield, Missouri and flowing to the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. The Niangua River is a north oriented river located east of the Pomme de Terre River and joins the Osage River at the Lake of the Ozarks. Pomme de Terre Lake is a reservoir flooding the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River valley. The Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area in Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties is located south of Pomme de Terre Lake. The Osage River-Little Niangua River drainage divide area in Benton, Camden, Hickory, and Dallas Counties essay describes the drainage divide area north of Pomme de Terre Lake. South of the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River and Niangua River headwaters area south-oriented drainage routes to the southeast-oriented White River and can be found under Osage River on the sidebar category list. Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake near the figure 1 south edge are reservoirs flooding the White River valley. East of the north-oriented Niangua River headwaters is the north- and northeast-oriented Osage Fork Gasconade River and the Gasconade River headwaters are south of the north-oriented Osage Fork headwaters. Collectively Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays describe immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, which flowed across the figure 1 map area and which were captured in sequence from south to north by headward erosion of deep east- and southeast-oriented valleys and tributary valleys from the Mississippi River valley. Prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri-Osage River valley flood waters were flowing to south-oriented tributary valleys, which were actively eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri-Osage River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode deep north-oriented valleys. These new deep north-oriented valleys captured flood water from flood flow routes west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. This captured flood water often moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to actively eroding north-oriented valleys.

Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Pomme de Terre River-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 detailed location map for the Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide area in Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties, Missouri. County names and boundaries are shown as are relevant regions of Polk, Dallas, and Webster Counties. The Pomme de Terre River originates near Marshfield in Webster County and flows in a southwest direction before turning to flow in a northwest direction across the Greene County northeast corner and Dallas County southwest corner into Polk County where it turns to flow in a north direction to the figure 2 north edge. Lindley Creek is north-northwest oriented tributary originating in eastern Dallas County and flowing across the Polk County northeast corner to join the Pomme de Terre River north of the figure 2 north edge. The East and West Forks of the Niangua River both originate near Marshfield and join in northern Webster County to form the north-northwest oriented Niangua River, which near Buffalo in Dallas County turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to Bennett Springs State Park located on the Dallas County-Laclede County border. From Bennett Springs State Park the Niangua River meanders in a north direction across the Dallas-Lacelede County boundary to the figure 2 north edge. Jakes Creek is the north-northeast oriented Niangua River tributary flowing to the figure 2 north edge just west of the Niangua River and joins the Niangua River north of the figure 2 map area. The northeast-oriented stream west of Jakes Creek is the Little Niangua River, which north of the figure 2 map area turns to flow in a northwest, north, northeast, and east direction before finally joining the Niangua River. Greasy Creek is a northwest and north-northeast tributary joining the Niangua River near Buffalo. Also originating near Marshfield, just south of the southwest oriented Pomme de Terre River headwaters, is the northwest and southwest oriented James River, which south of the figure 2 map area and slightly west of Springfield turns to flow in a south direction to join the southeast oriented White River. A short distance east of Marshfield and east of the East Fork Niangua River and James River headwaters are north-oriented headwaters of the northeast-oriented Osage Fork Gasconade River and also of the northeast-oriented Gasconade River itself. The Osage Fork is a Gasconade River tributary and the Gasconade River east and north of the figure 2 map area flows in a northeast direction to eventually join the Missouri River east of where the Osage River joins the Missouri River (see figure 1). South-oriented flow across the Polk, Dallas, and Webster County area first flowed to what was then the newly eroded White River valley south of the figure 2 map area. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River valley into the region then began to capture the south oriented flood flow from the figure 2 west half and captured flood water moved in a southeast and northeast direction to reach the new deep valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage Fork next captured south oriented flood flow from the figure 2 west half and again captured flood water moved in southeast and northeast directions. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley north of the figure 2 map area next beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Niangua River alignment and reversed flood flow eroded the deep north-oriented Niangua River, which also captured south-oriented flood flow on the Pomme de Terre River alignment and the captured flood flow moved in southeast and northeast directions. Finally headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley beheaded the south, southeast, and northeast oriented flood flow route on the Pomme de Terre River alignment, which eroded the southwest, northwest, and north oriented Pomme de Terre River valley.

Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area

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


Figure 3 illustrates the Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide in northern Dallas County. Pumpkin Center is the small town located near the highway intersection south and west of the figure 3 center. Plad is the small town located east of Pumpkin Center and south and east of the figure 3 center. Wood Hill is a small town on the highway east of Pumpkin Center and west of Plad. The Nniangua River enters the map area near the south center edge and then meanders in an east direction to the figure 3 southeast corner and then turns to meander in a north direction along the figure 3 east edge to the northeast corner. Durington Creek is the east-northeast and south oriented stream joining the Niangua River near the figure 3 south center edge. The northwest, west, and southwest oriented stream near Pumpkin Center west of the figure 3 map area is a tributary to northwest-oriented Lindley Creek, which flows to the Pomme de Terre River. The Little Niangua River originates near Wood Hill and flows in a north-northwest and northeast direction to the figure 3 north edge. North of the figure 3 map area the Little Niangua River turns to flow in a northwest and then north direction before turning to flow in a northeast and east direction to join the north-oriented Niangua River. North-oriented streams in the figure 3 northwest quadrant are tributaries to the northwest-oriented Little Niangua River segment located north of the figure 3 map area. Note also how the northeast-oriented Little Niangua River segment has north-oriented tributaries. Jakes Creek is the north-northeast, east, and north-northeast stream located between the Little Niangua River and the Niangua River in the figure 3 northeast quadrant. North of the figure 3 map area Jakes Creek joins the north-oriented Niangua River. A close look at the figure 3 map reveals shallow north-south oriented through valleys crossing some of the drainage divides. The through valleys are best seen on more detailed maps and figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area near Wood Hill for that purpose. South-oriented flood flow initially moved across the figure 3 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 3 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow as it progressively eroded west. South-oriented flood flow along the figure 3 east margin was beheaded before flood flow across the figure 3 west half was beheaded. When flood flow along the figure 3 east margin was beheaded flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction and began to erode the deep north-oriented Niangua River valley, which in turn captured flood flow still moving south in the figure 3 west half. The captured flood flow moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley. Niangua River tributary orientations and orientations of other figure 3 streams reflect the captured flood water movements.

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

Figure 4: Detailed map of Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Little Niangua River-Niangua River drainage divide area near Wood Hill, which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. The north-northwest oriented stream flowing from Wood Hill to the figure 4 north edge is the Little Niangua River, which north of the figure 4 map area turns to flow in a northeast direction before turning again (north of the figure 3 map area) to flow in a northwest direction. The north-northeast oriented valley draining to the figure 4 northeast corner is the Jakes Creek valley, which drains to the north-oriented Niangua River. North-oriented streams west of Jakes Creek are tributaries to the northeast-oriented Little Niangua River segment. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 4 south edge are tributaries to east-northeast and south-oriented Durington Creek, which flows to the east-oriented Niangua River valley segment seen at the figure 3 south center edge. Note how in the area directly south and east of Wood Hill the drainage divide between the north-northwest oriented Little Niangua River valley and the south-southeast oriented Durington Creek tributary valleys is crossed by what appear to be shallow through valleys. The deepest through valley is located at the corner of sections 27, 28, 33, and 34 and the drainage divide elevation on the floor of that through valley is between 1160 and 1170 feet. The drainage divide elevation on the floor of another through valley in section 33 is between 1170 and 1180 feet. Close inspection of the drainage divide reveals several other slightly shallower through valleys. Note in section 27 elevations of at least 1200 feet and a benchmark near the figure 4 southwest corner marked as having an elevation of 1224 feet. The through valleys when looked at in a strictly local sense appear to be both shallow and narrow, however even in that sense they provide evidence of multiple south-southeast oriented flood flow channels to what were once actively eroding south-southeast oriented Durington Creek tributary valleys. When looked at in a larger scale context the 1224 foot elevation is a marker indicating a minimum level for the topographic surface flood waters originally flowed across and eroded to produce the present day landscape. Viewed from this larger scale context the entire figure 4 map area has been significantly lowered by flood water erosion. Flood waters initially were flowing south, but were captured by headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Niangua River valley following the beheading of south-oriented flood flow on the present day north-oriented Niangua River alignment. At that time south-oriented flood flow across the figure 4 map area had not yet been beheaded by Osage River valley headward erosion and the south-oriented flood flow was captured by headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Niangua River valley segment, the deep Durington Creek valley, and tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow routes across the figure 4 map area to erode the north-northwest oriented Little Niangua River valley.

