Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area landform origins in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri is in reality the Missouri River-South Grand River drainage divide area with the South Grand River being a southeast-oriented Osage River tributary. The Missouri River-South Grand River drainage divide area was eroded by immense south oriented floods from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet which were captured in sequence from south to north by headward erosion of deep east-oriented valleys. Headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented South Grand River valley and tributary valleys captured the south oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters to what were then newly eroded Osage River and Missouri River valleys. Soon thereafter headward erosion of the deep Missouri River along what is now the Jackson County north border beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding south- and southeast-oriented South Grand River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys. This flood origin interpretation is supported by positions and orientations of major and tributary valleys and by shallow north-south oriented through valleys eroded across the west to east oriented 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 Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area landform origins in Jackson and Cass 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 Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area location map

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


Figure 1 provides a location map for the Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri. Figure 1 illustrates a region in western Missouri with a region in eastern Kansas located near the figure 1 west edge. The Missouri River flows in a southwest and southeast direction along the Kansas-Missouri state boundary in the figure 1 northwest quadrant and at Kansas City turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to near Brunswick where it turns again to flow in a southeast direction to Jefferson City and to the figure 1 east edge. The Osage River is the northeast-oriented tributary joining the Missouri River near Jefferson City and flows from Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks before turning to flow in a northeast direction. The Harry S. Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks are large reservoirs flooding the Osage River valley and valleys of Osage River tributaries. A major Osage River tributary south of Kansas City is the South Grand River which flows in a south-southeast and southeast direction to the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. The unlabeled southeast-oriented South Grand River tributary flowing through Pleasant Hill is Big Creek. The southeast-oriented river south and west of the South Grand River is the Marais des Cygnes River which originates in Kansas and which also flows to the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. Jackson County is the Missouri county in which Kansas City is located and Cass County is directly south of Jackson County. The Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties is the Missouri River-South Grand River (including Big Creek) drainage divide area and is south of the Missouri River segment extending east from Kansas City to near Wellington. The Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri is one of hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide areas being described in  the Missouri River drainage basin landforms origins research project essays. Collectively the essays present evidence for massive south-oriented floods derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Evidence presented in this essay documents south-oriented floods were captured in the Jackson and Cass County region by headward erosion of the South Grand River valley and its tributary valleys from what was at that time a newly eroded Osage River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley next beheaded the south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Big Creek and South Grand River valleys and diverted flood waters more directly in an east direction.

Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Missouri River-Osage 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 Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide area in Jackson and Cass Counties, Missouri. Jackson, Lafayette, Cass, Johnson (in figure 2 east half), and Henry are Missouri county names and county boundaries are shown. Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Johnson (in figure 2 west half), and Miami are Kansas county names. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 2 north edge (west half) to Kansas City and then meanders in an east-northeast direction to the figure 2 northeast corner area. Major north-oriented Missouri River tributaries in Jackson County are from west to east are the north-northeast oriented Blue River, north-northeast oriented Little Blue River, and north and northeast oriented Sni-A-Bar Creek, which joins the Missouri River near Wellington in Lafayette County. The South Grand River originates in western Cass County at the confluence of two tributaries (east of Cleveland) and flows in a southeast direction to the Cass County south boundary and then forms the Cass County south border until it flows into Henry County and turns to flow in a southeast direction again. Major Cass County South Grand River tributaries from west to east include south oriented East Creek (which originates near Belton), south oriented East Branch (which flows just west of Harrisonville), and southeast-oriented Big Creek (which originates south of Lees Summit in Jackson County and which joins the South Grand River in Henry County near the figure 2 south edge). Southeast and east oriented Camp Branch is an important Cass County Big Creek tributary located northeast from Harrisonville. Figure 2 drainage history is interpreted here to have begun with immense south-oriented floods flowing across the entire the figure 2 map area. Flood waters initially were flowing to newly eroded deep valleys located south of the figure 2 map and were then being diverted in an east direction to the south-oriented Mississippi River. Headward erosion of the South Grand River valley and its south- and southeast-oriented tributary valleys captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters in a southeast direction to the newly eroded Osage River valley, which then diverted flood waters in an east and northeast direction to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. At that time the Missouri River valley in Jackson County did not exist, although it was actively eroding headward toward Jackson County and soon thereafter beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded South Grand River and tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northeast oriented tributary valleys and to create the Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide.

