Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas is actually multiple drainage divides between southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek and east-oriented Salt Creek, between Salt Creek and the east-northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River, and between the Marais des Cygnes River and the southeast-oriented Neosho River. Dragoon Creek and Salt Creek are Marais des Cygnes River tributaries. The Marais des Cygnes River-Neosho River drainage divide separates the Missouri River drainage basin from the Arkansas River drainage basin. The multiple east-west oriented drainage divides were eroded by immense south-oriented floods which flowed from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet into and across Kansas. Flood waters were first captured by headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Neosho River valley which eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Arkansas River valley. Next headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley from the newly eroded Osage and Missouri River valleys beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Neosho River valley. Headward erosion of the Salt Creek valley then beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley and next Dragoon Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Salt Creek valley. Finally headward erosion of the east-oriented Kansas River valley and tributary valleys beheaded all south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Neosho River, Marais des Cygnes River, Salt Creek, and Dragoon Creek valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes the major valley and tributary valley positions and orientations and north-south oriented through valleys crossing the present day east-west oriented 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 are listed on the sidebar category list under their appropriate Missouri River tributary drainage basin, Missouri River segment drainage basin (by state), or states in which the Missouri River drainage basin is located.

Introduction:

  • The purpose of this essay is to use topographic map interpretation methods to explore Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas, 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 Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area landform origins in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm. This essay is included in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essay collection.

Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Dragoon Creek-Neosho 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 Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas and illustrates a region in east central Kansas with a region in west-central Missouri located near the figure 1 east edge. The Missouri River flows along the Kansas-Missouri border from the figure 1 north edge to Kansas City and then flows in an east direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of the figure 1 map area the Missouri River continues to flow in an east direction to join the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Kansas River flows from Junction City, Kansas to join the Missouri River at Kansas City. South of the Kansas River the Marais des Cygnes River originates near Eskridge, Kansas (north of Emporia) and flows in a south-southeast and then east-northeast direction to Ottawa before turning to flow in a southeast direction into Missouri and to the figure 1 east edge (south half). East of the figure 1 map area the Marais des Cygnes River joins the northeast-oriented Osage River, which joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City, Missouri. Dragoon Creek is the southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes tributary also originating near Eskridge and flowing through Harveyville to join the Marais des Cygnes River between Quenemo and Pomona. The Neosho River originates near White City, Kansas (south of Junction City) and flows in a southeast direction to John Redmond Reservoir and Iola before turning to flow in a south direction to the figure 1 east edge. South of figure 1 the Neosho River flows to the southeast and east oriented Arkansas River, which flows directly to the south oriented Mississippi River. The Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties is located south of Dragoon Creek and north of the Neosho River and is the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively provide evidence for immense south-oriented floods flowing from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet into and across Kansas. Flood waters were captured in sequence by headward erosion of deep Mississippi River tributary valleys which eroded headward into Kansas to divert the flood waters to the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Headward erosion of the Arkansas River-Neosho River valley captured flood flow in the Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area first. Next headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley from what was then the newly eroded northeast-oriented Osage River valley captured the flood water and diverted flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley downstream from Jefferson City. Headward erosion of the Dragoon Creek valley subsequently beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley in the Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties area. Finally in the figure 1 map area headward erosion of the Kansas River valley from the newly eroded Missouri River valley at Kansas City beheaded all south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Dragoon Creek, Marais des Cygnes River, and Neosho River valleys and diverted flood waters directly east.

Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 2 provides a slightly more detailed location map for the Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties, Kansas. Morris, Chase, Lyon, Osage, Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson are Kansas county names and the county boundaries are shown. Wabaunsee County is the unnamed county between Morris County and Osage County. The Neosho River originates in Morris County and after flowing a short distance in a northeast and east direction turns to flow in a southeast direction from Parkersville to Emporia in Lyon County and then to John Redmond Reservoir in Coffey County before reaching the figure 2 south edge. Dragoon Creek originates near Eskridge in Wabaunsee County and flows in a southeast direction to Harveyville before entering Osage County and flowing in a southeast direction to enter Pomona Lake. From Pomona Lake Dragoon Creek flows in southeast direction to join the Marais des Cygnes River near the Osage-Franklin County border. The Marais des Cygnes River is formed in northeast Lyon County by the junction of south-southeast tributaries, including Elm Creek which originates just south of Eskridge, and flows into Melvern Lake in southern Osage County. From Melvern Lake the Marais des Cygnes River flows in an east-northeast direction to Ottawa in Franklin County. From Ottawa the Marais des Cygnes River flows in a southeast direction to the figure 2 east edge. Between Dragoon Creek and the Marais des Cygnes River is southeast- and east-oriented Salt Creek, which flows just south of Osage City in Osage County and which joins the Marais des Cygnes River near Pomona located on the Osage-Franklin County border. The Dragoon Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Osage, Lyon, and Coffey Counties is in reality three drainage divides, with the northernmost divide being between Dragoon Creek and Salt Creek, the intermediate divide being between Salt Creek and the Marais des Cygnes River, and the southernmost divide being between the Marais des Cygnes River and the Neosho River. The southern divide is also the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. This knob begins by illustrating drainage divides in the north and then proceeds south to illustrate the Marais des Cygnes River-Neosho River drainage divide.

East Branch Mill Creek-Elm Creek drainage divide area

Figure 3: East Branch Mill Creek-Elm Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the East Branch Mill Creek-Elm Creek drainage divide area near Eskridge in Wabaunsee County and also the Dragoon Creek headwaters. Eskridge is the town located northwest of the figure 3 center area. Harveyville is the smaller town located in the figure 3 southeast corner. The East Branch Mill Creek flows in a northwest direction from near Eskridge to the figure 3 northwest corner. North and west of figure 3 the East Branch Mill Creek joins east-northeast oriented Mill Creek, which flows north of the figure 3 map area to join the east-oriented Kansas River. Streams flowing to the figure 3 north edge are Mill Creek or Kansas River tributaries. The east-southeast oriented stream near the Wabaunsee-Shawnee-Osage County corner in the figure 3 northeast quadrant is the South Banch Wakarusa River, which east of the figure 3 map area flows to the east-oriented Wakarusa River, which then flows to the east-oriented Kansas River. The southeast oriented stream originating near Eskridge and flowing to the figure 3 southeast corner is Dragoon Creek, which south and east of the figure 3 map area continues to flow in a southeast direction until it joins the Marais des Cygnes River. The south oriented stream originating near Eskridge and flowing through WILMINGTON township to the figure 3 south edge is Elm Creek, which south of figure 3 flows in a south-southeast direction to join with other streams to form the southeast and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River. The major figure 3 drainage divide separates the east-oriented Kansas River drainage basin in the north from the southeast and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River drainage basin in the south. The figure 3 drainage history determinable from map evidence begins with south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 3 map area. Deep Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys then eroded headward into the figure 3 map area at approximately the same time with the Elm Creek valley eroding north and the southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek valley next eroding headward. Headward erosion of a southeast-oriented flood flow channel to and beyond the figure 3 northwest corner from the actively eroding Dragoon Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what had been the actively eroding Elm Creek valley. Next headward erosion of the South Branch Wakrusa River valley from what were then the newly eroded east-oriented Wakarusa and Kansas River valleys beheaded most south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Dragoon Creek valley, although the southeast flood flow channel and some south-oriented flood flow routes in the figure 3 north central area were not beheaded. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Kansas River valley and Kansas River tributary valleys north of the figure 3 map area then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the Dragoon Creek valley in the figure 3 north center area. Finally headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Mill Creek valley north and west of the figure 3 map area beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channel to what was still the actively eroding Dragoon Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented East Mill Creek valley, which today joins Mill Creek as a barbed tributary.

