Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area landform origins in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties, Missouri, USA

· Missouri, Osage River, Sac River (Missouri)
Authors

Abstract:

The Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties, Missouri is located south of the east-oriented Osage River and was eroded by immense south-oriented floods prior to Osage River valley headward erosion. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and prior to Osage River valley headward erosion were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar County elevations today to what were then actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys. A major south-oriented flood flow route using what is now the north-oriented Sac River alignment captured flood flow from further west resulting in a number of southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow route and flood waters on the north end reversed flow direction and began to erode the north-oriented deep Sac River valley. Headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Sac River valley was aided by yet to be beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow from further west and the deep north-oriented Sac River valley rapidly eroded headward (or south). As the Sac River valley was eroding headward (south) the north and north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek valley eroded headward west of the newly eroded Sac River valley and beheaded flood flow routes to the Sac River valley. The north-northeast and northeast oriented Horse Creek valley next beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Cedar Creek valley. Finally headward erosion of the north-northeast oriented Clear Creek valley from the actively eroding Osage River valley head beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Horse Creek valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of major north and north-northeast oriented valleys and their tributary valleys and 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 Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area landform origins in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar 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 Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays 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 Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties, Missouri will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Clear Creek-Sac 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 Clear Creek-Sac River in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties, Missouri location map and illustrates a region in southwest Missouri with a region in southeast Kansas near the west edge. The Marais des Cygnes River flows in a southeast direction from Ottawa, Kansas (near the figure 1 northwest corner) to near Schell City, Missouri where the it joins with the east oriented Little Osage River and east and northeast oriented Marmaton River to form the east and northeast-oriented Osage River, which flows to Harry S. Truman Reservoir. From Harry S. Truman Reservoir the Osage River flows in an east direction to the Lake of the Ozarks (another large reservoir flooding the Osage River valley) and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 1 northeast corner area. North and east of the figure 1 map area the Osage River joins the east-oriented Missouri River, which flows to the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Sac River is a north-oriented Osage River tributary originating west of Springfield, Missouri near the figure 1 south center edge and flowing north to the large reservoir south of Stockton, Missouri. The reservoir name on more detailed maps is Stockton Lake and from Stockton Lake the Sac River flows in a north and north-northeast direction to join the Osage River near Osceola, Missouri. Horse Creek is a major north-northwest and north-northeast oriented Sac River tributary located west of Stockton Lake. What appears on figure 1 to be a north-northeast oriented Horse Creek tributary between Horse Creek and Stockton Lake is Cedar Creek (actually Horse Creek is a Cedar Creek tributary). The unlabeled north-northeast oriented Osage River tributary located west of Horse Creek and originating north and east of Sheldon, Missouri is Clear Creek. The Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties is located east of Clear Creek, west of the Sac River, and south of the Osage River and is one several hundred Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide areas described in Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays. Collectively the essays present evidence for immense south-oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet which were captured in sequence (from south to north) by headward erosion of deep east-oriented valleys. Evidence presented in this essay suggests flood waters flowed south across the entire figure 1 map area until captured by headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley. The north-oriented Sac River valley and tributary valleys and other north-oriented Osage River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels. Prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley, which had eroded headward from the south-oriented Mississippi River valley.

Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Clear Creek-Sac 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 Clear Creek-Sac River drainage divide area in St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar Counties, Missouri. St Clair, Vernon, and Cedar are Missouri county names and county boundaries are shown. The Little Osage River flows in an east direction from the figure 2 west edge across northern Vernon County to join the northeast-oriented Marmaton River and the southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River to form the east-oriented Osage River, which forms the Vernon County north border before flowing into St Clair County. In St Clair County the Osage River meanders in an east direction to near Osceola and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 2 north edge. The Harry S. Truman Reservoir floods much of the Osage River valley in St Clair County. Stockton Lake in southern Cedar County is another large reservoir flooding the north oriented Sac River valley. The Sac River meanders in a north direction from Stockton Lake to join the Osage River a short distance upstream from Osceola. The major tributary west of the Sac River is north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek which joins the Sac River just south of the St Clair-Cedar County border. Major Cedar Creek tributaries include northeast-oriented Horse Creek and east-northeast oriented Alder Creek. Clear Creek originates near Sheldon in southern Vernon County and flows in a north-northeast direction to join the Osage River in western St Clair County. McCarty Creek is a north-oriented Clear Creek tributary in southeast Vernon County. Note other north- and northwest-oriented Clear Creek tributaries. Note how south of the east-oriented Osage River and its east-oriented tributaries figure 2 drainage routes are primarily north-oriented with some being north-northeast or northeast oriented. The predominance of north-oriented drainage routes developed by reversals of flood flow along south-oriented flood flow channels beheaded by headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley and its east-oriented tributary valleys. Flood flow channels were beheaded in sequence from east to west and flood waters on north ends of  beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north. Reversed flood flow in a newly beheaded flood flow channel could capture yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow from flood flow channels west of the actively eroding Osage River valley head. Such captures of yet to be beheaded flood flow enabled the newly reversed flood flow channels to erode significant north-oriented tributary valleys.

