Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage Counties was eroded by immense south and southeast oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, which flowed into and across Kansas. Southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek flows to southeast-oriented Hundred and Ten Mile Creek, which flows to southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River, which flows to the northeast-oriented Osage River. Headward erosion of the Osage River-Marais des Cygnes River, Hundred and Ten Mile Creek-Dragoon Creek valley captured the south and southeast oriented flood flow first and diverted flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley downstream from Jefferson City, Missouri. The east-oriented Kansas River and tributary valleys are located north of the Dragoon Creek valley. Headward erosion of Kansas River and east-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys from the what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley at Kansas City, Missouri beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Dragoon Creek valley and diverted flood waters more directly to the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of the Kansas River and Dragoon Creek valleys and their tributary valleys and water eroded through valleys crossing 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 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 Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage 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.
  • 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 Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage 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.

Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Kansas River-Dragoon Creek 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 Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage Counties, Kansas location map and illustrates an area in east central Kansas with a thin strip of west-central Missouri located near the figure 1 east edge. The Missouri River forms the Kansas-Missouri state line between the figure 1 north edge and Kansas City and then flows in an east-northeast direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Missouri River flows in an east direction to reach the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Kansas River is formed at the Republican River-Smoky Hill River confluence near Junction City, Kansas (in the figure 1 west center area). The Smoky Hill River is the east-northeast oriented river flowing from Salina to Junction City and the Republican River flows in southeast and south-southeast direction from the figure 1 northwest corner area. From Junction City the Kansas River flows in an east-northeast direction to Manhattan where it is joined by the south-oriented Big Blue River (flowing from Blue Rapids to Tuttle Creek Lake and then Manhattan from the figure 1 north edge). From Manhattan the Kansas River flows to Topeka and Lawrence before joining the Missouri River at Kansas City. South of Junction City are headwaters of the southeast-oriented Neosho River, which flows from the White City area to Council Grove, Emporia, and the figure 1 south edge. South of figure 1 the Neosho River continues to flow in a southeast and south direction to join the southeast and east oriented Arkansas River, which flows to the south-oriented Mississippi River. Between the Kansas River and Neosho River is the south-southeast, east-northeast, southeast, and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River, which flows to the figure 1 southeast corner. East of figure 1 the Marais des Cygnes River flows to the northeast-oriented Osage River, which flows to the Missouri River. Dragoon Creek is the unlabeled southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary originating near Eskridge and flowing through Harveyville before joining the Marais des Cygnes River near Pomona. The Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage Counties represents the region between the east-oriented Kansas River in the north and southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek in the south. Evidence in adjacent drainage divides is illustrated and described in essays listed under Kansas River and Marais des Cygnes River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively  present evidence for massive floods which flowed from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet into Kansas and which were captured by headward erosion of east-oriented valleys. Neosho River valley headward erosion captured the flood water first. Marais des Cygnes River valley headward erosion then beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Neosho River valley. Dragoon Creek valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River. And finally Kansas River headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Dragoon Creek valley.

Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Kansas River-Dragoon Creek 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 of the Kansas River-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area in Wabaunsee, Shawnee, and Osage Counties, Kansas. Riley, Geary, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Jefferson, Morris, Lyon, Osage, and Franklin are Kansas county names and county boundaries are shown. The Kansas River is formed in Geary County at the Republican River-Smoky Hill River confluence near Junction City and then flows in a northeast direction to Manhattan in Riley County. From Manhattan the Kansas River flows in an east and east-southeast direction along the Wabaunsee County north edge into and across Shawnee County before reaching the figure 1 east edge. Major Kansas River tributaries from the south include Mill Creek, Mission Creek, and the Wakarusa River. Mill Creek is formed by several tributaries near Alma in Wabaunsee County and flows in an east-northeast direction to join the Kansas River just before reaching the Shawnee County border. Mission Creek originates near Keene in eastern Wabaunsee County and flows in an east, northeast, and north-northeast direction to join the Kansas River in western Shawnee County. The Wakarusa River flows in an east direction across southern Shawnee County and into Douglas County and joins the Kansas River east of the figure 2 map area. East of the figure 2 map area the Kansas River flows to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River. Dragoon Creek originates near Eskridge in southeast Wabaunsee County and flows in a southeast direction across Osage County to Pomona Lake (a reservoir) and then joins the east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River near Pomona at the Osage-Franklin County border. Major southeast oriented Dragoon Creek tributaries in Osage County are Switzler Creek and One Hundred and Ten Mile Creek. Dragoon Creek is really a tributary to southeast-oriented One Hundred and Ten Mile Creek, but on figure 2 it looks the other way). East of the figure 2 map the Marais des Cygnes River flows in a southeast direction to join the northeast-oriented Osage River, which flows to the Missouri River. Note how the southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek headwaters are aligned with a northwest oriented Mill Creek tributary in Wabaunsee County and how that northwest-southeast alignment is similar to the alignment of the southeast-oriented Big Blue River at Manhattan. Evidence such as this similarity of alignments suggests headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Mill Creek valley beheaded a major a southeast oriented flood flow route which had been eroding the Dragoon Creek valley headward. Flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route then reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Mill Creek tributary valley. Next headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley captured the southeast oriented flood flow route and beheaded flood flow to what was then an actively eroding southeast oriented Mill Creek tributary valley.

Mill Creek-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Mill Creek-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area in southeast Wabaunsee County. Eskridge is the town in the figure 3 south center area. Dragoon Creek flows in a southeast direction from Eskridge to the figure 3 south edge (east half). The parallel southeast-oriented stream is a Dragoon Creek tributary and joins Dragoon Creek south of the figure 3 map area. South and east of the figure 3 map area Dragoon Creek eventually flows to the Marais des Cygnes River, which flows to the Osage River. The northwest-oriented stream originating near Eskridge is the East Branch Mill Creek. West and north of the figure 3 map area the East Branch Mill Creek flows to east-northeast oriented Mill Creek, which flows north of the figure 3 map area to the east-oriented Kansas River. The northeast and east oriented stream originating near Eskridge and flowing to the figure 3 northeast corner is Mission Creek, which east and north of the figure 3 map area turns to flow in a northeast direction to the east oriented Kansas River. The southeast and east-southeast oriented stream in the figure 3 east center area is the South Branch Wakarus River. East of the figure 3 map area the Wakarusa River flows in an east direction to eventually join the Kansas River. What is particularly interesting about these diverging drainage routes is how they are linked by through valleys crossing present day drainage divides. For example, just north of Eskridge a northwest-southeast oriented through valley links the northwest-oriented East Branch Mill Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek valley. Figure 4 below provides a detailed map to better illustrate the through valley. This through valley provides evidence that prior to headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Mill Creek valley (north of the figure 3 map area) the present day northwest-oriented East Branch Mill Creek valley was a southeast-oriented flood flow channel supplying flood waters to what was then the actively eroding southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek valley. Other through valleys link the east- and northeast-oriented Mission Creek valley with the east-southeast oriented South Branch Wakarusa River valley and also with the Dragoon Creek valley. These through valleys can be explained in the context of south-oriented flood flow channels that were first captured by Dragoon Creek valley headward erosion and subsequently captured by headward erosion of the South Branch Wakarusa River valley, which beheaded flood flow channels to the newly eroded Dragoon Creek valley. Next headward erosion of the Mission Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded South Branch Wakarusa River valley and the Dragoon Creek valley west of the South Branch Wakarusa River valley head. Finally headward erosion of the Mill Creek valley (north of figure 3) beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow on the East Branch Mill Creek valley alignment and flood waters on the northwest end of that beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the East Branch Mill Creek valley.

