Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area area landform origins in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri is also the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. The Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties area was crossed by immense south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Flood waters were captured by headward erosion of south-oriented tributary valleys from what was then the newly eroded south-southwest oriented Spring River valley, which eroded headward from what were then newly eroded Neosho River and Arkansas River valleys. Headward erosion of the east and north-northeast oriented Marmaton River valley from what were then newly eroded Little Osage River, Osage River, and Missouri River valleys next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to actively eroding south-oriented Spring River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Marmaton River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Little Osage River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Marmaton River valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of major and tributary valleys and 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 Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area landform origins in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri, USA. Map interpretation methods can be used to unravel many geomorphic events leading up to formation of present-day drainage routes and development of other landform features. While each detailed topographic map feature provides detailed evidence to be explained, the solution must be consistent with explanations for adjacent area map evidence as well as solutions to big picture map evidence puzzles. I invite readers to improve upon my solutions and/or to propose alternate solutions that better explain evidence and are also consistent with adjacent map area and big picture evidence. Readers may do so either by making comments here or by writing and publishing their own essays and then by leaving a link to those essays in a comment here.
  • This essay is also exploring a new geomorphology paradigm in which erosional landforms are interpreted as evidence left by immense glacial melt water floods. Implied in that interpretation is the immense floods were derived from a thick North American ice sheet that created a deep “hole” in the North American continent and also melted fast. The previously unexplored paradigm being tested in this and other 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 Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area location map (select and click on maps to enlarge). National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 1 provides a Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri location map. Figure 1 shows a regions in southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma, and northwest Arkansas. Springfield is a city in southwest Missouri, Chanute is a city in southeast Kansas, Tulsa is a city in northeast Oklahoma, and Fayetteville is a city in northwest Arkansas. The Arkansas River flows in a southeast direction through Tulsa in the figure 1 southwest corner and south and east of the figure 1 map area flows to the south-oriented Mississippi River (located east of figure 1). The Neosho River is a major Arkansas River tributary and flows in a south-southeast and south-southwest direction from Lake Redmond Reservoir (near the figure 1 northwest corner) to join the Arkansas River just south of the figure 1 south edge. Spring River is shown, but not labeled on figure 1 and flows through Carthage, Missouri and north of Joplin before flowing across the Kansas southeast corner and joining the Neosho River a short distance downstream from Miami, Oklahoma. The Osage River flows from Harry S. Truman Reservoir (near the figure 1 north edge south of Clinton, Missouri) to the figure 1 northeast corner and north and east of the figure 1 joins the east oriented Missouri River, which flows to the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Little Osage River is also shown, but not labeled on figure 1 and flows in an east direction through Fulton, Kansas (near the Kansas-Missouri border) to Osceola, Missouri (where the Harry S. Truman Reservoir floods the Little Osage River valley). The Marmaton River, which is labeled on figure 1 is an east and northeast-oriented Little Osage River tributary flowing through Fort Scott, Kansas (south of Fulton) to join the Little Osage River near Schell City, Missouri. The Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri is located immediately east of the Kansas-Missouri state line and extends south from the Little Osage River to headwaters of south-oriented Spring River tributaries. The Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide is the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. The Little Osage River-Neosho River drainage divide area in Bourbon and Crawford Counties, Kansas, describes the region located directly west of the Missouri-Kansas state line and can be found under Osage River on the sidebar category list. Collectively the hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays present evidence for immense south-oriented floods which flowed from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and which were captured in sequence (from south to north) by headward erosion of the east-oriented Missouri River valley and its tributary valleys. Prior to Missouri River valley headward erosion flood waters flowed across the figure 1 map area to what were then the newly eroded Arkansas River valley and its actively eroding tributary valleys, including the actively eroding Neosho and Spring River valleys. Headward erosion of the Little Osage River-Marmaton River valley from what were then newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding Spring River valley and tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Little Osage River valley north of the newly eroded Marmaton River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the Marmaton River valley.

Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area detailed location map

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

Figure 2 provides a more detailed location map for the Little Osage River-Spring River drainage divide area in Vernon, Barton, and Jasper Counties, Missouri. Vernon, St Clair, Cedar, Barton, Dade, Jasper, and Lawrence are Missouri county names and county boundaries are shown. Bourbon, Crawford, and Cherokee are Kansas county names and the north-south oriented Kansas-Missouri state line is shown. The est-oriented Little Osage River flows across northern Bourbon County and northern Vernon County where it joins the east and northeast oriented Marmaton River before flowing along the Vernon County north edge and into St Clair County. In St Clair County the Little Osage River is joined by the southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River to form the east-oriented Osage River. A major northeast-oriented Osage River tributary in Vernon County is Clear Creek and the unlabeled east-oriented Clear Creek tributary in Vernon County is the West Fork Clear Creek. The east-oriented Marmaton River flows across central Bourbon County to Fort Scott and into Vernon County, where near Nevada it turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the Little Osage River. Major north-oriented Marmaton River tributaries in Vernon County include north-oriented Dry Wood Creek and Little Dry Wood Creek. Dry Wood Creek headwaters are located in northwest Barton County and Little Dry Wood Creek headwaters are located in north central Barton County. North-oriented Clear Creek headwaters are located in northeast Barton County. The North Fork Spring River originates in southwest Dade County and flows in a northwest direction to a point north of Lamar in Barton County where it turns to flow in a south direction to the Jasper County line and then turns to flow in a southwest direction to join Spring River in northeast Jasper County. The Spring River originates in southern Lawrence County (just south of the figure 2 map area) and flows in a northwest, west-northwest, and northwest direction to near Galesburg in Jasper County where it turns to flow in a south-southwest direction to join the Neosho River south of the figure 2 map area. The northwest-oriented Spring River and North Fork Spring River valley segments were eroded by reversals of flood flow on northwest ends of beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes. The flood flow routes were beheaded by headward erosion of the south-southwest oriented Spring River valley from what was then the newly eroded south-oriented Neosho River valley. The south- and southwest-oriented North Fork Spring River valley eroded headward from the newly eroded south-southwest oriented Spring River valley. Headward erosion of the Little Osage River-Marmaton River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow along the Little Dry Wood Creek and Dry Wood Creek alignments. Flood waters on north ends of those beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Little Dry Wood Creek and Dry Wood Creek valleys. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Little Osage River valley north of the newly eroded Marmaton River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Marmaton River valley.

Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide area in northwest Vernon County, Missouri. Nevada is the city straddling the south edge in the figure 3 southeast quadrant. Horton is the town located in the figure 5 northeast corner area. Stotesbury is the town located in the figure 3 northwest corner. Richards is the town located in the figure 3 west center area. The Little Osage River can be seen meandering in an east direction along and across the figure 3 north edge. The Marmaton River flows in an east-southeast direction in the figure 3 southwest quadrant and then turns to flow in an east-northeast and north-northeast direction to the figure 3 north edge. North and east of figure 3 the Marmaton River joins the Little Osage River. Twomile Creek is the south, east, and southwest oriented Marmaton tributary originating near the figure 3 center. Christian Creek is the northeast-oriented Little Osage River tributary originating just north of the figure 3 center. Cottonwood Creek is the south and south-southeast oriented Marmaton River located west of Richards. The figure 3 map detail is limited and provides limited information for drainage history analysis. However,  “uplands” in the Richards area reveal the presence of north-south oriented through valleys linking the east-oriented Little Osage River valley in the north with the east-oriented Marmaton River valley in the south. These through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Little Osage River valley. Flood waters were flowing to what was at that time the actively eroding Marmaton River valley. The question might be asked why flood waters were flowing across the uplands near Richards when further east the Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide area is lower. At that time south-oriented flood waters were flowing across the entire figure 3 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today. Flood water erosion produced the landscape seen today, which means flood water erosion lowered the drainage divide east of Richards more than it did in the hilly region around Richards. Headward erosion of the Little Osage River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes across the present day Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide. Figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide near Richards.

Detailed map of Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Little Osage River-Marmaton 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 Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide area near Richards, Missouri which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Richards is the town straddling the figure 4 south edge. The north-south oriented Kansas-Missouri state line is located near the figure 4 west edge. The south-southeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 south center edge is Cottonwood Creek, which south of the figure 4 map area flows to the east-oriented Marmaton River. The southeast-oriented stream in the figure 4 southwest corner is Shiloh Creek, which also flows to the Marmaton River. South-oriented streams at Richards and east of Richards are unnamed south-oriented Marmaton River tributaries. North and northeast oriented streams flowing to the figure 4 north edge are Little Osage River tributaries. Note north-south oriented through valleys linking valleys of north-oriented Little Osage River tributaries with valleys of south-oriented Marmaton River tributaries. The north-south oriented railroad is located in one such through valley north of Richards. Another through valley can be seen in sections 6 and 7 on the Missouri side of the Kansas-Missouri state line. Additional shallower and higher level through valleys can be seen by following the west to east oriented drainage divide across the figure 4 map area. The through valleys are water eroded features and were eroded by south-oriented flood water moving to what was then the actively eroding Marmaton River valley. At that time the Little Osage River valley north of the figure 4 map area did not exist. Flood waters were flowing south on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 4 elevations today and were flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Marmaton River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Little Osage River valley north of the figure 4 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 flow north to the newly eroded Little Osage River valley, to erode north-oriented Little Osage River tributary valleys, and to create the present day Little Osage River-Marmaton River drainage divide.