Clear Creek-Alder Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 3 illustrates the Clear Creek-Alder Creek drainage divide area located in the Cedar County northwest corner. Eldorado Springs is the town located west of the figure 3 center area. Cedar Springs in the much smaller town located in the figure 3 east center area. Clear Creek is the north-northeast and north oriented stream flowing from the figure 3 southwest corner to the figure 3 north edge. Walnut Creek is the northwest oriented tributary flowing north of Eldorado Springs and Mc Cord Branch is the north-northwest oriented Clear Creek tributary flowing west of Eldorado Springs. Fly Creek is the northwest oriented Clear Creek tributary in the figure 3 southwest quadrant. Little Clear Creek is the northwest- and north-oriented stream flowing to the figure 3 north center edge. North of the figure 3 map area Little Clear Creek flows to Clear Creek and Clear Creek flows to the east-oriented Osage River. Alder Creek is east-northeast oriented stream flowing across the figure 3 southeast quadrant. East of the figure 3 map area Alder Creek flows to northeast oriented Horse Creek and Cedar Creek which flow to the north-oriented Sac River (which flows to the Osage River). Little Alder Creek is the southeast-oriented Alder Creek tributary originating near the Eldorado Springs Memorial Airport. Note other southeast-oriented Alder Creek tributaries. The southeast oriented Alder Creek tributaries and northwest-oriented Clear Creek tributaries provide evidence the Alder Creek valley eroded headward across multiple southeast oriented flood flow channels and diverted the captured southeast-oriented flood flow in a northeast and north direction to what was then the newly eroded Osage River valley. Clear Creek valley headward erosion subsequently beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels and flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Clear Creek tributary valleys. Additional evidence for the southeast oriented flood flow channels can be seen by studying the Clear Creek-Alder Creek drainage divide. Shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys link northwest-oriented Clear Creek tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Alder Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys are better seen on more detailed maps and figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Walnut Creek-Little Alder Creek drainage divide area near Eldorado Springs.

Detailed map of Walnut Creek-Little Alder Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Walnut Creek-Little Alder 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 Walnut Creek-Little Alder Creek drainage divide area near Eldorado Springs, which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Walnut Creek is the northwest-oriented stream originating in section 26 and flowing into section 22 before reaching the figure 4 north edge. North and west of the figure 4 map area Walnut Creek flows to north-oriented Clear Creek. Little Alder Creek originates in section 34 and flows south of the Eldorado Spring Memorial Airport before turning to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 4 southeast corner. South and east of the figure 4 map area Little Alder Creek flows to east-northeast and northeast oriented Alder Creek. Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley in sections 27 and 26 linking the northeast oriented Walnut Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Little Alder Creek valley.  Lowest elevations along the drainage divide on the through valley floor are between 890 and 900 feet. The hill located immediately to the northeast in sections 24 and 25 rises to at least 980 feet and a hill immediately to the southwest in section 34 rises to at least 980 feet. The through valley is a water eroded feature and was eroded by southeast oriented flood flow to what was then a newly eroded east-northeast and northeast oriented Alder Creek valley. The Alder Creek valley had eroded headward from what were then newly eroded Horse Creek and Cedar Creek valleys, which had eroded headward from what was the newly reversed flood flow on what is today the north-oriented Sac River alignment. At that time the deep Osage River valley had not yet beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow on the present day Clear Creek alignment and the Clear Creek valley did not exist (nor did the Osage River valley exist north and west of the figure 4 map area). When headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley progressed north and west of the figure 4 map area the north and north-northeast oriented Clear Creek valley eroded headward across the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Alder Creek valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Clear Creek tributary valleys such as the Walnut Creek valley. The flood flow reversal created the Walnut Creek-Little Alder Creek drainage divide.