Detailed map of East Branch Mill Creek-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of East Branch Mill Creek-Dragoon 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 East Branch Mill Creek-Dragoon Creek drainage divide area near Eskridge which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Eskridge is located just south of the figure 4 center. The East Branch Mill Creek is the northwest-oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 northwest corner. Dragoon Creek originates on the south edge of Eskridge and flows in southeast direction through section 8 to the figure 4 south edge. Two parallel southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek tributary valleys are located in sections 4 and 5 to the north and east of the Dragoon Creek headwaters and also flow to the figure 4 south edge (east half). Note the through valley in section 32 (used by the old RR grade) linking the northwest-oriented East Branch Mill Creek valley with a southeast-oriented Dragoon Creek tributary valley. North oriented drainage in the figure 4 northeast quadrant and flowing to the figure 4 north edge (east half) represents headwaters of Mission Creek tributaries. Note shallow north-south oriented through valleys in sections 29, 28, and 27 linking the north-oriented Mission Creek tributary valleys with south and southeast oriented Dragoon Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of former south-oriented flood flow routes to what was once an actively eroding Dragoon Creek valley system. Headward erosion of the Mission Creek valley north of the figure 4 map area first beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Dragoon Creek tributary valleys in the figure 4 east half. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded east-oriented Mission Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Mill Creek valley north of the figure 4 map area (and north and west of the Mission Creek valley) next beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channel using the East Branch Mill Creek alignment. Flood waters on the northwest end of that beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to flow in a northwest direction to the newly eroded east-northeast oriented Mill Creek valley as a barbed tributary.

Mill Creek-Mission Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Mill Creek-Mission Creek drainage divide area north and east of the figure 3 map area. Maple Hill is the town located in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. The Kansas River flows in an east-southeast direction in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. Willard is the small town located just east of the north-south oriented county border. Mill Creek flows in an east and northeast direction in the figure 5 northwest quadrant to join the Kansas River just north of the figure 5 map area. Note north-northwest oriented Mill Creek tributaries. Dry Creek is the north-northwest oriented tributary flowing to the Mill Creek elbow of capture (where Mill Creek changes from flowing in an east direction to flowing in a northeast direction). Mission Creek is the north-northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 5 south center edge to join the Kansas River in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. Note how the north-northeast oriented Mission Creek valley is linked by through valleys with the north-northwest oriented Dry Creek valley. Several northwest-southeast oriented through valleys link the north-northwest oriented Dry Creek valley with southeast and south-southeast oriented Mission Creek tributary valleys. Haskell Creek is the northwest-oriented Mission Creek tributary near the figure 5 south edge. Blacksmith Creek is the north-oriented Mission Creek tributary flowing to Mission Creek near Hickory Knob just before Mission Creek joins the Kansas River. Note how in the figure 5 southeast corner Blacksmith Creek headwaters are linked by a through valley to a southeast-oriented stream. That southeast-oriented stream flows to the east-oriented Wakarusa River located south and east of the figure 5 map area (see figure 6). The figure 5 evidence suggests headward erosion of the Wakarusa River valley south and east of the figure 5 map area first captured south and southeast oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley and its north-northeast oriented Mission Creek tributary valley next captured the south and southeast oriented flood flow. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northwest and north oriented Mission Creek tributary valleys. Continued headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley and headward erosion of its Mill Creek tributary valley then captured the south and southeast oriented flood flow and flood waters on north and northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and northwest oriented Mill Creek and Kansas River tributary valleys. Continued Kansas River valley headward erosion eventually beheaded all south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to the figure 5 map area.

Mission Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide area

Figure 6: Mission Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 6 illustrates the Mission Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Topeka is the city located in the figure 6 northeast corner. Auburn is the smaller town located near the figure 6 south center edge. Mission Creek flows in a north-northeast direction from the figure 6 west edge (south half) to the figure 6 north edge (west half). Mission Creek flows to the east-oriented Kansas River located north of the figure 6 map area. Blacksmith Creek is the north-oriented Mission Creek tributary flowing to the figure 6 north center edge and joining Mission Creek just north of the figure 6 map area. Haskell Creek is the northwest oriented Mission Creek tributary located in the figure 6 west center area. The east-oriented Wakarusa River flows north of the figure 6 south edge west of Auburn and is located just of the south edge east of Auburn. Note southeast oriented Wakarusa River tributaries and how the southeast-oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys are linked by shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys with the northwest- and north-oriented Mission Creek tributary valleys.Orientations of the Mission Creek and Wakarusa River tributary valleys and the shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence headward erosion of the east-oriented Wakarusa River valley captured multiple southeast oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex. Headward erosion of the Kansas River valley (north of the figure 6 map area) and its tributary Mission Creek valley next beheaded the southeast and south oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on northwest and north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-northwest-oriented Mission Creek tributary valleys and to create the Mission Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide.