Little Osage River-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Little Osage River-West Fork Clear 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 Little Osage River-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Nevada is the city straddling the south edge in the figure 5 southwest corner area. Horton is the small town located north of Nevada in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. Walker is the small town located in the figure 5 south center area. Schell City is the town straddling the figure 5 north edge near the figure 5 northeast corner. Flooded areas shown along the figure 5 north edge are high water levels for Harry S. Truman Reservoir, which floods the Little Osage River valley (and the Osage River valley in the figure 5 northeast corner). The Little Osage River is the east-oriented river in the figure 5 northwest corner area flowing to Harry S. Truman Reservoir. The north-northeast oriented river flowing from the figure 5 southwest corner to join the Little Osage River at the Harry S. Truman Reservoir southwest margin is the Marmaton River. The West Fork Clear Creek is the east-oriented stream flowing along the figure 5 south edge and then turning to flow in a northeast direction in the figure 5 southeast corner area. East of figure 5 the West Fork joins Clear Creek, which then flows to the Osage River. Note northwest and north oriented Old Town Branch and other northwest oriented Marmaton River tributaries. The northwest and north oriented Marmaton River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on northwest ends of southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the actively eroding West Fork Clear Creek valley which were beheaded by headward erosion of the north-northeast oriented Marmaton River valley. Also note north-oriented Little Osage River tributaries flowing to the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. Hightower Creek originates just south of the words BLUE MOUND in the figure 5 center area and flows south before making a U-turn to flow north. The south-oriented Hightower Creek valley segment was eroded south-oriented flood flow moving across the top of the Blue Mound hills at a time when flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the top of the Blue Mound hills. South-oriented flood flow routes on either side of the Blue Mound hills eroded much deeper and wider channels leaving an abandoned south-oriented headcut on the south side of the Blue Mound hills. Headward erosion of the deep Little Osage River valley north of the Blue Mound hills then beheaded and reversed flood flow in what had been the adjacent south-oriented flood flow channels. Reversal of flood flow on what is now the north-oriented Hightower Creek valley segment captured south-oriented flow from the abandoned south-oriented Blue Mound headcut. Figure 6 below provides a detailed map of the Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area near Walker.

Detailed map of Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear 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 Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area near Walker, Missouri which was seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Walker is located in the figure 6 northeast quadrant. The Nevada airport can be seen in the figure 6 southwest corner. Old Town Branch originates in section 16 near the figure 6 center and flows west and northwest to the figure 6 west edge (north half). West and north of the figure 6 map area Old Town Branch turns to flow in a north direction to reach the north-northeast oriented Marmaton River, which then flows to the east oriented Little Osage River. The West Fork Clear Creek originates just south of the figure 6 map area (near the Nevada airport) and flows in a north-northeast direction before turning to flow in an east-southeast direction to the figure 6 south edge (east half). East of the figure 6 map area the West Fork Clear Creek turns to flow in a northeast direction to join Clear Creek, which then joins the Osage River. The figure 6 map contour interval is five feet and the hill along the figure 6 north center edge rises to an elevation of at least 950 feet. The low hills south of the West Fork Clear Creek along the figure 6 south edge rise to elevations of at least 870 feet. Elevations in the Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide area in section 21 are between 835 and 840 feet. The lower elevation region between the low hills on either side provides evidence of a water eroded valley. The low southwest-northeast oriented ridge in the section 21 region provides a complicating feature, which I cannot explain from topographic map evidence alone, although I believe the ridge has been eroded by south and southeast oriented flood water flowing across the region. If so the ridge may be composed of more resistant rock, although other explanations are possible. Assuming my interpretation is correct flood waters were moving to what was then the newly eroded east- and northeast-oriented West Fork Clear Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the Marmaton River valley west of the figure 6 map area. Headward erosion of the Marmaton River valley beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north and northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest and west oriented Old Town Branch valley and create the Old Town Branch-West Fork Clear Creek drainage divide.