McCarty Creek-Horse Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 5 illustrates the McCarty Creek-Horse Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Montevallo is the small town south of the figure 5 west center area. Alder Creek is the east-northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 5 north center area to the northeast corner. Clear Creek is the meandering northeast oriented stream in the figure 5 northwest corner area. McCarty Creek is the north oriented Clear Creek tributary flowing from the figure 5 southwest corner along the figure 5 west edge. Mulberry Creek is the north-northwest oriented Clear Creek tributary joining Clear Creek near the word VIRGIL. Mill Branch is the northwest, north, and northwest oriented Clear Creek tributary originating at Montevallo. Horse Creek is the north and northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 5 south center edge area to the figure 5 east edge (north half). Cherry Branch is an east-southeast oriented Horse Creek tributary in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. Stinking Creek is an east-northeast and east oriented Horse Creek tributary flowing across the figure 5 center area. Wilkey Creek is the southeast-oriented tributary originating south of Montevallo and joining Horse Creek near the figure 5 south center edge. Close inspection of the figure 5 map area reveals shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Clear Creek valley with valleys of Horse Creek tributaries. For example, note the low hills rising to at least 300 meters east and south of Montevallo. Those low hills define the margins of a northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the north-northwest oriented Mill Branch valley with the southeast-oriented Wilkey Creek valley. Another shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valley can be seen linking the north-northwest oriented Mulberry Creek valley with the east-northeast and east oriented Stinking Creek valley. A northwest-southeast oriented through valley in the figure 5 northeast quadrant also links the east-northeast oriented Alder Creek valley with the east-southeast oriented Cherry Branch valley (and is illustrated in detail in figure 6 below). The through valleys and the tributary orientations provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was then a newly eroded north- and northeast-oriented Horse Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the northeast- and north-oriented Clear Creek valley and the east-northeast oriented Alder Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Alder Creek valley and subsequent headward erosion of the Clear Creek valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the Horse Creek valley. Reversals of flood flow on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes eroded north-northwest oriented Clear Creek tributary valleys and created the Alder Creek-Horse Creek and Clear Creek-Horse Creek drainage divides.

Detailed map of Alder Creek-Cherry Branch drainage divide area

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


Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Alder Creek-Cherry Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Alder Creek is the east-northeast oriented stream in the figure 6 northwest corner area. Horse Creek is the north-northeast oriented stream in the figure 6 southeast corner. Cherry Branch flows in an east-southeast from section 25 in the figure 6 southwest quadrant and then turns to flow in an east-northeast direction into section 29. In section 29 Cherry Branch turns to flow in a southeast direction to figure 6 south edge to join Horse Creek. Horse Creek in the figure 6 southeast corner region has eroded some rather spectacular incised meanders just before it joins north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek just east of the figure 6 map area. Figure 6a below provides a detailed map of the Horse Creek incised meanders. Before studying the incised meanders note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley in figure 6 section 19. The through valley links a northwest-oriented Alder Creek tributary valley with a southeast-oriented Cherry Branch tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 880 and 890 feet. Drainage divide elevations in the section 21 northwest quadrant rise to more than 960 feet. Elevations in the figure 6 southwest corner rise to at least 950 feet. In other words the through valley is at least 50-60 feet deep and provides evidence of a major southeast-oriented flood flow channel to what was at that time the actively eroding Horse Creek valley and the east-northeast oriented Alder Creek valley did not yet exist. Flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 6 elevations today. That earlier high level surface was lowered to produce the present day figure 6 surface topography primarily as flood waters flowed to what was then the actively eroding Horse Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was were then newly eroded Cedar Creek, Sac, River, and Osage River valleys. Figure 6a below illustrates the Horse Creek incised meanders and where Horse Creek joins north-oriented Cedar Creek. The Cedar Creek alignment was first used by a south-oriented flood flow channel and was beheaded when headward erosion of deep Osage River beheaded and reversed flood flow on the Sac River alignment (east of figure 6). The Horse Creek incised meanders probably reflect routes of other south-oriented flood flow channels, some of which were beheaded and reversed and others still retain their south orientation. Note shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing the Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide in the figure 6a southeast quadrant.