Shunganunga Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Shunganunga Creek-Wakarusa River drainage divide east of the figure 6 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 6. Topeka is the large city extending across the figure 7 north edge. The east-oriented Kansas River is located north of the figure 7 map area. Forbes Field is the airport located south of Topeka and Pauline and Cullen Village are towns located west of Forbes Field.  Shunganunga Creek originates between Pauline and Cullen Village and flows in a north-northwest direction into Topeka and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the Kansas River north of the figure 7 map area. Sherwood Lake is the reservoir located in the figure 7 northwest corner area and is drained by an east-northeast oriented Shunganunga Creek tributary. Wakarusa is the town located near the figure 7 south edge (south of Cullen Village). The east oriented Wakarusa River flows from the figure 7 southwest corner area north of the figure 6 south edge except for an area west of Wakarusa where the Wakarusa River is located south of the figure 6 south edge. Note south and southeast oriented Wakarusa River tributaries. Also note north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys east of Topeka. A close look at figure 7 evidence reveals through valleys linking north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys with south and southeast oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys.Berryton is the small town located east of Forbes Field. Lynn Creek is the southeast-oriented stream located at Berryton. Note how Lynn Creek headwaters in the Forbes Field area are linked by what appears to be a through valley with the north-northwest oriented Shunganunga Creek headwaters (I have to say appear because construction of Forbes Field probably altered the landscape so it is difficult to determine what features are natural and what features are the result of human construction activities). Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of the region east of Berryton to better illustrate natural through valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley prior to headward erosion of the east-oriented Kansas River valley north of the figure 7 map area. At that time the Kansas River valley north of the figure 7 map area did not exist and flood waters were flowing on a surface at least as high as the present day Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys and to create the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area east of Forbes Field

Figure 8: Detailed map of Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area east of Forbes Field. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area east of Forbes Field seen in less detail in figure 7. Forbes Field is the Topeka airport and is located in the figure 8 southwest corner area. Berryton is the small town located east of Forbes Field. Lynn Creek is the southeast-oriented stream near Berryton and south of the figure 8 map area Lynn Creek flows to the east-oriented Wakarusa River. Other south-oriented drainage flowing to the figure 8 south edge flows to Lynn Creek south of the figure 8 map area. North-oriented streams in the figure 8 north central area are Deer Creek headwaters and north of the figure 8 map area Deer Creek flows to the east-oriented Kansas River. North-oriented streams west of Deer Creek are Deer Creek tributaries. The north-oriented stream in the figure 8 northeast corner is Tecumseh Creek, which also flows north to the east-oriented Kansas River. Note how the north-oriented Kansas River tributaries are linked by shallow north-south oriented through valleys with south-oriented Lynn Creek tributaries. For example in section 33 a north-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley is linked by a shallow through valley with a south-oriented Lynn Creek tributary valley. The through valley extends at least from the hilltop in the section 28 southwest corner (which has an elevation in excess of 1070 feet) to hilltops in section 35 (with elevations in excess of 1090 feet). The valley floor in section 33 is between 1030-1040 feet in elevation. This broad, but shallow through valley is a water eroded feature and provides evidence that large volumes of south-oriented flood water moved into what is now the southeast-oriented Lynn Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Kansas River valley north of the figure 8 map area. Other north-south oriented through valleys can also be seen in the figure 8 map area. Another example is located in section 36 and links the north-northeast oriented Tecumseh Creek headwaters valley with a south-oriented Lynn Creek tributary valley. The section 36 through valley is narrower and is not as deep, although it also is a water eroded feature and provides evidence of south-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley north of the figure 8 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys and to create the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide.

