Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, Kansas is actually three major west to east oriented drainage divides. The northern drainage divide is between the east-oriented Kansas River and east-oriented Wakarusa River, which is a Kansas River tributary. South of the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide is the Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes drainage divide and further south is the Marais des Cygnes River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide. Pottawatomie Creek is a Marias des Cygnes River tributary and the Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide separates the Kansas River drainage basin from the Osage River drainage basin. All drainage divides were eroded by massive south-oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River-Pottawatomie Creek valley first captured south-oriented flood waters, which had been flowing to what at that time were newly eroded Arkansas and Neosho River valleys. Next Marais des Cygnes River valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Wakarusa River valley from what at that time was the actively eroding Kansas River valley next beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley. Finally Kansas River valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley. Evidence for this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of the major east-oriented valleys and their tributary valleys and north-south oriented through valleys eroded across the major 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 Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson 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 Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Kansas River-Pottawatomie 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-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, Kansas location map and illustrates an area in east central Kansas with a region in west-central Missouri located east of Kansas. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from Atchison (near the figure 1 north edge) to Kansas City and then flows in an east direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Missouri River flows to the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Kansas River flows from Junction City, Kansas (near the figure 1 west edge) to Manhattan, Topeka, and Lawrence, Kansas before joining the Missouri River at Kansas City. The Wakurusa River is the unlabeled east-oriented Kansas River tributary located south of Topeka and Lawrence and which joins the Kansas River near Eudora. The Neosho River originates near White City (near the figure 1 west center edge) and flows in a southeast direction to Emporia, John Redmond Reservoir, Iola, and the figure 1 south center edge. South of the figure 1 map area the Neosho River flows to the southeast and east oriented Arkansas River, which flows directly to the south-oriented Mississippi River. Between the Kansas River and Neosho River is the southeast, east-northeast, and southeast oriented Marias des Cygnes River, which east of the figure 1 map area joins the northeast-oriented Osage River, which joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City, Missouri. Pottawatomie Creek is the unlabeled tributary south of the Marais des Cygnes River originating east of Waverly, Kansas and flowing in a southeast and northeast direction to join the Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie, Kansas. The Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties is actually several drainage divides and extends south from the Lawrence, Kansas area to the Garnett, Kansas area. The northernmost drainage divide is between the Kansas River and the Wakarusa River. Next is the drainage divide between the Wakarusa River and the Marais des Cygnes River and finally is the drainage divide between the Marais des Cygnes River and Pottawatomie Creek. More detailed maps show below indicated additional drainage divides, which are illustrated as encountered. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively provide evidence for immense south-oriented floods which flowed from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet into and across Kansas. The flood waters were then captured by headward erosion of deep east-oriented valleys in sequence from the south to the north, which diverted the flood waters to the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. In the figure 1 map area the deep Arkansas River-Neosho River valley first captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the water south and east to the Mississippi River valley. Next Osage River-Marais des Cygnes River-Pottawatomie Creek valley headward erosion captured the flood flow and diverted flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Marais des Cygnes River valley headward erosion next beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek valley. Next Kansas River-Wakarusa River valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley and diverted flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley at Kansas City. Finally, headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley.

Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek 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 Kansas River-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area in Douglas, Franklin, and Anderson Counties, Kansas. Shawnee, Douglas, Johnson, Osage, Franklin, Miami, Coffey, Anderson, and Linn are Kansas county names and the county borders are shown. The Missouri state line is located along the eastern borders of Johnson, Miami, and Linn Counties. The Kansas River flows near the figure 2 north edge from the northwest corner to Topeka and Lawrence before joining the Missouri River at Kansas City. The east-oriented Wakarusa River flows across southern Shawnee County and into central Douglas County before joining the Kansas River near Eudora (near the Douglas-Johnson County border). The Marais des Cygnes River flows in an east-northeast direction from Melverne Lake (reservoir) in southern Osage County to Ottawa in Franklin County and then flows in a southeast direction to Osawatomie in Miami County and to the figure 2 south edge. Middle Creek is the east-oriented and northeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary located south of Ottawa in southern Franklin County (figure 8 below names the east-oriented segment as Payne Creek). Pottawatomie Creek originates as a south-southeast oriented stream in northeast Coffey County and when entering Anderson County turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie in Miami County. Maps in this essay begin in the north and first illustrate the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area near Lawrence in Douglas County. Proceeding south the maps then illustrate the Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area north of Ottawa in Franklin County. Continuing south the Marais des Cygnes River-Middle Creek drainage divide area is illustrated next. Finally the maps illustrate the Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area. Evidence illustrated in the maps documents that headward erosion of the Pottawatomie Creek valley first captured significant south-oriented flood flow, headward erosion of the Middle Creek valley next beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek valley. Map evidence further documents headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Middle Creek valley. Flood flow to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley was next beheaded by headward erosion of the east-oriented Wakarusa River valley and finally headward erosion of the east-oriented Kansas River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley. Evidence presented includes multiple north-south oriented through valleys crossing the present day east-west oriented drainage divides.

Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area

Figure 3: Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area west of Lawrence, Kansas. Lawrence is the city straddling the figure 3 east edge. The Kansas River flows in an east-southeast direction in the figure 3 northeast quadrant and is located just north of the figure 3 northwest quadrant. Clinton Lake in the figure 3 south center area is a reservoir flooding the Wakarusa River valley. The Wakarusa River flows in an east direction from the dam in the figure 3 southeast quadrant and the flooded Wakarusa River valley is located just south of the figure 3 southwest corner. Deer Creek is the Wakarusa River tributary with the flooded southeast-oriented valley. Big Springs is a small town located in the figure 3 northwest quadrant. A north-oriented Kansas River tributary originates near Big Springs and a southeast-oriented Deer Creek tributary also originates in the same region. Note how the north-oriented Kansas River tributary valley is linked by a through valley with the south-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley. Close study of the figure 3 map area reveals additional shallow north-south oriented through valleys crossing the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide. The through valleys are best seen on more detailed topographic maps and figure 4 below provides a more detailed map of the drainage divide in the city of Lawrence. While they are subtle features today the through valleys were eroded by drainage routes that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep east-southeast oriented Kansas River valley. The multiple through valleys suggests the presence of a south-oriented flood formed anastomosing channel complex moving water to what at that time was the actively eroding Wakarusa River valley. At that time the 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-Wakarusa River drainage divide. Headward erosion of the deep east-southeast oriented Kansas River valley then captured the south-oriented flood flow channels one channel at a time from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Kansas River valley, to erode the 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

Figure 4: Detailed map of Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide area at Lawrence, Kansas seen in less detail in figure 3 above. The east-oriented Kansas River is located in the figure 4 northeast quadrant and is located north of the figure 4 northwest quadrant. The Wakarusa River can be seen meandering in the figure 4 southwest corner and continues in an east direction south of the figure 4 map area. Yankee Tank Creek is the south and southeast oriented Wakarusa River tributary located in the figure 4 southwest quadrant. Close study of the figure 4 map area reveals several north-south oriented through valleys crossing the west to east oriented Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide. One such north-south oriented through valley is used by the north oriented railroad line located east of the Haskell Institute (in section 7 in the figure 4 southeast quadrant). Other north-south oriented through valleys are located just west of the Haskell Institute in section 7 and also in section 12. Continuing further west south-oriented Yankee Tank Creek tributaries and headwaters are linked by shallow through valleys (some defined by only a single contour line) with north oriented Kansas River tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels, which moved large volumes of flood water across the figure 4 map area to what was then the newly eroded east-oriented Wakarusa River valley. Flood waters eroded the south-oriented Yankee Tank Creek tributary and headwaters valleys north (and also other south-oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys) before headward erosion of the deep Kansas River valley 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 flow north to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Because flood flow routes were beheaded in sequence from east to west and because flood flow routes were interconnected, flood waters on a newly reversed flood flow route could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from flood flow routes further to the west. With the aid of such captured flood water the reversed flood flow routes were able to erode significant north-oriented Kansas River tributary valleys and to create the Kansas River-Wakarusa River drainage divide.

Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area

Figure 5: Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River 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 Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area. Baldwin City is the town south and east of the figure 5 center area and Wellsville is the smaller town in the figure 5 southeast corner. The east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River is located south of the figure 5 map area and south oriented streams flowing to the figure 5 south edge are Marais des Cygnes River tributaries. The east-oriented Wakarusa River is located north of the figure 5 map area and north and northeast oriented streams flowing to the figure 5 north edge are Wakarusa River tributaries. The northeast-oriented stream in the figure 5 east center area and flowing to the figure 5 east edge (north half) is a Kansas River tributary (it joins the Kansas River downstream from where the Wakarusa River joins the Kansas River). Rock Creek is the northeast-oriented Wakarusa River tributary with a flooded valley in the figure 5 northwest corner. Washington Creek is the northeast-oriented Wakarusa River tributary located in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. Coal Creek is the north-northwest and north oriented Wakarusa River tributary north of Baldwin City. Figure 5 shows a south sloping erosion surface draining to the Marais des Cygnes River and a rather abrupt north-facing escarpment marking the boundary of the north-oriented Wakarusa River tributary drainage basins. A close look at the escarpment edge reveals through valleys linking the south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys with the north- and northeast-oriented Wakarusa River tributary valleys. Figure 5 map evidence suggests the south-oriented erosion surface was formed by flood waters flowing to what was then the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Wakarusa River valley (and the east-oriented Kansas River valley). At that time the erosion surface continued to the north and was at least as high as the present day Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide and probably higher. Headward erosion of the deep Kansas River and its tributary Wakarusa River valley (and perhaps their northeast-oriented tributary valleys) beheaded the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley. The northeast-facing escarpment face north of Baldwin City map may have been eroded by captured flood flow (from west of the actively eroding Wakarusa River valley head) which flowed across the figure 5 center area to what was then newly reversed flow on the Coal Creek alignment. Headward erosion of the south-oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary valleys beheaded flow routes to the newly eroded Coal Creek valley at about the same time headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Washington Creek valley beheaded and reversed the southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters on northwest ends of the beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-northwest oriented Washington Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Washington-Eightmile Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Washington Creek-Eightmile Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Eightmile Creek is the southeast-oriented stream in section 2 near the figure 6 south edge. Other south-oriented streams flowing to the figure 6 south edge are Eightmile Creek tributaries. South of the figure 6 map area Eightmile Creek flows to the Cygnes des Marais River. The east-southeast-oriented stream in the figure 6 east center area flows to south-southeast oriented Tauy Creek, which flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. Washington Creek is the north-northeast oriented stream in the figure 6 northwest corner. Lone Star Lake (the reservoir in the Washington Creek valley seen in figure 5) is north of the figure 6 northwest quadrant and other north-oriented streams flowing to the figure 6 north edge are Washington Creek tributaries. North of the figure 6 map area Washington Creek flows to the east-oriented Wakarusa River. Note how north-oriented Washington Creek tributary valleys are linked by through valleys with south oriented Eightmile Creek headwaters and tributary valleys and also with the east-southeast oriented Tauy Creek tributary valley. The deepest through valley is located in the south half of section 25 and is at least 50 feet deep (the map contour interval is 10 feet). Other through valleys (in sections 26 and 27 and 30 for example) are shallower and are sometimes defined by only a single contour line on each side. The through valleys are water eroded features and provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes prior to headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Washington Creek valley. Flood waters were primarily going to the newly eroded east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley south of the figure 6 map area, although for a time before headward erosion of the deep Tauy Creek tributary valley some of the flood water may have been moving east to what was at that time the newly reversed flood flow route on the Coal Creek alignment, which had been reversed by headward erosion of the deep Wakarusa River valley to the north and east of figure 6. Headward erosion of the deep Washington Creek valley (from the actively eroding Wakarusa River valley) then beheaded the south-and southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 6 map area. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north- and northwest-oriented Washington Creek tributary valleys and to create the Washington Creek-Eightmile Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Coal Creek-Middle Fork Tauy Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Detailed map of Coal Creek-Middle Fork Tauy 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 Coal Creek-Middle Fork Tauy Creek drainage divide area near Baldwin City seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Baldwin City is the town located near the figure 7 south edge. Douglas Lake is the reservoir shown in the figure 7 east half. Coal Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream draining to the figure 7 north edge from Douglas Lake. The northeast-oriented stream in section 28 (in the figure 7 north center area) is a Coal Creek tributary. North of the figure 7 map area Coal Creek flows to the east-oriented Wakarusa River. The south-southwest oriented stream in section 32 flowing to the figure 7 south edge (west half) is the Middle Fork Tauy Creek. The south-oriented stream at Baldwin City is the East Fork Tauy Creek. South of the figure 7 map area Tauy Creek flows to the east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River. Note how the south-oriented Tauy Creek tributary valleys are linked by through valleys with north-oriented Coal Creek tributary valleys. The deepest through valley is located in section 29 and links the south-southwest oriented Middle Fork Tauy Creek valley with the northeast-oriented Coal Creek tributary. The floor of the section 29 through valley is approximately 100 feet lower than the tops of hills of both sides. Other through valleys can be seen northeast of Baldwin City in the section 34 area linking the East Fork Tauy Creek valley with the north-northwest oriented Coal Creek valley. The section 34 through valleys are somewhat more complex, and based on the figure 7 evidence are shallower-at least on the east side. In addition to through valleys crossing the Coal Creek-Tauy Creek drainage divide (Wakarusa River-Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide) note northwest-southeast oriented through valleys west of Baldwin City linking the Middle Fork Tauy Creek valley with the East Fork Tauy Creek valley. Those northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes that moved yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow from west of the actively eroding east-oriented Wakarusa River valley head to the newly reversed flood flow route on the Coal Creek alignment, which was moving flood water to what was then the newly eroded Wakarusa River valley east of the actively eroding Wakarusa River valley head. Not all of the captured southeast-oriented flood flow went north to the actively eroding Coal Creek valley. Some of the flood flow went south to the actively eroding East Fork Tauy Creek valley. Headward erosion of the East Fork Tauy Creek valley ultimately captured the southeast-oriented flood flow in the Baldwin City area and headward erosion of the Middle Fork Tauy Creek beheaded the flood flow routes to the newly eroded East Fork Tauy Creek valley.

