Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area landform origins in Johnson and Miami Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area in Johnson and Miami Counties is the divide between the Kansas River drainage basin to the north and the Osage River drainage basin to the south. The drainage divide area was eroded by immense south oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and which flowed into and across Kansas. South oriented flood waters in the Johnson and Miami County area were first captured by headward erosion of the deep southeast and south-southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley, which eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys. South-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley. Next headward erosion of the east oriented Kansas River valley from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley at Kansas City beheaded south oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north oriented Kansas River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of the Marais des Cygnes and Kansas River valleys and their tributary valleys and also numerous shallow through valleys eroded across the present day drainage divide.

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-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area landform origins in Johnson and Miami 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 topographic map evidence in the Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area in Johnson and Miami Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes 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 Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area location map. Missouri is the state located in the figure 1 east half and Kansas is the state located in the figure 1 west half. The Missouri River forms the Kansas-Missouri border between the figure 1 north edge and Kansas City. East of Kansas City the Missouri River flows in an east-northeast direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of the figure 1 map area the Missouri River flows in an east-south and east direction to join the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Kansas River flows from the figure 1 west edge in an east direction to join the Missouri River at Kansas City. Note south-southeast oriented Kansas River tributaries from the north. The Marais des Cygnes River is located south of the Kansas River and originates near Eskridge (south and west from Topeka) and flows in a south-southeast, east and southeast direction to the Kansas -Missouri state line and the figure 1 south edge. South and east of the figure 1 map area the Marais des Cygnes River flows in an east direction to join the northeast-oriented Osage River, which joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City, Missouri (east of the figure 1 map area. The Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide in Johnson and Miami Counties, Kansas is located just west of the Kansas-Missouri state line and extends south from the Kansas River segment between Eudora, Kansas and Kansas City to the Marais Des Cygnes River in the Oswatomie, Kansas area. Essays describing other regional drainage divide areas can be found under Marais des Cygnes River and Kansas River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively present evidence for immense south-oriented floods, derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, which flowed into and across Kansas. Flood waters were captured in sequence from south to north by headward erosion of deep valleys which eroded headward from major east- and southeast-oriented Mississippi River tributary valleys. These major Mississippi River tributary valleys included the Arkansas River valley south of the figure 1 map area and the Missouri River valley seen in figure 1. Prior to headward erosion of the Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys flood waters flowed south across Kansas to what was then the newly eroded Arkansas River valley and its actively eroding tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Arkansas River tributary valleys and diverted flood waters more directly to the Mississippi River valley. The Marais des Cygnes River valley eroded headward into the figure 1 map area first from what were then newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys east of the figure 1 map area to capture south-oriented flood flow and to divert flood waters to the newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys. After the Missouri River valley had eroded headward to the Kansas City area the Kansas River valley then eroded headward into Kansas and beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the what was then the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley and its actively eroding tributary valleys. Topographic maps below illustrate evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation.

Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 2 provides a somewhat more detailed location map for the Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area in Johnson and Miami Counties, Kansas. Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Douglas, Johnson, Franklin, and Miami are Kansas county names and the county boundaries are shown. Jackson and Cass are Missouri county names. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 2 north edge to Kansas City (and forms the Kansas-Missouri border) and then meanders in an east direction to the figure 2 northeast corner area. The Kansas River flows in an east direction from the figure 2 west edge along the Douglas and Johnson County north borders to join the Missouri River at Kansas City. The Marais des Cygnes River flows in an east direction from the figure 2 west border to Ottawa in Franklin County and then flows in a southeast direction to Osawatomie in Miami County and then to the figure 2 south center edge. Major north-oriented Kansas River tributaries in Johnson County include Kill Creek in the Johnson County western area and Mill Creek north of Olathe. Note how Kansas River tributaries in Johnson County tend to be north or north-northwest oriented. The tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow channels when headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels which had been moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. East and northeast oriented drainage routes in southeast Johnson County flow to the north-oriented Blue River, which joins the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri. Major tributaries north of the Marais des Cygnes River in Johnson and Miami Counties include southwest-oriented Tenmile Creek and North Wea Creek. Note south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributaries south of southwest-oriented South Wea Creek. Headward erosion of the deep Marias des Cygnes River valley captured south-oriented flood flow in Miami County prior to headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley along the Johnson County north edge. Headward erosion of the southwest-oriented South Wea Creek valley (and tributary valleys) beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to actively eroding south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow on the Blue River alignment and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north oriented Blue River valley. Headward erosion of east and northeast oriented Blue River tributary valleys then beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded North Wea Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley from the newly eroded Missouri River valley next beheaded south oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys. 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-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide.

