Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area landform origins in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties, Missouri is the drainage divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. Immediately south of the Spring River headwaters area is the southeast oriented White River drainage basin, which east of the Spring River headwaters is located between the Missouri and Arkansas River drainage basins. The Barton, Dade, and Lawrence County region was crossed by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Flood waters initially flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest Barton, Dade, and Lawrence County elevations today and were captured by headward erosion of deep southeast and east oriented valleys and tributary valleys which eroded headward from the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. South-oriented flood flow across the Barton, Dade, and Lawrence County area to what were then actively eroding south-oriented White River tributary valleys was beheaded by headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Osage River valley. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction and began to erode the north-oriented Sac River valley. North-oriented flood flow in the newly reversed Sac River valley captured significant yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow from west of the Sac River valley. The captured flood flow moved along southeast, east, and northeast oriented routes to reach the north-oriented Sac River valley and provided the water volumes required to rapidly erode the deep north-oriented Sac River and tributary valleys headward (or south) into the Barton, Dade, and Lawrence County area. Headward erosion of deep south-southwest oriented Spring River valley from what were then the newly eroded Neosho River and Arkansas River valleys west of the Barton, Dade, and Lawrence County area beheaded and reversed some of the southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes and the reversed flood flow eroded northwest, west, and southwest oriented Spring River headwaters and tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of present day 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 Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area landform origins in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence  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 Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties, Missouri will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Sac River-Spring 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 location map for the Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties, Missouri. Figure 1 illustrates a region in southwest Missouri with areas in southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma to the west and northwest Arkansas to the south. The east-oriented Missouri River is located near the north edge in the figure 1 northeast quadrant. East of the figure 1 map area the Missouri River joins the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Osage River is a major Missouri River tributary of importance in this essay and flows in an east and northeast direction from Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks (another large reservoir) to join the Missouri River near Jefferson City. West of the Harry S. Truman Reservoir the Osage River is formed at confluence of several tributaries and flows in an east direction from near Schell City, Missouri to Osceola before turning to flow in a northeast direction to Harry S. Truman Reservoir. The Sac River is the north-oriented river flowing through Stockton to join the Osage River near Osceola. The lake shown south of Stockton on more detailed maps is named Stockton Lake and is a large reservoir flooding the north-oriented Sac River valley. Major Sac River tributaries shown are northwest and northeast oriented Horse Creek from the west and northwest-oriented Little Sac River from the east. The unlabeled north-northeast oriented Horse Creek tributary is Cedar Creek and on more detailed maps Horse Creek is a Cedar Creek tributary. The Neosho River flows in a south-southeast direction through Chanute, Kansas to Miami, Oklahoma and then turns to flow in a south-southwest direction to figure 1 south edge. South of figure 1 the Neosho River joins the southeast oriented Arkansas River, which flows to the Mississippi River. The Spring River is not labeled on figure 1, but is the northwest-oriented stream flowing from near Mount Vernon, Missouri through Carthage before turning north of Joplin, Missouri to flow in a south-southwest direction to join the Neosho River south of Miami, Oklahoma. South of the Spring River head waters is Table Rock Lake, a large reservoir flooding the White River valley. From Table Rock Lake the White River flows in an east and southeast direction to eventually join the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties is located south of Horse Creek, west of the Sac River, and north of the Spring River and is one of several hundred drainage divide areas being described in Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project page essays. Collectively the essays present evidence for immense south-oriented floods flowing across the figure 1 map area. 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 southeast and east oriented valleys which eroded headward from the Mississippi River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River-Osage River beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding Spring River and White River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north-ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Sac River valley and north-oriented Sac River tributary valleys and to create the Sac River-Spring River drainage divide. Headward erosion of the south-southwest oriented Spring River valley then beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes which had been captured by the newly reversed Sac River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes then reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Spring River headwaters and tributary valleys.

Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Sac River-Spring 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 Sac River-Spring River drainage divide area in Barton, Dade, and Lawrence Counties, Missouri. Figure 2 shows a region in southwest Missouri and county names and boundaries are shown. Springfield, Missouri is the city located in Greene County and Joplin is the largest city located in Jasper County. Barton County is located north of Jasper County and for purposes of this essay only eastern Barton is considered. The Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, essay addressed the region located west of the region considered here and can be found under Osage River on the sidebar category list. The Spring River flows in a northwest and west-northwest direction from near Aurora in southern Lawrence County to Galesbug in northwest Jasper County. From Galesburg the Spring River flows in a south-southwest direction to the figure 2 west edge. Honey Creek is the northwest and west oriented Spring River tributary in southeast Lawrence County. The North Fork Spring River originates in the Dade County southwest corner and flows in a northwest direction to near Lamar in Barton County and then turns to flow in a south-southwest direction to join the Spring River near Galeburg. The Sac River originates in western Greene County and flows in a north-northwest direction to Stockton Lake, a reservoir straddling the Dade County-Cedar County border. Turnback Creek is a north-northeast and north oriented tributary flowing through northeast Lawrence County and joining the Sac River in Dade County. Cedar Creek is a north-northeast oriented stream originating in northwest Dade County and joins the Sac River north of the figure 2 map area. Horse Creek is a northeast and north-northeast Cedar Creek tributary originating in southwest Dade County and joining Cedar Creek north of the figure 2 map area. Note how Horse Creek and the North Fork Spring River parallel each other in southwest Dade County and eastern Barton County before turning and flowing in opposite directions. The James River is a south-southwest oriented river flowing east of Springfield in Greene County into Christian County and south of the figure 2 map area joins the southeast-oriented White River. North-oriented figure 2 drainage routes probably originated as south-oriented flood flow channels to what were once actively eroding south-oriented James River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep south-southwest oriented Spring River and North Fork Spring River valleys beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded James River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Spring River and North Fork Spring River valley segments. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Osage River valley north of the figure 2 map area beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 2 map area. Flood waters on the north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Sac River valley and its north-oriented tributary valleys.

Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Horse Creek-Cedar Creek drainage divide area in northwest Dade County, southwest Cedar County, and northeast Barton County. Jerico Springs is the town located east of the figure 3 north center area. Milford is the smaller town located near the figure 3 west center edge. Horse Creek flows in a northwest direction from the figure 3 south center edge and then turns to flow in a north direction just east of Milford and finally turns to flow in a north-northeast direction to the figure 3 north edge (west half). Note northwest and west oriented Horse Creek tributaries. Bear Creek is the north-oriented stream just west of Jerico Springs and north of the figure 3 map area Bear Creek flows in a northwest direction to join Horse Creek. Chaney Branch is the west-oriented tributary flowing across the figure 3 south center area. Patton Branch is the northwest and north-northwest oriented tributary originating the figure 3 center area. Lacey Branch is the north-northwest oriented tributary north of Patton Branch. Cedar Creek is the north-northeast oriented stream in the figure 3 east half flowing to the figure 3 northeast corner. Note northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributaries from the east and southeast and east-oriented tributaries from the west. Valley orientations suggest the north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek valley eroded headward across southeast oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters at that time were probably flowing to what was then the actively eroding James River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded White River valley. Flood waters on northwest ends of flood flow routes beheaded by Cedar Creek valley headward erosion reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys. Next headward erosion of the north-northeast and north oriented Horse Creek valley beheaded southeast oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding southeast and east oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys, which were eroding headward from the newly eroded Cedar Creek valley. Flood waters on west and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode west, northwest, and north-northwest oriented Horse Creek tributary valleys. Further evidence of flood flow channels can be found in shallow northwest-southeast and west-east oriented through valleys linking southeast and east oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys with west, northwest, and north-northwest oriented Horse Creek tributary valleys. For example in the figure 3 center area note the through valley linking the northwest-oriented Patton Branch valley with the east-oriented Maybee Branch valley. Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the figure 3 south center area to better illustrate evidence.