Lindley Creek-Niangua River drainage divide area

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


Figure 5 illustrates the Lindley Creek-Niangua River drainage divide area west and slightly south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Buffalo is the town located along the south edge in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. Pumpkin Center is located at the highway intersection north of Buffalo in the northeast quadrant and Wood Hill is located east of Pumpkin Center along the figure 5 east edge. Louisburg is the town located west of Pumpkin Center and Rimby is west of Louisburg with Mohawk Center being the town further to the west along the figure 5 west edge. The Little Niangua River flows from near Wood Hill to the figure 5 northeast corner. The north-oriented Niangua River is located in the figure 5 southeast corner and east of the figure 5 map area turns to flow in an east and then north direction as seen in figure 3. Durington Creek headwaters flow to the figure 5 east center edge. Lindley Creek flows from the figure 5 south edge (east half, but west of Buffalo) in a north-northwest, west, northwest, and north direction to the figure 5 northwest corner area. North and west of the figure 5 map area Lindley Creek joins the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River. Little Lindley Creek is a northwest-oriented Lindley Creek tributary located near Buffalo. Note how Lindley Creek has southwest and west oriented tributaries. Orientations of those tributaries reflect flood water movements as the massive flood flow reversal was taking place. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 5 map 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. The deep north-oriented Niangua River (and segments of its Little Niangua River tributary valley) were eroded before headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment. The actively eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley (and segments of the Little Niangua River valley) captured south-oriented flood flow from the Pomme de Terre River alignment and the captured flood flow moved in southeast, east, and northeast directions to the actively eroding north-oriented valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Pomme de Terre River alignment. The resulting flood flow reversal caused flood flow reversals on the southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding north oriented valleys in what was then the evolving Niangua River drainage basin. The resulting flood flow reversals eroded the southwest, west, and northwest oriented Pomme de Terre River tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Little Lindley Creek-Greasy Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Little Lindley Creek-Greasy 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 Little Lindley Creek-Greasy Creek drainage divide area near Buffalo, Missouri and which was seen is less detail in figure 5 above. The north-oriented Niangua River meanders along and across the figure 6 east edge to the figure 6 northeast corner area. Greasy Creek is the north-northeast tributary joining the Niangua River in the northeast corner area. North of the figure 6 map area the Niangua River turns to flow in an east direction before resuming its north-oriented route (see figure 3). Little Lindley Creek is the northwest and west oriented stream in the figure 6 northwest quadrant. West of figure 6 Little Lindley Creek joins west and northwest oriented Lindley Creek, which flows to the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River. Note the shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valley in the Buffalo Airport area linking the northwest-oriented Little Lindley Creek valley with southeast oriented Greasy Creek tributary valleys. Lowest elevations along the drainage divide on the through valley floor are between 1130 and 1140 feet. The high point in section 13 to the northeast is greater than 1190 feet. The benchmark by the court-house in Buffalo is marked as having an elevation of 1200 feet. While only 50-60 feet deep and a little over a mile wide the through valley is a water eroded feature and is evidence south oriented flood water once flowed to what was then the actively eroding north-northeast oriented Greasy Creek valley. The southeast-oriented flood flow had probably been captured from south-oriented flood flow on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment prior to that south-oriented flood flow route being beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley. The north-oriented Greasy Creek valley at that time had eroded headward from what was then the newly beheaded and reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley. The Pomme de Terre River-Lindley Creek-Little Lindley Creek-Greasy Creek-Niangua River valleys described one of many south, southeast, northeast, and north oriented flood flow routes developed as the rapidly eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley captured south-oriented flood flow from the yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow route on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment.

Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide area

Figure 7: Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 7 illustrates the Mutton Hollow-Givins Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area and there is a gap between figure 5 and figure 7. The Dallas County-Webster County border is located near the figure 7 north edge. The Niangua River flows in a northwest direction across the figure 7 northeast corner. The West Fork Niangua River is the north oriented Niangua River tributary located along the figure 7 east edge. Hawk Pond Branch and Givins Branch are two northeast oriented Niangua River tributaries located in the figure 7 northeast quadrant. The Pomme de Terre River flows in a northwest direction from just west of the figure 7 south center edge to just north of the figure 7 west center edge. Mutton Hollow is a northwest and west oriented Pomme de Terre River tributary valley originating in the figure 7 south center area. North-oriented streams flowing to the figure 7 north center area north of the figure 7 map area flow in a north-northwest direction to join north-northeast oriented Greasy Creek, which flows to the north-oriented Niangua River. Note how both the Pomme de Terre River and the Niangua River are northwest-oriented in the figure 7 map area when further to the north they are both north-oriented. The reason for this orientation change is the present day northwest-oriented Pomme de Terre River and Niangua River valley segments began as southeast oriented flood flow routes used by south oriented flood flow on the present day north-oriented Pomme de Terre River and Niangua River alignments that was captured by headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Gasconade River and Osage Fork Gasconade River valleys located south and east of the figure 7 map area (the Osage Fork is tributary to the Gasconade River, which is a Missouri River tributary). The captured flood water moved in a south, southeast, and northeast direction to what were then the newly eroded Gasconade River, Osage Fork Gasconade River, and Missouri River valleys. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley north of the figure 7 map area beheaded and reversed the south and southeast oriented (and segments of the northeast-oriented) flood flow routes to erode the present day north- and northwest-oriented Niangua River and Pomme de Terre River valleys in sequence from east to west. Figure 7 also shows evidence for south, southeast, northeast, and northwest oriented flood flow routes. which carried captured south-oriented flood water from the yet to beheaded Pomme de Terre River alignment to the newly beheaded and reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley. An example of such a flood flow route is today shown by the northwest-oriented Mutton Hollow and northeast-oriented Givins Branch alignments. Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of the Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide area to illustrate evidence for west to east oriented through valleys there.

Detailed map of Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide area

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


Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Mutton Hollow in the northwest oriented valley labeled HOLLOW in the figure 8 southwest quadrant. West of the figure 8 map area Mutton Hollow drains to the northwest and north oriented Pomme de Terre River. Givins Branch is the northeast oriented stream flowing through section 15 to the figure 8 east edge (north half). The northeast-oriented drainage in sections 9 and 10 and flowing to the figure 8 north edge (near northeast corner) north and east of the figure 8 map area flows to north oriented Givins Branch, which flows to the northwest and north oriented Niangua River. Note in section 16 the west to east oriented through valley linking a west oriented Mutton Hollow tributary valley with a northeast-oriented Givins Branch tributary valley. The lowest through valley floor elevation along the drainage divide is between 1360 and 1370 feet. To the north in section 8 elevations rise to at least 1410 feet and to the south in the section 21 northwest corner elevations rise to at least 1430 feet. Other somewhat shallower through valleys link other Mutton Hollow tributary valleys with other Givins Branch tributary valleys. While not spectacular features the through valleys provide evidence of multiple east oriented flood flow channels which moved large volumes of flood waters from the yet to be beheaded (by Osage River valley headward erosion) south oriented flood flow route on the present day Pomme de Terre River alignment to what was then the newly beheaded and reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Niangua River valley. Flood waters flowed in east, southeast, and northeast directions along alignments of present day west, northwest, and southwest oriented Mutton Hollow headwaters and tributary valleys and to what were then the actively eroding northeast-oriented Givins Branch and tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 8 map area beheaded the south, southeast, east, northeast, and north oriented Pomme de Terre River-Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch-Niangua River flood flow routes. Flood waters on the north and west ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north- and northwest oriented Pomme de Terre River valley and its northwest-, west, and southwest-oriented tributary valleys and to create the Mutton Hollow-Givins Branch drainage divide.

Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area

Figure 9: Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 9 illustrates the Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area south of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Marshfield is the larger town located in the figure 9 east center area. Strafford is the smaller town located in the figure 9 southwest corner. Red Top is an even smaller town located mid way between Strafford and Marshfield. The Pomme de Terre River originates a short distance west of Marshfield and flows in a southwest direction to near Red Top and then turns to flow in a northwest direction to the figure 9 northwest corner. North and west of the figure 9 map area the Pomme de Terre River flows in a northwest and north direction to the east oriented Osage River, which in turn flows to the Missouri River. The West Fork Niangua River originates at Marshfield and flows in a north-northwest direction to the figure 9 north edge. East of the West Fork is the north-northwest oriented East Fork Niangua River. North of the figure 9 map area the West and East Forks join to form the northwest, north, east, and north oriented Niangua River, which flows to the east and northeast oriented Osage River, which in turn flows to the Missouri River. The west-northwest and southwest oriented stream in the figure 9 south center edge area is the James River. Southwest-oriented Turnbo Creek is a James River tributary which flows a short distance south of Marshfield. South and west of the figure 9 map area the James River turns to flow in a south direction to the southeast oriented White River. Northeast-oriented Hannah Branch along the figure 9 east edge (just south of the center) flows to the northeast oriented Osage Fork Gasconade River, which flows to the northeast-oriented Gasconade River, which in turn flows to the Missouri River. North of Strafford in the figure 9 southwest corner are west-oriented headwaters of the Little Sac River, which flow to the north-oriented Sac River, which is a north-oriented Osage River tributary located west of the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River. The Pomme de Terre River-James River drainage divide seen in the figure 9 south center area is also the drainage divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the White River drainage basin to the south. Note how the southwest oriented Pomme de Terre River headwaters valley parallels the adjacent southwest oriented Turnbo Creek valley, yet the two streams end up flowing in completely different directions. Both valleys are located on what were originally northeast-oriented flood flow routes used by captured south oriented flood flow moving in a northeast direction to what was then the actively eroding northeast-oriented Osage Fork Gasconade River. The south, southeast, northeast, and north oriented flood route now used by the southwest- and northwest-oriented Pomme de Terre River valley in figure 9 was beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep Osage River north of the figure 9 map area. The south, southeast, northeastoriented flood flow route now used by the southwest-oriented Turnbo Creek and James River valley segments was beheaded and reversed (south and west of the figure 9 map area) by headward erosion of the south-oriented James River valley. Evidence of that beheading is illustrated in the Little Sac River-James River drainage divide area in Dade, Polk, and Greene Counties essay (see list under Osage River on sidebar category list).

Detailed map of Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Pomme de Terre River-West Fork Niangua River drainage divide area located near Marshfield, Missouri. The Pomme de Terre River originates in section 8 west of Marshfield and flows in a southwest direction to the figure 10 south edge (west half). West of the figure 10 map area the Pomme de River turns to flow in northwest and north direction to join the east and northeast oriented Osage River, which in turn joins the east oriented Missouri River.  The north-northwest oriented stream directly north of Marshfield is the West Fork Niangua River. North-oriented streams west of the West Fork are West Fork tributaries. The northeast oriented stream in the figure 10 northeast corner is an East Fork Niangua River tributary. North of the figure 10 map area the East and West Forks join to the form the northwest, north, east, and north oriented Niangua River, which also joins the Osage River. The northwest and southwest oriented stream located south of Marshfield and flowing to the figure 10 south center edge is Turnbo Creek, which south and west of the figure 10 map area flows to southwest and south oriented James River, which in turn flows to the southeast oriented White River. The southwest-northeast oriented railroad line from the figure 10 south edge to Marshfield is located on the Pomme de Terre River-Turnbo Creek (James River) drainage divide, which is also the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the White River drainage basin to the south. Note how that drainage divide is crossed by north-south oriented through valleys especially in the region immediately west and south of Marshfield. The through valley there provides evidence south oriented flood waters once flowed from the present day Missouri River drainage  basin to the present day White River drainage basin. Also of interest is the southwest-northeast oriented through valley in the sections 4, 5, 8 and 9 area linking the southwest-oriented Pomme de Terre River valley with the north-oriented West Fork Niangua River valley. That through valley provides evidence of a south, southeast, northeast, and north oriented flow route established when headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley north of the figure 10 map area beheaded and reversed flow to erode the north-oriented Niangua River valley at the same time as flood water was continuing to flow south on what is today the north-oriented Pomme de Terre River alignment. Osage River valley headward erosion subsequently beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Pomme de Terre River alignment and that flood flow reversal also reversed flood flow on what is today the southwest-oriented Pomme de Terre River headwaters valley, which resulted in the erosion of that valley and also in the creation of the Pomme de Terre River-Niangua River drainage divide.

Additional information and sources of maps

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

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