Spoon Creek-Martin Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Spoon Creek-Martin Creek drainage divide area west of Olathe, Kansas. Olathe is the city located in the figure 3 northeast corner. Edgerton is the town located in the figure 3 southwest quadrant and Gardner is the town located near the figure 3 center. Spring Hill is the town located along the figure 3 south edge near the southeast corner. The east-oriented stream flowing through Edgerton is Martin Creek. Bull Creek is the south-oriented stream east of Edgerton and flowing to the figure 3 south edge. South of figure 3 Bull Creek flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. Spring Creek is the southwest-oriented stream near Spring Hill and joins south-southeast oriented Little Bull Creek near the figure 3 south edge. South of the figure 3 map area Little Bull Creek joins Bull Creek, which flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. From west to east the named north-oriented streams flowing to the figure 3 north edge and to the Kansas River (north of the figure 3 map area) are Captain Creek, Spoon Creek, Kill Creek (a Spoon Creek tributary), and Cedar Creek (in the figure 3 northeast quadrant). Note how these Kansas River tributaries are north or north-northwest oriented. Also note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys with the south-oriented Bull Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys are best seen on more detailed topographic maps and figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Spoon Creek-Bull Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate through valleys there. The through valleys while not deep are water eroded features and provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large quantities of flood water to what was then the actively eroding Bull Creek valley and tributary valleys. The Bull Creek valley and tributary valleys had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley, which had eroded headward from what were then newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys. Headward erosion of the east oriented Kansas River (north of the figure 3 map area) from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River at Kansas City beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction and eroded north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys and created the Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Spoon Creek-Bull Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Spoon Creek-Bull 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 Spoon Creek-Bull Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Spoon Creek is the north-oriented stream in section 18 near the figure 4 north center edge and flows to the east-oriented Kansas River north of the figure 4 map area. The north-oriented stream in the figure 4 northwest corner area is a tributary to north-oriented Captain Creek, which also flows to the Kansas River. North-oriented drainage in the figure 4 northeast corner area flows to north-northwest oriented Kill Creek, which flows to north-oriented Spoon Creek north of the figure 4 map area. The south-oriented drainage in section 29 is the headwaters of south-oriented Bull Creek, which south of the figure 4 map area flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. South-oriented streams in the figure 4 southwest corner area flow to east-oriented Martins Creek, which south of the figure 4 map area flows to south-oriented Bull Creek. Note the through valley in the section 19 southeast corner area linking the north-oriented Spoon Creek valley with the south-oriented Bull Creek valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 1040 and 1050 feet and hills on either side rise to at least 1080 feet. While not deep the through valley is a water eroded feature and provides evidence of a south-oriented flood flow channel that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley north of the figure 4 map area. At that time flood water flowed south on the Spoon Creek alignment in a channel with a floor at least as high as the present day Spoon Creek-Bull Creek drainage divide elevation. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channel and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Spoon Creek valley. Other through valleys can be seen in the figure 4 map area. For example in section 21 a northeast-southwest oriented through valley of similar depth links the north-oriented Kill Creek headwaters valley with the south-oriented Bull Creek valley. Several shallower north-south oriented through valleys also cross the hills north of the Bull Creek headwaters in sections 20 and 21. These shallower through valleys provide evidence flood waters originally flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 4 elevations today and provide clues as to the amount of flood erosion which occurred as the Kansas River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide was created by headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Kansas River valley.

Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide area north and east of the figure 3 map area. Shawnee, Merriam, Lenexa, and Overland Park are suburban areas along the west edge of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Kansas River meanders in an east-northeast direction from the figure 5 west edge to the figure 5 north center edge area and then crosses the figure 5 north edge. Cedar Creek is the north-northwest oriented Kansas River tributary in the figure 5 southwest quadrant. Mill Creek is the north-oriented Kansas River tributary flowing from the figure 5 south center edge area to join the Kansas River in the figure 5 north center area. Little Mill Creek is the north and west-northwest oriented Mill Creek tributary flowing from the Lenexa area to join Mill Creek near Zarah in the figure 5 north center area. Lake Quivira north of Little Mill Creek is a reservoir flooding the valleys of a northwest-oriented stream and a north-northwest oriented stream, which join to flow to the northeast-oriented Kansas River as a barbed tributary. Another northwest-oriented stream (or barbed tributary) is located between Lake Quivira and Mill Creek. The barbed tributaries and other north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on the north and northwest ends of south and southeast oriented flood flow channels beheaded by headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley. Prior to headward erosion of the Kansas River valley multiple south and southeast oriented flood flow channels crossed the figure 5 map area, probably in the form of a south or southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex. Flood waters were moving to what were then actively eroding south oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys, although just before Kansas River valley headward erosion flood waters were captured south of the figure 5 map area by east- and northeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly reversed flood flow channel on what is now the north-oriented Blue River valley east of the figure 5 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley across the figure 5 map area beheaded the south and southeast oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the north- and northwest-oriented (barbed) Kansas River tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 6 provides a more detailed map of the Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. The Kansas River is located near the north edge in the figure 6 northwest quadrant. Little Mill Creek flows in a west-northwest direction from the figure 6 south center edge area to join north-oriented Mill Creek which is located along the figure 6 west edge. Note the northwest and north-northwest oriented streams joining at Lake Quivira (spelled quivers on this map) and also the north-northwest oriented stream joining Mill Creek near Holliday (just before Mill Creek enters the Kansas River). Figure 6 evidence reveals shallow north-south oriented through valleys crossing the drainage divide between the north-northwest oriented Kansas River tributary valleys and the west-northwest oriented Little Mill Creek valley. For example east of the large highway clover leaf (in the figure 6 southwest quadrant) shallow north-south oriented through valleys link the valley of the north-northwest oriented Kansas River tributary flowing to Holliday with the Little Mill Creek valley. These through valleys are crossed by the east-oriented divided highway and are defined by two ten foot contour lines on each side. Continuing east there are similar north-south oriented through valleys linking headwaters of the north-oriented streams flowing to Lake Quivira with Little Mill Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys are shallow and the urban area obscures some evidence, but the through valleys provide evidence of multiple south and southeast oriented flood flow channels which once crossed the figure 6 map area. At that time the deep Kansas River valley did not exist and flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day Kansas River-Little Mill Creek drainage divide today. The Little Mill Creek valley may have originated as a south-oriented flood flow channel which eroded west-northwest to capture other south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Because flood flow channels were beheaded one at a time and because flood flow channels were interconnected reversed flood flow in a newly beheaded flood flow channel could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. Figure 6a below shows how the Mill Creek valley alignment was used by such captured flood water moving east to the northeast and north-oriented Turkey Creek valley east of the figure 6 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow on the Mill Creek alignment, which reversed flood flow in both on the Little Mill Creek and the Mill Creek alignments to create the north-oriented Mill Creek drainage basin, west-northwest oriented Little Mill Creek valley, and also created the Turkey Creek-Little Mill Creek drainage divide.

Figure 6a: Little Mill Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area (note the through valleys linking the Little Mill Creek valley with the Turkey Creek valley (for example see sections 26 and 27). United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Indian Creek-Wolf Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Indian Creek-Wolf Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area. Mill Creek flows north from Olathe to the figure 7 north edge. Cedar Creek is the north-northeast and northwest oriented stream in the figure 7 west center edge area. Little Cedar Creek flows in a northwest direction from Olathe to the figure 7 northwest corner area. North of the figure 7 map area Little Cedar Creek joins Cedar Creek and Cedar Creek and Mill Creek both flow to the Kansas River. Indian Creek flows in a northeast direction from the east edge of Olathe to the figure 7 north edge. Tomahawk Creek is the northeast-oriented stream south and east of Indian Creek and which flows to the figure 7 north edge (near the northeast corner). The Blue River flows in a north-northeast direction from the Johnson County-Jackson County-Cass County common corner near the figure 7 east center edge to the figure 7 east edge. North and east of the figure 7 map area the Blue River flows in a north-northeast and north direction to join the Missouri River. Also north and east of the figure 7 map area Tomahawk Creek joins Indian Creek which then flows to join the Blue River. Wolf Creek is the east-oriented stream in the figure 7 south center edge area which turns to flow in a northeast direction to the Blue River. Coffee Creek is the east-northeast and east-southeast oriented Wolf Creek tributary in the figure 7 south center area. Negro Creek is the east-oriented Blue River tributary in the figure 7 east center area. Note southeast-oriented tributaries to Indian Creek, Tomahawk Creek, and Wolf Creek and also north- and north-northwest oriented tributary valleys. A close look at the figure 7 map area also reveals shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys across drainage divides. For example note multiple through valleys crossing the Tomahawk Creek-Negro Creek drainage divide. The southeast-northwest oriented tributary valleys and the through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels beheaded by headward erosion in sequence of the Wolf Creek, Negro Creek, Tomahawk Creek, and Indian Creek valleys from what was probably a reversed flood flow route on the Blue River alignment. Headward erosion of the Wolf Creek valley captured the flood flow first. Coffee Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Wolf Creek valley as did Negro Creek valley headward erosion. Next headward erosion of the Tomahawk Creek valley beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Negro Creek valley and then Indian Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Tomahawk Creek valley.

Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 illustrates the Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area in west-central Miami County and south of the figure 3 map area. Paola is the town located in the figure 8 east center area and Osawatomie is the town straddling the figure 8 south center edge. The Marais des Cygnes River meanders in a southeast direction from the figure 8 west center edge to the figure 8 south center edge near Oswatomie. Bull Creek is the south oriented stream flowing from the figure 8 north edge to Paola and then to the figure 8 south edge. South Wea Creek is the southwest oriented Bull Creek tributary in the figure 8 east center edge area and Dorsey Creek is the south oriented South Wea Creek tributary flowing from the figure 8 northeast corner. Belt Creek is the southeast-oriented tributary joining Bull Creek at Paola. Turkey Creek is the north, west-northwest, and south oriented stream in the figure 8 northwest quadrant and flowing south along the figure 8 west edge. Note how Turkey Creek has northwest-oriented tributaries in addition to its northwest-oriented headwaters. The northwest-oriented Turkey Creek headwaters and tributaries provide evidence headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Turkey Creek valley from what was then the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley beheaded multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels. A shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valley links the northwest-oriented Turkey Creek headwaters with the southeast-oriented Belt Creek tributary valley (figure 9 below provides a detailed map of the Turkey Creek-Belt Creek tributary through valley area. Figure 8 evidence suggests headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley captured south- and southeast-oriented flood flow in the figure 8 map area first. Headward erosion of south-oriented tributary valleys then proceeded from east to west. Bull Creek valley headward erosion captured southeast-oriented flood flow north of the actively eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley and southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Bull Creek valley. Headward erosion of the south-oriented Turkey Creek valley followed next and beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what were then the southeast-oriented Bull Creek tributary valleys (e.g. Belt Creek). Flood waters on northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Turkey Creek tributary and headwaters valleys.

Detailed map of Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: Detailed map of Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 provides a detailed map of the Turkey Creek-Belt Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 8 above to better illustrate through valleys linking the northwest oriented Turkey Creek valley with the southeast oriented Belt Creek valley. Turkey Creek is the north and northwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 9 northwest corner. Belt Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 9 northeast corner and has a significant southeast oriented tributary originating in section 33 and flowing to the figure 9 east edge (and joining Belt Creek east of the figure 9 map area). Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley in section 33 linking the northwest oriented Turkey Creek valley with the southeastoriented Belt Creek tributary valley. The through valley floor elevation is between 1060 and 1070 feet and hills to the north rise to over 1100 feet while hills to the south rise even higher (to over 1140 feet). The through valley depth is between 30-50 feet deep, which is significant enough to provide evidence of a southeast oriented flood flow channel beheaded and reversed by headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Turkey Creek valley east of the figure 9 map area. While through valleys are not apparent the southeast- and south-oriented Plum Creek valley in the figure 9 south center area is aligned with a northwest- and north-oriented Turkey Creek tributary valley in section 5. Between the two valleys is a hill with elevations rising to over 1140 feet. The hill is one of the highest points in the figure 9 map area. The alignment of the two opposing valleys suggests flood water flowed over the hill to what was then the actively eroding Plum Creek valley. At that time the deep Turkey Creek valley and tributary valleys north and west of the hill did not exist and flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the hill-top elevation today. Headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley south of the figure 9 map area, the south oriented valley in section 8, the southeast oriented Belt Creek tributary valley, the Turkey Creek valley, and north oriented Turkey Creek tributary valley were then responsible for eroding the region surrounding the hill. If correct this interpretation implies significant flood erosion of the figure 9 map area.


South Wea Creek-Middle Creek drainage Divide area

Figure 10: South Wea Creek-Middle Creek drainage Divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates the South Wea Creek-Middle Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 8 map area. Paola is the town straddling the figure 10 west edge. Louisburg is the town located near the figure 10 north edge (east half). The southeast and south-southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River makes a meander to the northeast before turning to flow in a south direction in the figure 10 southwest corner. Bull Creek flows south from the figure 10 west edge near Paola to the Marais des Cygnes River in the figure 10 southwest corner area. South Wea Creek is the southwest-oriented Bull tributary flowing from the figure 10 north edge (just west of Louisburg) to join Bull Creek near Paola. Note northwest-oriented South Wea Creek tributaries. Middle Creek flows in a west-southwest and then south direction to the figure 10 south center edge. Note south-oriented Middle Creek tributaries. South of the figure 10 map area Middle Creek flows in a south direction to join the south-southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River. Close study of the figure 10 map area reveals shallow through valleys linking the northwest oriented South Wea Creek tributary valleys with the south-oriented Middle Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys and the tributary orientations provide evidence headward erosion of the southwest-oriented South Wea Creek valley beheaded multiple southeast and/or south oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Middle Creek valley. The Middle Creek valley eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River valley head located south of the figure 10 map area. Headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley, Bull Creek valley, and South Wea Creek valley then beheaded flood flow routes to the actively eroding south-oriented Middle Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow in a northwest direction to the newly eroded South Wea Creek valley. The reversed flood flow eroded the northwest-oriented South Wea Creek tributary valleys and created the South Wea Creek-Middle Creek drainage divide.


Additional information and sources of maps

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

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