Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area landform origins in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas is the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and east and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south and west. The Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties area was eroded by massive south and southeast oriented floods derived 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 Arkansas River-Neosho River valley and tributary valleys captured the south-oriented flood flow first and diverted flood waters southeast to the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Potttawatomie Creek and tributary valleys from what were then newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River, Osage River, and Missouri River valleys next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Neosho River and tributary valleys and diverted flood waters more directly eastward to the south-oriented Mississippi River valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of major valleys and tributary valleys and also through valleys eroded across 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 Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area landform origins in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen 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 on 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 Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho 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 Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas location map and illustrates a region in southeast Kansas with a strip of Oklahoma to the south and an area in western Missouri to the east. The Arkansas River flows in a south-southeast direction from the figure 1 west edge (south half) to Wichita and Arkansas City, Kansas before flowing into Oklahoma and to the figure 1 south edge (west half). The Neosho River originates in the figure 1 northwest quadrant (near White City, which is south of Junction City) and flows in a southeast direction to Emporia and John Redmond Reservoir and then in a south-southeast direction to Chanute, Kansas and Miami, Oklahoma (in the Oklahoma northeast corner) before reaching the figure 1 south edge. South of the figure 1 map area the Neosho River  joins the Arkansas River, which flows in a southeast direction across Arkansas to join the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Kansas River originates near Junction City, Kansas at the confluence of the east-northeast oriented Smoky Hill River and south-southeast oriented Republican River and then flows in an east direction. At Kansas City the Kansas River joins the Missouri River which flows in an east direction across the state of Missouri to join the south-oriented Mississippi River. South of the Kansas River and north of the Neosho River (in Kansas) the Marais des Cygnes River originates near Eskridge and flows in a southeast and east-northeast direction to Ottawa, Kansas and into western Missouri before flowing in an east direction to join the northeast-oriented Osage River east of the figure 1 map area. The Osage River joins the Missouri River near Jefferson City, Missouri (east of the figure 1 map area). Pottawatomie Creek is an unlabeled Marais des Cygnes River tributary located south of Ottawa, Kansas. Pottawatomie Creek originates near Waverly and flows in a southeast, east, and northeast direction to join the Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie, Kansas. The Pottawatomie River-Neosho River drainage divide area in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas is located south of Pottwatomie Creek and north of the Neosho River and the unlabeled southwest-oriented Neosho River tributary joining the Neosho River just north of Iola, Kansas. Other Marais des Cygnes River drainage divide area essay can be found under Marais des Cygnes River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively present evidence for massive south-oriented floods, derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet, which flowed into and across Kansas. Flood waters were captured in sequence by deep east-oriented valleys with headward erosion of the deep Arkansas River-Neosho River valley and tributary valleys capturing south-oriented flood flow first in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties. Headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River-Pottawatomie Creek valley from what were then newly eroded Osage and Missouri River valleys next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Neosho River valley and to actively eroding Neosho River tributary valleys. Marais des Cygnes River valley headward erosion north of the Pottawatomie Creek valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek valley.

Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River 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 Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide area in Coffey, Anderson, and Allen Counties, Kansas. Lyon, Coffey, Anderson, Linn, Greenwood, Woodson, Allen, and Bourbon are Kansas county names and county boundaries are shown. The Neosho River flows in a southeast direction from Emporia in Lyon County to John Redmond Reservoir in Coffey County and then in a south-southeast and south direction into and across western Allen County to Chanute and to the figure 2 south edge. South of the figure 2 map area the Neosho River joins the Arkansas River. South-southwest oriented Neosho River tributaries in eastern Coffey County include Long Creek and Crooked Creek. South-southwest oriented tributaries originating in Anderson County and joining the Neosho River in northwest Allen County include Indian Creek and Deer Creek. Pottwatomie Creek originates in northeast Coffey County and flows in a south-southeast direction into northwest Anderson County and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River near Osawatomie in the figure 2 northeast corner area. North-northeast oriented tributaries joining Pottawatomie Creek in northeast Anderson County include Cedar Creek and the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek. Sugar Creek is an east-oriented tributary of east-oriented Big Sugar Creek, which originates in eastern Anderson County. Big Sugar Creek east of the figure 2 map area joins the southeast-oriented Marais des Cygnes River, which then joins the northeast-oriented Osage River. The Osage River flows to the Missouri River. The Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide is in reality the divide between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the south. Evidence illustrated on the topographic maps below documents how south-oriented flood waters once flowed across the Pottawatomie Creek-Neosho River drainage divide to what at that time were actively eroding Neosho River tributary valleys, with the flood waters being then channeled to the newly eroded Neosho and Arkansas River valleys. Evidence also illustrates how the northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley to behead south-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding Neosho River tributary valleys.

Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area in northeast Coffey County. Waverly is the town just west of the figure 3 north center edge area. Pottawatomie Creek originates near the east end of the word POTTAWATOMIE (located in the figure 3 center) and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 3 southeast quadrant and then makes a U-turn to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 3 east center edge. North and east of the figure 3 map area Pottawatomie Creek flows to the southeast and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River, which flows to the northeast-oriented Osage River, which in turn flows to the Missouri River. A south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary originates in the figure 3 north center area and appears to be the logical north-northwest extension of the southeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley segment. Iantha Creek is the southeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary located in the figure 3 northeast corner. Harris is the small town near the word REEDER in the figure 3 east center area. Kenoma and Elm Creeks are the two southeast-oriented streams joining near Harris and then flowing east to join Pottawatomie Creek near the figure 3 east center edge. Thomas Creek is the north-northeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary located in the figure 3 southeast corner area. Long Creek is the south-southwest and south-southeast oriented stream west of the word POTTAWATOMIE (in the figure 3 center) and flowing to the figure 3 south edge. The south-oriented stream immediately east of Long Creek is Scott Creek and south of the figure 3 map area Scott Creek joins Long Creek. South of the figure 3 map area Long Creek flows to the south-oriented Neosho River which flows to the southeast-oriented Arkansas River. The north-oriented streams near Waverly are headwaters of north-oriented Rock Creek, which north of the figure 3 map area flows to the east, southeast, and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River. The Rock Creek-Long Creek and the Long Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divides in figure 3 are the divides between the Missouri River drainage basin to the north and east and the Arkansas River drainage basin to the west and south. Note north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Rock Creek headwaters valleys with the south-oriented Long Creek and Pottawatomie Creek headwaters valleys. These through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 3 map area prior to headward erosion of the east-oriented Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 3 map area. At least for a time flood waters were splitting in the figure 3 map area with some flood waters going into the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley and some flood waters going into the Long Creek valley. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley segment captured flood flow in the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley and until headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley north of figure 3 beheaded the south-oriented flood flow flood waters were flowing to both the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River-Osage River-Missouri River valley and the newly eroded Neosho River-Arkansas River valley. Flood waters on the north end of the south-oriented flood flow route reversed flow direction when beheaded by headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley. The reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented Rock Creek valley and created the Rock Creek-Long Creek and Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divides.

Detailed map of Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Rock Creek-Pottawatomie 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 Rock Creek-Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area southeast of Waverly, which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Rock Creek is the northwest-oriented stream flowing from the figure 4 center area to the figure 4 northwest corner area. North of figure 4 Rock Creek flows in a north direction to join the east oriented Marais des Cygnes River. The south oriented stream in the valley located between sections 28 and 29 and sections 33 and 32 is a south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary seen in figure 3 and flows to southeast and northeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek, which eventually flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. East-oriented streams flowing to the figure 4 east edge are headwaters of southeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributaries seen in figure 3 (Elm Creek and Kenoma Creek). Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley in sections 29 and 32 linking the northwest-oriented Rock Creek valley with the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. The map contour interval is ten feet and the through valley is defined by two contour lines on each side. While not deep the through valley is broad (the sections are one mile square) and provides evidence of a southeast-oriented flood flow channel that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 4 map area. At the time flood waters eroded the through valley the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 4 map area did not exist and the Rock Creek alignment was the route of a south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channel, the floor of which was at least as high as the present day through valley floor. Flood waters were flowing to what was then the actively eroding south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley and its actively eroding south-southeast oriented tributary valley. Headward erosion of the deep Marais des Cygnes River valley north of the figure 4 map area beheaded the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow route to the Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to flow north and to erode the northwest and north oriented Rock Creek valley. Also note shallow through valleys linking heads of the east and southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valleys with the Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. For example an east-oriented through valley can be seen in section 33 at the head of the east and southeast oriented Elm Creek valley. That shallow through valley provides evidence of a southeast oriented flood flow route to the Elm Creek valley, which was beheaded by headward erosion of the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley.