Figure 6a: Horse Creek incised meanders. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 7 illustrates the Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Stockton, Missouri is the town located in the figure 7 southeast quadrant and Stockton Lake is the reservoir flooding the Sac River valley in the figure 7 southeast corner. The Stockton Lake Dam is located at the north end of the lake and the Sac River meanders across and along the figure 7 east edge to the figure 7 north edge. Cedar Creek is the north and north-northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 7 south center edge to the figure 7 north center edge. Horse Creek flows in a north and northeast direction from the figure 7 southwest corner area to join Cedar Creek in the figure 7 north center area. Alder Creek is located along the north edge in the figure 7 northwest quadrant and Cherry Branch flows to Horse Creek south and east of Alder Creek. East and east-southeast oriented Stinking Creek is located south and west of Cherry Branch. Note northwest-oriented Horse Creek tributaries. Bear Creek is the northwest oriented tributary in the figure 7 southwest corner. Potter Branch is the north-northwest oriented tributary north and east of Bear Creek. The northeast-oriented Cedar Creek tributary in the figure 7 south center area is English Branch. Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of the Potter Branch-English Branch drainage divide area in the figure 7 southwest quadrant to illustrate shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys in that region. Close study of the figure 7 map area reveals other regions of shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. Note also northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries and how valleys of those northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries are sometimes linked by shallow through valleys with the north-oriented Sac River valley. The Sac River valley was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north end of a beheaded south-oriented flood flow route. The south-oriented flood flow route had captured flood waters from further to the west and the captured flood water was moving in southeast-oriented flood flow channels to the south-oriented flood flow channel. When the south-oriented flood flow channel was beheaded and reversed (by headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley) the southeast-oriented flood channels continued to supply flood waters, however once in the flood flow channel the flood waters now went north rather than south and eroded the deep north-oriented Sac River valley. Headward erosion of the north and north-northeast Cedar Creek valley across the southeast-oriented flood flow channels beheaded flood flow routes to the newly reversed Sac River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Horse Creek valley across the southeast-oriented flood flow channels next beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Cedar Creek valley. Again flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Horse Creek tributary valleys and to create the Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Horse Creek-English Branch drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Horse Creek-English 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 Horse Creek-English Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Horse Creek flows in a north-northeast direction in the figure 8 northwest corner. Potter Branch is the north-northwest oriented stream flowing through sections 15 and 10 to join Horse Creek near the figure 8 north edge. Bear Creek is the northwest-oriented Horse Creek tributary located in the figure 8 southwest corner. Note other north, northwest, and north-northwest oriented Horse Creek tributary valleys. English Branch is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 8 southeast quadrant. East of the figure 8 map area English Branch flows to north and north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek. Note shallow through valleys crossing the Horse Creek-English Branch drainage divide. One of the deepest through valleys is in section 13 and links a north- and northwest-oriented Horse Creek tributary valley with a barbed and south oriented tributary valley to the northeast-oriented English Branch valley. The through valley floor has an elevation of between 980 and 990 feet with the drainage divide on either side being slightly higher than 1000 feet. The through valley is shallow, but it is evidence of a south oriented flood flow route that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Horse Creek valley. Following the drainage divide in either direction reveals several additional and slightly higher level through valleys. These through valleys provide evidence flood waters flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the Horse Creek-English Branch drainage divide elevation today. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented English Branch valley captured the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters north to the deep north-oriented Sac River valley, which was rapidly eroding south from the newly eroded Osage River valley along what was then a newly beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow route. Headward erosion of the deep Horse Creek valley beheaded and reversed flood flow routes to the newly eroded English Branch valley. Depths of the English Branch, Horse Creek, and tributary valleys provide evidence of the amount of erosion flood waters accomplished and can only be explained in the context of immense quantities of flood water moving across and draining from the figure 8 map area