Detailed map of Chaney Branch-Cedar Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Chaney Branch-Cedar 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 Chaney Branch-Cedar Creek drainage divide area and the Patton Branch-Maybee Branch drainage divide seen in less detail in figure 3 above. North-northeast oriented Cedar Creek can just barely be seen in the figure 4 southeast corner. Chaney Branch flows in a west direction across the figure 4 south center area and southwest quadrant to the west edge. West of the figure 4 map area Chaney Branch joins northwest-oriented Horse Creek (see figure 3). In section 4 in the figure 4 southeast quadrant the west-oriented Chaney Branch valley is linked by a through valley with an east-southeast and south-southeast oriented (and barbed) Cedar Creek tributary. Maybee Branch originates in section 32 in the figure 4 north center area and flows in a north-northeast and east direction to the figure 4 east edge (near northeast corner). East of the figure 4 map area Maybee Branch joins north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek. Note how in section 32 the Maybee Branch valley is linked by a through valley with a south-southwest oriented Chaney Branch tributary valley. Also note how the east oriented Maybee Branch valley near the figure 4 north center edge is linked with a west-oriented valley located near the figure 4 north edge (in the northwest quadrant). The west-oriented stream in that west-oriented valley is Patton Branch which north and west of figure 4 flows in a northwest and north-northwest direction to join north-northeast oriented Horse Creek. A close look at figure 4 reveals other somewhat shallower through valleys eroded across present day drainage divides. The through valleys are water eroded features and were eroded by an anastomosing complex of flood flow channels initially moving flood water in a southeast direction toward what then was probably the actively eroding James River valley near present day Springfield, Missouri. Headward erosion of the deep north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek valley captured the east and southeast oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters north to what was then the newly reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Sac River valley. The north-northeast and south-southwest oriented through valley in which Maybee Branch originates was probably eroded by east-oriented flood flow from the Chaney Branch valley moving north-northeast direction to the east-oriented Maybee Branch valley. At that time flood waters were probably flowing in all of the figure 4 through valleys and headward erosion of the deep north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek valley had just captured the east- and southeast-oriented flood flow. Horse Creek valley headward erosion subsequently beheaded the flood flow channels and flood waters reversed flow direction to erode the Horse Creek tributary valleys.

Horse Creek-North Fork Spring Creek drainage divide area

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


Figure 5 illustrates the Horse Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area. Golden City is the town located in the figure 5 southwest quadrant and Lockwood is the town located in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. The North Fork Spring River flows in a northwest direction from the figure 5 south center edge past Golden City to the figure 5 northwest corner. Kyle Creek is the northwest oriented North Fork Spring River tributary located east of Golden City. The northwest oriented North Fork Spring River valley segment was eroded when headward erosion of the south-southwest oriented North Fork Spring River valley west of the figure 5 map area beheaded southeast oriented flood flow on the present day northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River alignment. Flood flow on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River valley. Horse Creek originates near the figure 5 south edge south of Lockwood and flows in a north and northeast direction to the figure 5 north edge (just west of the center). Note how Horse Creek originates as a northwest- and northeast-oriented stream in a west-east oriented through valley linking the Kyle Creek valley with the Horse Creek valley. The longer northwest-oriented Horse Creek valley segment was eroded by flood waters on the northwest end of a beheaded southeast oriented flood flow route. Flood flow on the Horse Creek alignment was probably beheaded and reversed before flood flow on the North Fork Spring River alignment was beheaded and reversed. Southeast-oriented flood flow on the North Fork Spring River alignment probably flowed east in the through valley to the newly reversed Horse Creek valley. Shortly thereafter flood flow on the North Fork Spring River alignment was beheaded and reversed, which resulted in erosion of the west-oriented Kyle Creek tributary valley. The South Prong Sons Creek flows from the figure 5 south edge (east of Lockwood) to the figure 5 northeast corner area and then turns to flow in an east and northeast direction to the figure 5 east edge. North and east of figure 5 Sons Creek flows into Stockton Lake and joins the north-oriented Sac River. The north-oriented South Fork Sons Creek valley was eroded when headward erosion of the east and northeast oriented Sons Creek valley beheaded a south-oriented flood flow channel on the South Prong Sons Creek alignment. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented South Prong Sons Creek valley and to flow to the newly reversed and rapidly eroding north-oriented Sac River valley. The deep north-oriented Sac River valley was able to rapidly erode headward or south because it was capturing significant southeast and south oriented flood flow from routes further to the west. Prior to reversal of the western southeast and south oriented flood flow routes the western flood flow was probably moving to what was then the actively eroding James River valley.