Dragoon Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Dragoon Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the Dragoon Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area south and east of the figure 3 map area. Osage City is the town located in the figure 4 southwest quadrant. Lyndon is the smaller town located east of Osage City. Salt Creek is the southeast and east oriented stream flowing from the figure 4 west edge to the figure 4 east edge and located just south of Osage City and Lyndon. Salt Creek originates a short distance west of the figure 4 map area and east of the figure 4 map area flows to join the east-northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River. Dragoon Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 4 northwest corner to Pomona Lake, which is a reservoir flooding the Dragoon Creek valley. The southeast-oriented stream in the figure 4 northeast quadrant also flowing to Pomona Lake is Hundred and Ten Mile Creek. Dragoon Creek is a Hundred and Ten Mile Creek tributary and east of figure 4 and downstream from Pomona Lake Hundred and Ten Mile Creek joins the Marais des Cygnes River. Note how Salt Creek has south-southeast oriented tributaries and Dragoon Creek has north-northeast oriented tributaries. Also note how the south-oriented Salt Creek tributaries are linked by through valleys with the north-oriented Dragoon Creek tributaries. The size of the through valleys can best be appreciated by recognizing the isolated hill north of Lyndon and recognizing the hill-top is at the same elevation as the hills north and west of Osage City. The hill-top elevation exceeds 350 meters and the hills north and west of Osage City are even higher. In between elevations along the Dragoon Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide are less and are less than 330 meters in the Osage City area. Close study of the figure 4 map area reveals a number of narrower and shallower through valleys, which are better seen on more detailed maps. Figure 5 below provides a detailed map of the Mud Creek (flowing north to Dragoon Creek)-Salt Creek drainage divide in the Osage City area. The through valleys, while subtle features, provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes to what was once the actively eroding Salt Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the deep Dragoon Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Dragoon Creek beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to the newly eroded Salt Creek valley and flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Dragoon Creek tributary valleys and to create the Dragoon Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Mud Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Detailed map of Mud Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 5 provides a detailed map of the Mud Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area near Osage City seen in less detail in the figure 4 map area. Mud Creek originates just north of Osage City and flows in a south-southeast direction to the Osage City north edge and then makes a U-turn to flow in a north-northeast direction to the figure 5 north center edge. North of figure 5 Mud Creek flows to east-southeast oriented Dragoon Creek. Salt Creek is the southeast-oriented stream flowing across the figure 5 southwest corner and located southwest from Osage City. Note how there is a significant north-south oriented through valley linking the north-oriented Mud Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Salt Creek valley. The through valley can be viewed on several different scales depending on where one decides the valley walls are. Using only figure 5 evidence the hill-top in section 29 near the figure 5 southeast corner can be considered the eastern valley edge and has an elevation of at least 1140 feet (detailed map elevations are in feet as opposed to meters used on the less detailed maps). The hill in section in section in the figure 5 northwest corner can be considered the western edge and has an elevation of at least 1190 feet. The drainage divide elevation between the two hills drops to between 1070 and 1080 feet in the Osage City city limits and varies elsewhere. While a subtle feature this north-south oriented through valley is evidence of a south-oriented flood flow channel that existed prior to Dragoon Creek valley headward erosion. Flood waters flowed south to what was then the actively eroding Salt Creek valley and were subsequently captured by headward erosion of the Dragoon Creek valley north of the figure 5 map area. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Mud Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Dragoon Creek valley proceeded from east to west and reversed flood flow in the newly reversed north-northeast oriented Mud Creek valley captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from a south-oriented flood flow channel west of the actively eroding Dragoon Creek valley head. Evidence of the captured south-oriented flood is found in the south-southeast oriented Mud Creek headwaters and in north-south oriented through valleys across the low hill just north of the Mud Creek headwaters area. The westernmost of those through valleys is drained to the north by a north-oriented tributary to north-oriented Smith Creek, which is a Dragoon Creek tributary located west of Mud Creek.