Dry Wood Creek-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Dry Wood Creek-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide south the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Nevada, Missouri is the town located in the figure 7 northeast corner. Deerfield is the small town located just west of the figure 7 north center edge. Moundville is the small town located south and east of the figure 7 center. Strip mine areas are shown in several figure 7 map locations and suggest the presence of what might be coal seams near the surface. The Maramaton River flows in an east direction just north of the figure 7 map area (see figure 3). The north-northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 7 south edge near the word HARRISON to the figure 7 north center edge is Dry Wood Creek. Note northwest-oriented Dry Wood Creek tributaries from the east. Hackberry Creek is the north and north-northwest oriented tributary originating near Moundville and joining Dry Wood Creek in the figure 7 north center area. Cheney Branch is the north- and northwest-oriented tributary joining Dry Wood Creek west of Moundville. Little Dry Creek is the north-oriented stream in the figure 7 east half flowing from the south edge just east of the word MOUNDVILLE to the north edge just west of Nevada. Note also northwest-oriented Little Dry Wood tributaries from the east. The north-oriented Dry Wood Creek and Little Dry Creek valleys were eroded by reversals of south-oriented flood flow routes beheaded by headward erosion of what was then the deep Marmaton River valley north of the figure 7 map area. South-oriented flood flow on the Little Dry Wood Creek alignment was beheaded and reversed first. The reversal of flow on the Little Dry Wood Creek alignment captured south-oriented flood flow from the yet to be beheaded (and reversed) flood flow moving on the Dry Wood Creek alignment. Captured flood flow moved in a southeast and then east and even northeast direction from the Dry Wood Creek alignment to the reversed flood flow on the Little Dry Wood Creek alignment. Northwest-oriented Dry Wood Creek tributary valleys were eroded by reversals on northwest ends of those captured flood flow routes when headward erosion of the Marmaton River did behead and reverse flood flow on the Dry Wood Creek alignment. Northeast and east oriented Little Dry Wood Creek tributary valleys were eroded by captured flood flow from the Dry Wood Creek alignment moving to the newly reversed Little Dry Wood Creek flow. Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of the Cheney Branch-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide area.

Detailed map of Cheney Branch-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Cheney Branch-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Cheney Branch-Little Dry Wood Creek drainage divide area near Moundville which was seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Moundville is the town straddling the figure 8 north edge in the northeast quadrant. Note how Moundville is located on a low hill which rises 20-30 feet above the surrounding region (the map contour interval is ten feet). Also note the strip mine area south and west from Moundville. The Cheney Branch originates south and west of the strip mine area and flows north and then northwest to the figure 8 west edge (near the northwest corner).  A north-northwest and north-northeast oriented Cheney Branch tributary is located in the figure 8 west center edge area. A northeast and east oriented stream originating in the figure 8 southwest quadrant just south of the Cheney Branch headwaters and flowing to the figure 8 east center edge is a Little Dry Wood Creek tributary. Another Little Dry Wood Creek tributary is located near the figure 8 south edge and flows in an east-northeast, southeast, and east-northeast direction to the figure 8 east edge near the southeast corner. Note west to east oriented through valleys linking the north-northwest and north-northeast oriented Cheney tributary valley in the figure 8 southwest quadrant with two mentioned Little Dry Wood Creek tributary valleys. The southernmost of the two through valleys is defined by at least five 10-foot contour lines on each side and is a water eroded feature. The northern through valley is defined by at least four 10-foot contour lines on each side and is also a water eroded feature. These through valleys were eroded by yet to be beheaded flood flow on the Dry Wood Creek alignment south-oriented flood flow which had been captured by the reversal of flood flow on what was then the newly beheaded flood flow route using the Little Dry Wood Creek alignment. Flood waters moved southeast and south and then turned and flowed in northeast and east directions to what was then the actively eroding north-oriented Little Dry Wood Creek valley. Also note a much broader through valley just south of the strip mine area linking the northwest-oriented Cheney Branch Valley with the northern east-oriented Little Dry Wood Creek tributary valley. The floor of this broader west to east oriented through valley is much lower than floors of the narrower through valleys to the south, indicating flood waters probably abandoned the southern through valleys in favor of the deeper and broader valley in the north. The north wall of the broader through valley is hard to identify from figure 8 evidence and there may be no north wall at least south of the Marmaton River.