Cedar Creek-Sac River drainage divide area

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


Figure 9 illustrates the Cedar River-Sac River drainage divide area south of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Stockton Lake is a reservoir flooding the north oriented Sac River valley located along the figure 9 east edge. Stockton is the town located near the figure 9 northeast corner and the Stockton Lake Dam is located just east of Stockton. Jerico Springs is the town located near the west edge in the figure 9 southwest quadrant. Cedar Creek flows in a north direction with some east-oriented jogs from the figure 9 south edge (west of the center) to the figure 9 north center edge. Horse Creek flows in a north-northeast direction across the figure 9 northwest corner. Bear Creek is the north-oriented Horse Creek tributary flowing along the figure 9 west edge and has a north- and northwest-oriented tributary also named Bear Creek. Note northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries several of which originate near the flooded north-oriented Sac River valley. Also note north-oriented Omer Branch, which is a north-oriented Cedar Creek tributary located in the figure 9 south center area. Figure 9 detail is limited, but close inspection reveals shallow through valleys crossing drainage divides. For example a shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valley crosses the English Branch-Cedar Creek drainage divide. A shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valley links headwaters of northwest oriented Teague Branch and Snag Branch (both flowing to north-oriented Cedar Creek) with the southeast and northeast oriented valley of Hawker Branch in the figure 9 southeast corner region. And in the Jerico Springs area shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys link the north-oriented Bear Creek valley with southeast-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys. These through valleys, while subtle features and easy to overlook, provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep north and north-northeast oriented valleys. Initially southeast-oriented flood flow was moving on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 9 elevations today and was moving to what was then a major south-oriented flood flow channel on what is now the north-oriented Sac River alignment. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River valley north of the figure 9 map area beheaded the major south-oriented flood flow channel and flood waters on the north end reversed flow direction and began to erode the north-oriented Sac River valley. The newly formed north-oriented Sac River valley rapidly eroded headward or south as it captured southeast-oriented flood flow that had been flowing to the south-oriented flood flow channel. Headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Cedar Creek then rapidly beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded north-oriented Sac River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys and to create the Cedar Creek-Sac River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Snag Branch-Hawker Branch drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Snag Branch-Hawker Branch drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Snag Branch-Hawker Branch drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. The north-oriented Sac River valley is located just east of the figure 10 east edge and is flooded by the Stockton Lake Reservoir. Hawker Branch is southeast-oriented stream in section 18 and flows into section 17 where it turns to flow in a northeast and north direction to the figure 10 east center edge and to join the Sac River east of the figure 10 map area. Note south-oriented Hawker Branch tributaries originating in sections 7 and 8. Snag Branch is the north-northwest oriented stream originating in section 7 and flowing through section 6 to the figure 10 north edge. North and west of the figure 10 map area Snag Branch flows in a northwest direction to join north-oriented Cedar Creek. Teague Branch is the west-northwest oriented stream in the figure 10 northwest corner and west and north of figure 10 Teague Branch flows to north-oriented Cedar Creek. Conner Branch is the west-oriented stream between sections 11 and 14 in the figure 10 southwest quadrant and west of figure 10 flows in a northwest direction to join north-oriented Omer Branch, which then joins north-oriented Cedar Creek. Note how the north-northwest oriented Snag Branch valley is linked by what appears to be a shallow north-south oriented through valley with the south-oriented Hawker Branch tributary valleys in sections 7 and 8. The through valley floor elevation is between 1030 and 1040 feet. The hill along the figure 10 south center edge rises to at least 1060 feet and elevations in section 5 (in the northeast quadrant) rise to at least 1070 feet. The through valley is shallow, but it provides evidence of a yet to be beheaded (by Osage River valley headward erosion) south-southeast oriented flood flow route west of the Sac River valley which was captured by reversed flood flow in the what was then a rapidly eroding north-oriented Sac River valley along the alignment of a newly beheaded south-oriented flood flow route. Note how the Hawker Branch valley makes a U-turn from flowing south to flowing in a north direction. The U-turn records the movement the captured south-oriented flood flow made as it moved to the newly reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Sac River valley. Headward erosion of the north-oriented Cedar Creek valley west of the figure 10 map area subsequently beheaded the south-southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the  actively eroding Hawker Branch valley and eroded the northwest-oriented Cedar 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 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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