Salt Creek-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area

Figure 6: Salt Creek-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 6 illustrates the Salt Creek-Marias des Cygnes River drainage divide area south of the figure 4 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 4. Osage City is the town located east of the figure 6 north center edge area. Reading is the smaller town located in the figure 6 southwest corner area and Miller is the small town located in the northwest corner. Elm Creek flows in a south-southeast direction from Miller to join Hundred and Forty Two Mile Creek near the figure 6 west center edge and to form the southeast and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River, which enters Melvern Lake seen along the figure 6 south edge. Melvern Lake is a reservoir flooding the Marais des Cygnes River valley. Turkey Creek is the labeled southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. Note other south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. Mute Creek is the east and northeast oriented Salt Creek tributary located north of the Turkey Creek headwaters. Figure 6 evidence again shows broad north-south oriented through valleys crossing the Salt Creek-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide. The through valleys are especially visible in the figure 6 east half, although close study of the drainage divide in the figure 6 west half also reveals north-south oriented through valleys. The through valleys are shallow and are generally defined by only one or two contour lines on each side. The figure 6 contour interval is ten meters (back into meters on figure 6). The north-south oriented through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels moving immense quantities of flood water to what was then the actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River valley prior to headward erosion of the Salt Creek valley. The Salt Creek valley eroded headward across the figure 6 map area, probably slightly behind Marais des Cygnes River valley headward erosion, and beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys. Reversed flow on the northeast-oriented Mute Creek route captured significant yet to be beheaded flood flow from west of the actively eroding Salt Creek valley head (see southeast-oriented Mute Creek headwaters and tributaries). Capture of this yet to beheaded flood flow enable the Mute Creek valley to erode a significant northeast-oriented valley. Figure 7 provides a detailed map of the Mute Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area.

Detailed map of Mute Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Detailed map of Mute Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 7 provides a detailed map of the Mute Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 6 above. Turkey Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream originating near the figure 7 center and flowing to the figure 7 south edge (east half). The south-oriented stream originating in section 22 and flowing near the figure 7 west edge to the south edge is Cable Creek, which is a Marais des Cygnes River tributary. Mute Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 7 northwest corner and then turns to flow in an east direction in sections 15 and 14 before turning to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 7 north edge. North and east of the figure 7 map area Mute Creek joins east-oriented Salt Creek. Note multiple north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Mute Creek valley with the south-oriented Cable Creek and Turkey Creek valleys. Well defined narrow through valleys link Cable Creek headwaters in sections 21 and 22 with northeast-oriented Mute Creek tributary valleys. Multiple through valleys in sections 23, 24, and 19 link south-oriented Turkey Creek headwaters valleys with north-oriented Mute Creek tributary valleys. On a much larger scale the figure 7 map area can be viewed as much larger and broader north-south oriented through valley. Hills in the figure 7 southeast quadrant rise to at least 1180 feet in elevation while hills in the figure 7 west center edge area rise to over 1240 feet. Much of the region between the hills is lower with some drainage divide elevations being in the 1130-1140 foot elevation range. This large-scale north-south oriented through valley is just as significant a water eroded landscape feature as the smaller scale through valleys located on its floor. The through valleys at both scales were eroded by large volumes of south-oriented flood flow moving to what was then the actively eroding Marias des Cygnes River valley at a time before headward erosion of the Salt Creek valley captured that south-oriented flood flow. In other words, the through valley was eroded just prior to headward erosion of the Salt Creek valley. The northeast-oriented Mute Creek valley may have eroded headward from the actively eroding Salt Creek valley to capture flood flow west of the where the actively eroding Salt Creek valley head was located at that time. Headward erosion of the Salt Creek-Mute Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding Turkey Creek and Cable Creek valleys.