Little Blue River-South Grand River drainage divide area

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


Figure 3 illustrates the Little Blue River-South Grand River drainage divide area near Belton, Missouri. The north-south oriented Kansas-Missouri state line is located near the figure 3 west edge. The north-northeast oriented Blue River can be seen in the figure 3 northwest corner area. North of the figure 3 map area the Blue River flows to the east oriented Missouri River. Note Mill Creek, which is a north-oriented Blue River tributary located along the Kansas-Missouri state line west of Belton. Scope Creek is the north-northeast stream originating north and west of Belton and flowing near the Belvidere urban area northwest edge before joining north-northwest oriented Lumpkins Fork  at the figure 3 north edge. North of figure 3 the combined flow forms the north-northeast oriented Little Blue River, which flows to the east oriented Missouri River. The south-southwest oriented stream flowing from the Belton urban area south edge is the West Fork, which joins south-oriented East Creek near the figure 3 south center edge. South of the figure 3 map area East Creek joins southeast-oriented Massey Creek (seen in the figure 3 southwest corner) to form the southeast-oriented South Grand River, which eventually flows to the east- and northeast-oriented Osage River. The southeast-oriented stream flowing to the figure 3 east center edge is Middle Big Creek, which east of the figure 3 map area joins southeast-oriented Big Creek, which is a South Grand River tributary. A close look at the figure 3 map evidence reveals shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys with the south-oriented South Grand River tributary valleys. Perhaps the easiest through valley to identify links the north-oriented Mill Creek valley with a southeast-oriented West Fork East Creek tributary valley. Contour lines on the figure 3 map are at ten meter intervals and the through valley floor elevation is between 320 and 330 meters. Hills on either side of the through valley rise to elevations of at least 340 meters. The through valley is shallow and other through valleys in the figure 3 map region are no deeper. However, the through valley is an identifiable water eroded feature and was eroded by south-oriented flood flow prior to headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 3 map area. Flood water at that time was moving to what were then actively eroding south-oriented South Grand River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters on north ends of the newly beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys and to create the Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Mill Creek-West Fork East Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Mill Creek-West Fork East 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 drainage divide area between the northwest and north oriented Mill Creek valley and a southeast and east oriented West Fork East Creek tributary valley. The Kansas-Missouri state line is located near the figure 4 west edge. Belton, Missouri is the urban are located in the figure 4 northeast quadrant. Mill Creek is the northwest and north-northwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 4 northwest corner. North of the figure 4 map area Mill Creek flows to the north-northeast oriented Blue River, which flows to the Missouri River. West Fork East Creek is the east, southeast, and south-southeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 4 north center area to the figure 4 southeast corner area. South of the figure 4 map area the West Fork flows to East Creek, which in turns flows to the South Grand River. The South Grand River is a Osage River tributary. Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the northwest-oriented Mill Creek headwaters with southeast-oriented headwaters of an east-oriented West Fork tributary. The through valley is located in section 21 and the through valley floor elevation is between 1060 and 1070 feet (contour lines on figure 4 are at ten foot intervals). Elevations on either side of the through valley rise to at least 1110 feet. Also note the north-south oriented through valley just north of the section 16 and 21 boundary used by the north-south oriented railroad line. The elevation of the floor of that north-south oriented through valley is also between 1060 and 1070 feet. The through valleys are only 40 to 50 feet deep, but they provide two separate water eroded links between the north-oriented Mill Creek valley and the south-oriented West Fork East Creek valley. The figure 4 valleys were eroded by south-oriented flood flow, although the sequence of events was complex and involved reversals of flood flow which may for a time have had flood water moving north in the West Fork valley to Belton and then west and south to what was then newly reversed flood flow in the northwest- and north-oriented Mill Creek valley. The complex flood flow movement which can be identified from the figure 4 evidence suggests volumes of flood water involved in the flood flow reversal were large. Also note higher level shallow north-south oriented through valleys such as in sections 28 and 29 near where the railroad crosses the figure 4 south edge (west half). While defined by only one ten foot contour line on each side this through valley is evidence of a south-oriented flood flow route that existed prior to headward erosion of the deeper figure 4 valleys seen today and provides a measure of the erosion flood waters accomplished.

Little Blue River-Middle Big Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Little Blue River-Middle Big Creek drainage divide area north and east of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Belton is located near the south edge in the figure 5 southwest quadrant. Grandview is the town located north of Belton and Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills are two of the towns located north of Grandview. Lees Summit is the largest town in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. The north-south oriented Kansas-Missouri state line is located near the figure 5 west edge. The north-northeast oriented Blue River flows from the figure 5 west edge into Missouri and then to the figure 5 north edge (west half). Note the absence of any major tributaries from the east. North and northeast oriented Scope Creek and north-northwest oriented Lumpkins Fork join east of Grandview to form the north-northeast, east, and north-northeast (north of figure 5) oriented Little Blue River. In addition to north-northwest oriented Lumpkins Fork note northwest-oriented Mouse Creek and northwest-oriented Cedar Creek as Little Blue River tributaries. Middle Big Creek is the southeast-oriented stream in the figure 5 southeast quadrant and its valley has been flooded by two reservoirs before Middle Big Creek flows to the figure 5 southeast corner. Big Creek is the southeast-oriented stream originating south of Lees Summit and flowing to the figure 5 east edge. South and east of figure 5 Middle Big Creek joins Big Creek and Big Creek then joins the South Grand River, which flows to the east and northeast oriented Osage River. Northwest-oriented Little Blue River tributaries provide evidence headward erosion of the Little Blue River beheaded multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels to what were once actively eroding Middle Big Creek and Big Creek valleys. Flood waters on northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Little Blue River tributary valleys. Further evidence of the southeast-oriented flood flow routes can be found in shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the northwest-oriented Little Blue River tributary valleys with headwaters valleys of southeast-oriented Big Creek, Middle Big Creek, and a Middle Big Creek tributary. The through valleys are shallow and are best seen on more detailed topographic maps. Figure 6 below provides a more detailed map of the Mouse Creek-Middle Big Creek drainage divide area.