Detailed map of Horse Creek-North Fork Spring Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Horse Creek-North Fork Spring 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 Horse Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. The North Fork Spring River flows in a north and northwest direction near the west edge in the figure 6 southwest corner area. Kyle Creek is the northwest, north, and northwest oriented North Fork Spring River tributary is sections 24 and 25 (in southwest quadrant). Note the west-oriented Kyle Creek tributary originating in section 20 and flowing through section 19 to join Kyle Creek in section 24. Horse Creek flows in a northwest direction in the figure 6 northeast corner area. Note the northwest-oriented Horse Creek tributary flowing through sections 17 and 16 and joining Horse Creek in section 9. A west to east oriented through valley in section 20 links the northwest-oriented Horse Creek valley with the west-oriented Kyle Creek tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 1040 and 1050 feet. Elevations in section 17 just to the north rise to over 1100 feet. The highest elevations in section 28 located south of the through valley are between 1070 and 1080 feet. However two miles south of the figure 6 map area and south of the west-oriented Kyle Creek valley elevations along the Horse Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide rise to more than 1100 feet. The west to east oriented through valley is a water eroded feature and was eroded by flood flow moving in a southeast direction on the North Fork Spring River alignment, which had been captured by reversed flood flow flowing in a northwest direction on the Horse Creek alignment. Headward erosion of the deep north and north-northeast oriented Horse Creek valley beheaded and reversed flood flow on the present day northwest-oriented Horse Creek valley alignment before headward erosion of the deep south-southwest oriented North Fork Spring River valley beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow on the present day northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River alignment. When southeast-oriented flood flow on the northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River alignment was beheaded flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River valley, the Kyle Creek valley, and west-oriented Kyle Creek tributary valley.