Marais des Cygnes River-Payne-Middle Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 8 illustrates the Marais des Cygnes River-Payne Creek-Middle Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area. Ottawa is the city located in the figure 8 north center edge area. The Marais des Cygnes River flows in an east direction from the figure 8 west edge (north half) to Ottawa and then flows in an east-southeast direction to the figure 8 east edge. Rock Creek is the north-northeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River tributary at Ottawa. Note how Rock Creek headwaters are oriented in a southeast direction. Princeton is the small town located near the figure 8 south center edge. Middle Creek flows in a north and northeast direction from the figure 8 south center edge (just east of Princeton) to join the Marais des Cygnes River near the figure 8 east edge. Payne Creek is the southeast and east oriented stream joining Middle Creek just south of the figure 8 south center edge. Note how the north-northeast oriented Rock Creek valley is linked by shallow through valleys with the northeast-oriented Middle Creek valley. Also note northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the north-northeast oriented Rock Creek valley with the Marais des Cygnes valley further to the northwest. The through valleys and southeast-oriented Rock Creek headwaters and Payne Creek segment provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Marais des Cygnes valley. The northeast-oriented Middle Creek valley eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River valley head near the figure 8 east edge to capture multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes. As the deep Marasis des Cygnes River valley head eroded headward to the Ottawa area there was a reversal of flood flow on the Rock Creek alignment, which captured southeast-oriented flood flow from the northwest and beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded northeast-oriented Middle Creek valley. Continued headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley then beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly reversed and eroded Rock Creek valley and also to what was the actively eroding Payne Creek valley. This interpretation implies flood waters originally were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 8 elevations and that flood water erosion lowered the figure 8 map area topography to create the topographic surface seen today.

Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 8 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Princeton is the small town located in the figure 9 north center edge area. Greeley is the town located near the figure 9 southeast corner and Richmond is the town located south of the figure 9 center area. Middle Creek is the north and north-northeast oriented stream flowing from near Richmond to the figure 9 north edge (just east of Princeton). Payne Creek is the southeast and east oriented tributary joining Middle Creek near Princeton. Pottawatomie Creek flows in an east direction near the figure 9 south center edge area and then in a northeast direction to the figure 9 east edge (north half). North and east of the figure 9 map area Pottawatomie Creek joins the east and southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River. Iantha Creek is the southeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary in the figure 9 southwest quadrant and Sac Creek is the southeast-oriented tributary (with an old channel) flowing from the figure 9 west edge (north half) and located northeast from Iantha Creek. Note how the north-oriented Middle Creek valley near Richmond is linked by a north-south oriented through valley with a south-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. The through valley floor at Richmond is less than 310 meters (the map contour interval is ten meters and TOPO maps at this scale use the metric system while contour intervals on more detailed maps are in feet). The hill west of Richmond is at least 330 meters high. Hills east of the south-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary east of Richmond rise to over 320 meters and east of the Pottawatomie Creek valley the hills rise even higher. While not deep the north-south oriented Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek through valley is broad and provides evidence of a major south oriented flood flow route prior to headward erosion of the east oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 9 map area. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley (and its northeast-oriented Middle Creek valley segment) beheaded south-oriented flood flow which was flowing to what was then the newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River valley head. Flood waters on the north end of the newly beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Middle Creek valley segment.

Detailed map of Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Middle Creek-Pottawatomie 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 Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area near Richmond, Kansas which was seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Richmond is the town located in the figure 10 southwest quadrant. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 south edge are Pottawatomie Creek tributaries. The north-oriented streams in the figure 10 northwest quadrant are Middle Creek headwaters. The hills west of Richmond rise to elevations of at least 1070 feet (the figure 10 map contour interval is ten feet) and the hill in section 15 near the figure 10 east edge rises to at least 1060 feet. Between the two hills the drainage divide elevations are generally in the 1020 to 1030 foot range with some areas in the 1030 to 1040 foot range. The sections are one mile square and the distance between the two hills is more than three miles. Use of bigger area maps reveals the north-south oriented through valley is even deeper and broader, however based on the figure 10 evidence alone the through valley is a significant water eroded landscape feature, which was formed before headward erosion of the deep east oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 10 map area. Flood waters moved south across the entire figure 10 map area and were captured by headward erosion of the east and northeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley, which eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding Marais des Cygnes River valley head. Prior to Pottawatomie Creek valley headward erosion flood waters had probably been flowing to the south-oriented Neosho River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Arkansas River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley and its tributary northeast-oriented Middle Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow moving across the figure 10 map area. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley. The flood flow reversal eroded the north-oriented Middle Creek valley and created the Middle Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide (which is also the Marais des Cygnes River-Pottawatomie 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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