Detailed map of Mouse Creek-Middle Big Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of Mouse Creek-Middle Big Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Mouse Creek is the northwest-oriented stream flowing to the figure 6 northwest corner. Raintree Reservoir, which straddles the figure 6 south edge, floods the southeast-oriented Middle Big Creek valley. Southeast-oriented Big Creek can be seen in the figure 6 northeast corner. South and east of the figure 6 map area Middle Big Creek joins Big Creek, which then flows to the South Grand River. Note how the southeast-oriented Middle Big Creek valley is linked by northwest-southeast oriented through valleys with the northwest-oriented Mouse Creek valley. Through valleys are located in section 25 and the section 35 northeast corner. Do not overlook the through valley eroded across the top of the southeast-northeast oriented hill in the section 25 southwest quadrant. These multiple through valleys provide evidence of southeast-oriented flood flow routes at various elevations that once flowed across the figure 6 map area. At that time the Little Blue River valley did not exist, nor did the Blue River valley or the Missouri River-Kansas River valley exist north and west of the figure 6 map area. Flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as the highest through valley floor elevation. Flood waters were probably flowing in an ever-changing southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex that had eroded headward from what were then the actively eroding Osage and South Grand River valleys and their southeast-oriented tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 6 map area then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes and flood waters on north ends of those beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Little Blue River valley. Headward erosion of the north-oriented Little Blue River valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters across the figure 6 map area. Flood waters on northwest ends of those beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode northwest-oriented Little Blue River tributary valleys including the northwest-oriented Mouse Creek valley. The reversal of flood flow also created the Mouse Creek-Middle Big Creek drainage divide.

Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 7 illustrates the Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Lees Summit is the town located near the figure 7 west center edge. Big Creek originates south of Lees Summit and flows in a southeast direction to Greenwood (a small town near the south edge) and then to the figure 7 south edge. East Branch is the south-oriented Big Creek tributary flowing  from the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Refuge located northeast of Greenwood. West Branch is the south-oriented Big Creek tributary located south of the Blue and Grey County Park (east of the figure 7 center). Big Creek as previously mentioned flows in a southeast direction to join the South Grand River, which flows to Osage River. Lake Jacomo in the figure 7 northwest quadrant drains north of the figure 7 map area to north-oriented Little Blue River, which flows to the east-oriented Missouri River. Lake Lotawana in the figure 7 center area floods the West Fork Sni-A-Bar Creek valley. Downstream from Lake Lotawana the West Fork flows in a northeast direction to join north-oriented Sni-A-Bar Creek near the figure 7 north edge (east half). Sni-A-Bar Creek flows north from Lone Jack (a small town located on the highway in the figure 7 southeast quadrant) to the figure 7 north edge. North of the figure 7 map area Sni-A-Bar Creek turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the east-oriented Missouri River. The north-oriented Missouri River tributaries are relatively short compared to the much longer Osage River tributaries suggesting the Osage River tributary valleys were eroded by much greater volumes of water than the north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys. Again close study of the figure 7 map area reveals shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys with south-oriented Big Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys are shallow and are defined by only a single contour line on each side and are better seen on more detailed maps, although even on more detailed maps the through valleys are subtle features. The through valleys do provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes to what were once actively eroding south-oriented Big Creek tributary valleys. At that time the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 7 map area did not exist. The south-oriented flood flow routes were beheaded in sequence from east to west by Missouri River valley headward erosion. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys and to create the Missouri River-Big Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big 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 Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide area near Lone Jack, Missouri which was seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Lone Jack is the cluster of buildings located in the figure 8 southeast quadrant. The north-oriented stream originating near Lone Jack is Sni-A-Bar Creek, which north of the figure 8 map area turns to flow in a northeast direction to the east-oriented Missouri River. Other figure 8 north-oriented streams are all tributaries to north-oriented Sni-A-Bar Creek. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 8 south edge are all tributaries to southeast-oriented Big Creek, which flows to the South Grand and Osage Rivers. Shallow north-south oriented through valleys cross the Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide. For example a shallow through valley on the border between sections 10 and 15 in the figure 8 northwest quadrant is defined by at least three 10-foot contour lines on each side. Continuing southeast and east along the drainage divide there are a number of other through valleys with several defined by only a single contour line on each side. In section 24 just west of Lone Jack there is a through valley defined by two 10-foot contour lines on each side and east of Lone Jack there are additional through valleys. The through valleys are subtle features, but they are water eroded features, which were eroded by multiple south-oriented flood flow channels prior to headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley (north of the figure 8 map area). Flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Big Creek tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Big Creek, South Grand River, and Osage River valleys. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley and its northeast-oriented Sni-A-Bar tributary valley systematically beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 8 map area. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north, to erode the north-oriented Sni-A-Bar Creek valley and its north-oriented tributary valleys, and also to create the Sni-A-Bar Creek-Big Creek drainage divide, which is also the Missouri River-Osage River drainage divide.