South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 9 illustrates the South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide east and south of the figure 3 map area. Burlingame is the town near the figure 9 south center edge and Carbondale is the town near the figure 9 east center edge. Scranton is the town located in the figure 9 southeast quadrant and midway between Burlingame and Carbondale. Wakarusa is the town located in the figure 9 northeast corner. Dragoon Creek flows in a southeast direction across the figure 9 southwest quadrant. The South Branch Wakarusa River flows in an east-southeast and northeast direction in the figure 9 northwest quadrant from the figure 9 west edge to the figure 9 north center edge. North of the figure 9 map area the South Branch Wakarusa River joins the east-southeast and east oriented Wakarusa River, which is located in the figure 9 northeast quadrant just south of the north edge. Switzler Creek is the southeast-oriented stream originating near the Kansas Turnpike and flowing to the figure 9 south center edge near Burlingame. Note how the southeast-oriented Switzler Creek valley is linked by a through valley with the South Branch Wakarusa River valley. Figure 10 below provides a detailed map of the South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valleys. Switzler Creek is a Dragoon Creek tributary. The southeast-oriented stream north and east of Switzler Creek and flowing near Scranton to the figure 9 east edge (south half) is Hundred and Ten Mile Creek. South and east of the figure 9 map area Dragoon Creek joins Hundred and Ten Mile Creek, which then flows to the Marais des Cygnes River, which flows to the Osage River. Note how the Hundred and Ten Mile Creek valley north of Scranton is linked by through valleys with north-oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys. Also note how the southeast-oriented Hundred and Ten Mile Creek valley begins just south and east of the South Branch Wakarusa River elbow of capture (where it turns from flowing in an east-southeast and east direction to flowing in a northeast direction). This evidence suggests prior to headward erosion of the Wakarusa River and South Branch Wakarusa River valleys headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Hundred and Ten Mile Creek valley captured south- and southeast-oriented flood flow, which was subsequently beheaded by headward erosion of the Wakarusa River-South Branch Wakarusa River valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes in the figure 9 northeast quadrant reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys and to create the Wakarusa River-Hundred and Ten Mile Creek drainage divide, which in reality is the Kansas River-Osage River drainage divide.

Detailed map of South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide area.

Figure 10: Detailed map of South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler 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 South Branch Wakarusa River-Switzler Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. The South Branch Wakarusa River is located near the figure 10 north edge and flows in an east-southeast, east, and northeast direction from the figure 10 northwest corner to the figure 10 northeast corner. Switzler Creek originates in the section 12 south center area (just south of the South Branch Wakarusa River) and flows in a south-southeast direction to the figure 10 south center edge. As previously noted the Wakarusa River flows to the Kansas River and Switzler Creek water eventually flows to the Osage River so the drainage divide in section 12 is between the Kansas River drainage basin and the Osage River drainage basin. Note how the Switzler Creek headwaters are linked by a through valley with the South Branch Wakarusa River valley. Also note similar north-south oriented through valleys in sections 12, 7, and 8 linking Switzler Creek tributary valleys with the east-oriented South Branch Wakarusa River valley. The through valleys provide evidence the east- and northeast-oriented South Branch Wakarusa River valley beheaded multiple south-oriented flood flow channels to what was then the actively eroding Switzler Creek valley and tributary valleys. This evidence documents erosion of the Switzler Creek-Dragoon Creek-Hundred and Ten Mile Creek valleys occurred prior to headward erosion of the South Branch Wakarusa River valley. Further, headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley north of the figure 10 map area did not occur until after headward erosion of the South Branch Wakarusa River valley had beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the Switzler Creek valley and tributary valleys. In other words, the Osage River valley and tributary valleys were eroded prior to headward erosion of the Kansas River valley and tributary valleys, which created the Kansas River-Osage River drainage basin drainage divide by beheading the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes responsible for Osage River valley and tributary valley headward erosion.  .

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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