Dry Wood Creek-Little North Fork Spring River drainage divide area

Figure 9: Dry Wood Creek-Little North Fork Spring River 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 Dry Wood Creek-North Fork Spring River and Little Dry Wood Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide areas located south of the figure 7 map area. Lamar, Missouri is the town straddling the figure 9 east edge (south half). The north-south oriented Kansas-Missouri state line is located along the figure 9 west edge. Dry Wood Creek is the north-oriented stream in the figure 9 northwest quadrant and flows to the figure 9 north edge (west half). The East Fork Dry Wood Creek originates near the figure 9 center and flows in a north and then a northwest direction to join Dry Wood Creek just north of the figure 9 north edge. Little Dry Wood Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream in the figure 9 northeast quadrant flowing to the figure 9 north edge (east half). Note Buck Creek, which flows south, east, and northeast to join north-northwest oriented Little Dry Wood Creek. The south-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 east center edge along the figure 9 east edge to the southeast corner is the North Fork Spring River. East of the figure 9 map area the North Fork Spring River is a northwest-oriented stream (see figure 10 below). The West Fork (North Fork Spring River) is the southeast-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 center area to join the North Fork Spring River in the figure 9 southeast corner. The south-oriented streams in the figure 9 southwest quadrant flowing to the south edge are tributaries of the south-oriented Little North Fork Spring River. South of the figure 9 map area the North Fork Spring River continues to flow in a south direction and then turns to flow in a west direction and joins the Little North Fork Spring River to flow in a south-southwest direction to the south-oriented Neosho River, which in turn flows to the southeast-oriented Arkansas River. The north-south drainage divide in figure 9 is the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. The west to east oriented figure 9 drainage divide was eroded by south-oriented flood water flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Spring River tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Spring River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Neosho River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Arkansas River valley. Flood waters were also flowing in a southeast direction along what is now the northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River headwaters valley. Headward erosion of the Marmaton River valley north of the figure 9 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Little Dry Wood and Dry Wood Creek valleys. The reversed flood flow moved north to what were then newly eroded Marmaton River-Little Osage River-Osage River-Missouri River valleys.

Little Dry Wood Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide area

Figure 10: Little Dry Wood Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Little Dry Wood Creek-North Fork Spring River drainage divide area east of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 9. Lamar is the city located in the figure 10 west center area. The north-northwest oriented stream in the figure 10 northwest corner is Little Dry Wood Creek. The northwest-oriented river flowing from the figure 10 south edge (east half) to make a U-turn just north of Lamar and then flowing in a south and southwest direction to the figure 10 south edge (southwest corner area) is the North Fork Spring River. As mentioned in the figure 9 discussion the North Fork Spring River south of the figure 10 map area flows south and west to join south oriented Little North Fork Spring River and to form the south-southwest oriented Spring River, which flows to the south-oriented Neosho River, which in turn flows to the Arkansas River. The northwest-oriented stream flowing from the figure 10 east edge (just north of the southeast corner) and flowing in a north, east, and north direction to the figure 10 north edge is Horse Creek. North of the figure 10 map area Horse Creek turns to flow in a northeast direction with water reaching northeast-oriented Cedar Creek and the north-oriented Sac River before it reaches the Osage River, which flows to the Missouri River. The drainage divide separating the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south is located between the Little Dry Wood Creek and North Fork Spring River in the figure 10 northwest quadrant and then extends in a southeast direction between northwest-oriented Horse Creek and northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River. The northwest-oriented Horse Creek and northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River valley segments were eroded by reversals of southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the south-oriented North Fork Spring River valley, which had eroded headward from the Arkansas River beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow on what is now the northwest-oriented North Fork Spring River alignment. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Horse Creek valley (north of the figure 10 map area) beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow routes on what are now north-oriented Horse Creek valley segments and reversals of flow on those valley segments beheaded and reversed southeast-oriented flood flow on what is now the northwest-oriented Horse Creek valley segment. In other words figure 10 evidence suggests headward erosion of deep tributary valleys from the actively eroding Arkansas River valley and from the actively eroding Missouri River valley reached the figure 10 map area at approximately the same time and were competing with each other to capture south- and southeast-oriented flood waters flowing across the figure 10 map area.

Additional information and sources of maps

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

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