Big Creek-Camp Branch drainage divide area

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


Figure 9 illustrates the Big Creek-Camp Branch drainage divide area located south of the figure 7 map area Harrisonville is the city straddling the figure 9 south center edge. Pleasant Hill is the town straddling the north edge in the figure 9 northeast quadrant. Old Peculiar is the smaller town located near the figure 9 west center edge. East Lynne is the even smaller town located near the figure 9 southeast corner. East Branch is the south-oriented stream located west of Harrisonville and south of the figure 9 map area flows to the southeast oriented South Grand River. Southeast-oriented Middle Big Creek joins south-southeast oriented Big Creek just south of Pleasant Hill and Big Creek then flows to the figure 9 east edge (north half). Camp Branch originates near the figure 9 center and flows in an east, south-southeast, and east direction to the figure 9 east edge near East Lynne. Note how the south-southeast oriented Camp Branch valley is linked by a shallow through valley with a north-oriented tributary to the Big Creek tributary draining in an east direction from Harrisonville City Lake (located in figure 9 north center area). Shallow north-south oriented through valleys also link north-northeast streams flowing into the Harrisonville City Lake with the south-oriented East Branch valley to the south. These shallow north-south oriented through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the east-oriented Big Creek tributary valley (now flooded by Harrisonville City Lake), which was also prior to headward erosion of the Big Creek and Middle Big Creek valleys further north and also of the deep Missouri River valley north of the figure 9 map area. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Big Creek tributary valley (now flooded by Harrisonville City Lake) from what was then an actively eroding Big Creek valley head beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of newly beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north oriented tributary valleys to the east-oriented Big Creek tributary valley and also to create the Big Creek-Camp Branch and the Big Creek-East Branch drainage divides. Willow Branch is a southeast and northeast oriented Big Creek tributary located north of East Lynne. Figure 10 below provides a detailed map of the Willow Branch-Camp Branch drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valleys there.

Detailed map of Willow Branch-Camp Branch drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of Willow Branch-Camp Branch drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Willow Branch-Camp Branch drainage divide area located in the figure 9 southeast quadrant north of East Lynne. Camp Branch is the south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 10 southwest corner and south of the figure 10 map area turns to flow in an east direction and joins southeast-oriented Big Creek south and east of the figure 10 map area. Other south-oriented streams flowing to the figure 10 south edge are Camp Branch tributaries. Willow Branch begins as a southeast-oriented stream in section 19 and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 10 north edge and north of figure 10 map area joins southeast-oriented Big Creek. Note the north-south oriented through valley in section 9 linking the northeast oriented Willow Branch tributary valley with the southeast-oriented Willow Branch headwaters valley. Elevation of the through valley floor is between 900 and 910 feet (the map contour interval is 10-feet) and the hilltop to the west is at least 980 feet high and the Schindorff Hill elevation to the east is at least 970 feet.  Also note shallower north-south oriented through valleys linking the northeast oriented Willow Branch valley with south-oriented Camp Branch tributary valleys. The northeast-oriented stream in figure 9 is a Willow Branch tributary. The northeast- and east-oriented stream flowing through section 11 is an independent Big Creek tributary. Note shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking this independent Big Creek tributary valley with the Willow Branch valley and a shallow north-south oriented through valley linking this independent Big Creek tributary valley with a south-oriented Camp Branch tributary valley. The figure 10 through valleys, while shallow, are water eroded features and provide evidence of flood flow routes prior to and during headward erosion of the deep Big Creek valley north of the figure 10 map area. Just prior to headward erosion of the Big Creek valley flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded Camp Branch valley. Big Creek valley headward erosion then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Big Creek valley. Because flood flow routes were beheaded one at a time and because flood flow routes were interconnected reversed flood flow on newly beheaded flood flow routes captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from further to the west. This captured yet to be beheaded flood flow moved in southeast and northeast directions and was responsible for eroding southeast-oriented valleys as well as northeast-oriented valleys.

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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