Turnback Creek-Spring River drainage divide area

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


Figure 7 illustrates the Turnback Creek-Spring River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 5 map area. Miller is the town located slightly north and east of the figure 7 center. The Spring River is the northwest and west oriented river in the figure 7 southwest quadrant. West of the figure 7 map area Spring River flows in a west-northwest and northwest direction until it turns to flow in a southwest, south, and south-southwest direction to the south-oriented Neosho River (which flows to the Arkansas River). Stahl Creek is the southwest-oriented Spring River tributary originating south of Miller and Dry Fork is the south-oriented Stahl Creek tributary. Truitt Creek is the southwest and south-southwest oriented Spring River tributary located east of Stahl Creek. White Oak Creek is the northwest and southwest oriented stream in the figure 7 northwest quadrant and joins Spring River west of the figure 7 map area. The north-northwest oriented stream flowing from the figure 7 east edge (south half) to the figure 7 north edge (east half) is Turnback Creek. North of the figure 7 map area Turnback Creek flows in a north-northwest and north direction to enter Stockton Lake Reservoir and to join the north-oriented Sac River. North-oriented streams flowing to the figure 7 north center edge are Turnback Creek tributaries. Note also north and northeast-oriented tributaries north of Miller and also in the figure 7 southeast quadrant. The north-northeast and northeast oriented Turnback Creek tributaries originating near Miller are Sycamore Branch and North Sycamore Branch with Piper Hollow being a north-oriented Sycamore Branch tributary and Turner Hollow being a north- and northwest-oriented Sycamore Branch tributary. Note how north-northeast oriented Sycamore Branch and North Sycamore Branch are linked by a shallow north-south oriented through valley near Miller with the south-southwest oriented Stahl Creek valley. The through valley provides evidence of flood flow which may have been moving in an east-southeast direction on the Spring River alignment and then in a northeast direction on the Stahl Creek and Sycamore Branch alignments to what was then newly reversed flood flow in the north-northwest-oriented Turnback Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Osage River had beheaded a major south-oriented flood flow route along the present day Sac River-Turnback Creek alignment. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction and eroded the deep north-oriented Turnback Creek-Sac River valley. Erosion of the deep north-oriented valley was greatly aided by captured south-oriented flood flow from further to the west which moved in a southeast and east-southeast direction and then a northeast direction to the newly reversed flood flow route. Headward erosion of the south-southwest oriented Spring River valley west of the figure 7 map area beheaded the southeast and east-southeast oriented flood flow route and flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the west-northwest and northwest Spring River valley segment and to create the Turnback Creek-Spring River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Piper Hollow-Stahl Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Piper Hollow-Stahl 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 Piper Hollow-Stahl Creek drainage divide area near Miller, which was seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Miller is the town located north and west of the figure 8 center. Sycamore Branch begins in the Miller city limits northeast corner and flows in a northeast direction to section 18 north center where it joins north-oriented Piper Hollow and then flows in a north-northeast direction to the figure 8 north edge. Piper Hollow originates in section 19 and drains north to Sycamore Branch in section 18. Turner Hollow is the north and north-northwest oriented stream located along the boundary between sections 17 and 16 east of Piper Hollow and joins Sycamore Branch north of the figure 8 map area. North Sycamore Branch flows in the north-northeast valley originating north of Miller and draining to the figure 8 north center edge (west of Sycamore Branch). North of the figure 8 map area the Sycamore Branch and North Sycamore Branch valleys eventually drain to north-northwest oriented Turnback Creek. Stahl Creek flows in a northwest direction in section 30 and then turns to flow in a southwest direction in section 25 and 26 and flows to the figure 8 south edge near the southwest corner. A south oriented Stahl Creek valley is located west of Miller in section 23 and joins Stahl Creek in section 26. Note how the southwest-oriented Stahl Creek valley is linked with by a broad, but what appears to be shallow, through valley with the north-oriented Sycamore Branch and North Sycamore Branch valleys. The high elevation in the figure 8 northwest corner is more than 1380 feet. Elevations in the figure 8 southeast quadrant in sections 29 and 32 rise to more than 1330 feet. The Piper Hollow-Stahl Creek drainage divide elevation in the section 19 southwest corner area is between 1270 and 1280 feet. While most of the drainage divide elevations are slightly higher, the drainage divide area elevations between the figure 8 northwest corner area and southeast quadrant are lower than high points on either side. The region of lower drainage divide elevations is a broad north-south oriented through valley, probably initially eroded by south oriented flood flow which was subsequently reversed when headward erosion of the deep north-oriented Sac River-Turnback Creek valley captured south-oriented flood flow on the north end of what had been a south-oriented flood flow route. As previously described the reversed flood flow captured south-oriented flood waters from yet to be beheaded south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels further to the west. This captured flood flow moved in a southeast and then northeast direction to the newly reversed and then north-oriented Turnback Creek-Sac River valley. When the captured southeast-northeast oriented flood flow route was beheaded further to the west flood waters on the southwest end of the southeast-northeast oriented flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the southwest-oriented Stahl Creek valley.

Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 9 illustrates the Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area south and east of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Mt Vernon is the town located in the figure 9 west center area. The Spring River flows in a north and northwest direction in the figure 9 southwest corner. Honey Creek is the northwest, west-southwest, and west-northwest oriented Spring River tributary near the figure 9 south center edge. Williams Creek is the northwest and west oriented Spring River tributary flowing along the Mt Vernon north edge. Truitt Creek is the south-southwest oriented Williams Creek tributary in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Turnback Creek is the north and northwest oriented stream originating near the figure 9 east center edge and flowing across the figure 9 northeast corner area. Goose Creek is the north and north-northwest stream located west of Turnback Creek and joins Turnback Creek just north of the figure 9 map area. Chesapeake Branch is a north-northeast oriented Goose Creek tributary flowing past the Chesapeake State Fish Hatchery and the small town of Chesapeake. Note other northeast and north-northeast oriented Goose Creek tributaries. Close inspection of the Goose Creek-Williams Creek and the Goose Creek-Honey Creek drainage divides reveals shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented Goose Creek-Turnback Creek-Sac River-Osage River-Missouri River valley system with the Honey Creek (and Williams Creek)-Spring River-Neosho River-Arkansas River valley system. Through valleys are shallow and are better seen on more detailed maps and figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area. The through valleys are water eroded features and provide evidence of flood flow routes that existed as the deep north- and west-oriented valley systems were developing. Initial flood flow movement across the figure 9 map area was on a topographic surface at lest as high as the highest figure 9 elevations today and was in a south direction to what were then actively eroding south-oriented James River tributary valleys (with the James River being a White River tributary). Reversal of flood flow in the Sac River valley reversed flood flow along the present day Turnback Creek and Goose Creek alignments and the reversed flood flow probably captured significant yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow from west of the Goose Creek valley. The captured flood flow probably moved southeast and east and then northeast to the newly reversed Goose Creek valley and eroded the northeast and north-northeast oriented Goose Creek tributary valleys. When the southeast, east, and northeast oriented flood flow routes were beheaded they reversed direction to erode the northwest oriented Spring River valley and its west-oriented Williams Creek and Honey Creek valleys.

Detailed map of Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Chesapeake Branch-Honey 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 Chesapeake Branch-Honey Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Honey Creek is the northwest and west-southwest oriented stream located near the figure 10 south center edge area. Note south-oriented Honey Creek tributaries especially in the figure 10 south center area. The northeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 10 east edge (near northeast corner) is Goose Creek. East and north of the figure 10 map area Goose Creek turns to flow in north-northwest direction to eventually join north-northwest oriented Turnback Creek. The north-oriented stream in section 32 is Chesapeake Branch which north of the figure 10 map area drains in a north-northeast direction to north-northwest oriented Goose Creek. Northwest-oriented streams in the figure 10 northwest quadrant are Williams Creek headwaters. Note how west-oriented headwaters of Williams Creek originate in sections 31 and 6 and are linked by through valleys with the north-northeast oriented Chesapeake Branch valley. Floors of the through valleys are between 1340 and 1350 feet in elevation and the high point in section 30 to the north is greater than 1390 feet while the high point in section 1 to the south is also greater than 1390 feet. The through valleys are water eroded features which were eroded during final stages of flood flow across the figure 10 map area. Also note slightly higher elevation north-south through valleys linking the north-northeast oriented Chesapeake Branch valley with the south-oriented Honey Creek tributary valleys. As previously described initial flood flow across the figure 10 map area was in a south direction to what were then actively eroding James River tributary valleys (with the James River valley being a tributary valley to what was then the newly eroded southeast oriented White River valley). Osage River valley headward erosion north of the figure 10 map area beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 10 map area causing a major reversal of flood flow. The reversed flood flow captured significant yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow from west of the figure 10 map area and the captured flood flow moved along various southeast, east, and northeast oriented routes to help erode the deep north-oriented Sac River, Turnback Creek, and Goose Creek valleys. Headward erosion of the deep south-southwest-oriented Spring River valley west of the figure 10 map area beheaded southeast and east oriented flood flow routes to the figure 10 map area causing another reversal of flood flow which created the Williams Creek-Chesapeake Branch 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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