Marais des Cygnes River-Neosho River drainage divide area

Figure 8: Marais des Cygnes River-Neosho River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 illustrates the Marais des Cygnes River-Neosho River drainage divide area south of the figure 6 map area. Lebo is the town located in the figure 8 center area and Olivet is the smaller town located in the figure 8 northeast corner. Neosho Rapids is the town located in the figure 8 southwest corner. The southeast oriented Neosho River can be seen in the figure 8 southwest corner and the high water level of the John Redmond Reservoir which floods the Neosho River valley is indicated. Further east the southeast-oriented Neosho River and its flooded valley are located south of figure 8 map area. The southern margin of Melverne Lake is located along the figure 8 north edge and marks the position of the flooded east oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley. The northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary east of Lebo and flowing to the figure 8 east edge is Frog Creek. The southeast, northeast, east, and north oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary north of Lebo is Coal Creek. The south-oriented Neosho River tributary south of Lebo is Lebo Creek . Note other south-oriented Neosho River tributaries. Note the broad north-south oriented through valley linking the north-oriented Coal Creek valley with the south-oriented Lebo Creek valley. To identify the through valley walls look at the hills in the figure 8 southeast corner area which rise to elevations in excess of 370 meters and then look at the hills near the Coffey-Osage-Lyon County common corner west and north from Lebo which also rise to elevations greater than 370 meters. Compare those hill elevations with the drainage divide elevations in between which are generally in the 350-360 meter range, but which are less than 350 meters near Lebo. While not deep the through valley is broad and provides evidence of a major south-oriented flood flow route to what was once the actively eroding Neosho River valley (and the newly eroded Arkansas River valley to the south) before headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters east to what was then the newly eroded northeast-oriented Osage River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Coal Creek valley.

Marais des Cygnes River-Frog Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: Marais des Cygnes River-Frog Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 illustrates the Marais des Cygnes River-Frog Creek drainage divide area east and north of the figure 8 map area and also includes overlap areas with figure 8. Lebo is the town located in the figure 9 southwest quadrant near the west edge. Melverne is the town located near the figure 9 northeast corner. Waverly is the town in the figure 9 southeast corner. Olivet is the smaller town in the figure 9 north center area. Melverne Lake, which floods the east-northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley is located in the figure 9 northwest quadrant and the dam impounding the reservoir is located near the figure 9 north center edge. Frog Creek is the northeast-oriented stream originating in the figure 9 southeast quadrant and joining the Marais des Cygnes River near Melverne in the figure 9 northeast corner. Long Creek is the north-northeast oriented Frog Creek tributary located east of KEY WEST township. Note northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the southeast-oriented Frog Creek tributary valleys with north-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels to what was once an actively eroding northeast-oriented Frog Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the deep east-northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley in the Melverne Lake area. At that time the Marais des Cygnes River valley in the Melverne Lake area did not exist and flood waters were moving to what was then a newly eroded and deep Frog Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley quickly followed Frog Creek valley headward erosion and beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Frog Creek valley. Flood flow routes were beheaded in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys and to create the Marais des Cygnes River-Frog Creek drainage divide.

Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates the Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 9. Waverly is the town located just north of the words ROCK CREEK. Rock Creek is the north-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary flowing north from the Waverly area to the figure 10 north edge. Frog Creek is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 10 northwest corner. Joe Creek is the northeast oriented stream immediately south of Frog Creek and flows to north-oriented Long Creek, which is a Frog Creek tributary. The south oriented stream flowing to the figure 10 south center edge is also named Long Creek and south of the figure 10 map area the south-oriented Long Creek flows to the southeast and south oriented Neosho River. The south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 10 southeast quadrant is Pottawatomie Creek and the south-southeast oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 east edge are Pottawatomie Creek tributaries. South of the figure 10 map area Pottawatomie Creek makes a U-turn and becomes a northeast-oriented stream and eventually joins the Marais des Cygnes River. Note how the north oriented Rock Creek valley is linked by through valleys to both the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley and the south oriented Long Creek valley. These through valleys provide evidence that for a time south oriented flood waters moved into the figure 10 map area on the Rock Creek alignment and then split with some of the flood waters moving south to what were then the newly eroded Neosho River and Arkansas River valleys and with some of the flood waters moving to what was then a newly eroded northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley, which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley to capture flood waters moving south on what is now the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek headwaters valley. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 10 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow route and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Rock Creek tributary valley.

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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