Pottawatomie Creek-Crooked Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Pottawatomie Creek-Crooked Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area. Burlington is the town straddling the figure 5 east center edge. New Strawn is the smaller town straddling the figure 5 west edge north of Burlington. Westphalia is the smaller town located just south of the figure 5 east center area. Aliceville is the very small town located in the figure 5 south center area.  South-southeast and northeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek is located in the figure 5 northeast quadrant and flows to the figure 5 northeast corner. Thomas Creek is the east, northeast, and north-northeast oriented tributary joining Pottawatomie Creek in the figure 5 northeast corner area. Cherry Creek is the east and north-northeast oriented tributary joining Pottawatomie Creek north of Westphalia. The Neosho River is the south-southeast oriented river flowing from near Burlington to the figure 5 south edge (west half). Wolf Creek Reservoir is the lake located near the figure 5 west edge and Wolf Creek is the Neosho River tributary draining the reservoir. Long Creek is the south-oriented Neosho River tributary flowing from the figure 5 north edge to join the Neosho River near the figure 5 south edge. Crooked Creek is the south-southwest oriented stream flowing from the figure 5 center region to the figure 5 south edge. Note how Crooked Creek headwaters are linked by through valleys with a southeast and east oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. Also note additional through valleys linking heads of southwest oriented Crooked Creek tributary valleys with heads of northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valleys. These through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes from the south-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley area to the south-oriented Crooked Creek valley area. The south-oriented flood flow was to what was then the actively eroding Neosho River valley and at that time headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek valley segment had not yet captured south oriented flood flow on the Pottawatomie Creek alignment. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek knick point along the south-oriented flood flow route eroded the south-southeast oriented Pottawatomie Creek and Pottawatomie Creek tributary valley. Headward erosion of that deep knick point beheaded flood flow routes to the actively eroding Crooked Creek tributary valleys and flood waters on north ends of those beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributary valleys and to create the Pottawatomie Creek-Crooked Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Thomas Creek-Little Indian Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 illustrates the Thomas Creek-Little Indian Creek drainage divide area near Westphalia, which was seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Westphalia is the town straddling the figure 6 north edge. Thomas Creek originates in the figure 6 west center area (section 1) and flows in an east and northeast direction to the figure 6 north edge just east of Westphalia. North of the figure 6 map area Thomas Creek flows to Pottawatomie Creek, which flows to the Marais des Cygnes River (and water eventually reaches the Missouri River). The south-oriented stream in section 11 (near the figure 6 south edge) is Little Indian Creek. South of the figure 6 map area Little Indian Creek flows to south-southwest oriented Indian Creek, which in turn flows to the Neosho River (and water eventually reaches the Arkansas River). The south-oriented stream in section 12 near the figure 6 south edge is an unnamed Indian Creek tributary. Note how Thomas Creek has southeast-oriented tributaries and also note the north-south oriented through valleys linking the Thomas Creek valley with the south-oriented Little Indian Creek valley and the southeast-oriented unnamed Indian Creek tributary valley. The through valley linking the Thomas Creek and Little Indian Creek valleys is located in section 2 and the valley floor elevation is greater than 1130 feet and less than 1140 feet. The hills in section 1 rise to elevations greater than 1180 feet and the hills near the figure 6 east edge in section 6 rise to elevations greater than 1160 feet. While not deep the north-south oriented through valley linking the northeast-oriented Thomas Creek valley with the south-oriented Little Indian Creek valley is a water eroded feature and provides evidence of a south-oriented flood flow channel that was beheaded by headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Thomas Creek valley. Prior to being beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channel was moving flood water to what was then the actively eroding Little Indian Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Indian Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Neosho River and Arkansas River valleys. The through valley between the Thomas Creek valley and the unnamed southeast-oriented Indian Creek tributary valley is slightly deeper and has a valley floor elevation of between 1120 feet and 1130 feet. Also there is a north-northwest oriented Thomas Creek tributary on the north side. The north-northwest oriented Thomas Creek tributary valley was eroded by the reversal of flood flow on the northwest end of the beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channel supplying flood water to what was the actively eroding southeast-oriented unnamed Indian Creek valley.

South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 5 map area. Thomas Creek is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 7 northwest corner area and Westphalia is the town located where Thomas Creek crosses the figure 7 west edge. North of the figure 7 map area Thomas Creek joins Pottawatomie Creek with water eventually reaching the Missouri River. Indian Creek is the south-southwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 southwest corner. South of the figure 7 map area Indian Creek joins the Neosho River with water eventually reaching the Arkansas River.  Martin Creek is the southwest-oriented stream in the figure 7 southwest quadrant and is also a Neosho River tributary. East of Martin Creek is the town of Colony, Kansas and east of Colony is Deer Creek, which flows to the figure 7 south center edge. Deer Creek is another Neosho River tributary. Note how Deer Creek has southwest, west-northwest, west, and south oriented valley segments. Kincaid is the town located near the figure 7 east edge just a short distance north of the figure 7 southeast corner. The northwest, north, west, and northwest oriented stream in the figure 7 northeast quadrant is the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek. The east, east-northeast, and north-northeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 north center edge is Cedar Creek, which like Thomas Creek and the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek is a Pottawatomie Creek tributary with water eventually reaching the Missouri River. Southeast-oriented drainage flowing to the figure 7 east edge near Kincaid is the Little Osage River headwaters, which flows in an east direction to reach the Marais des Cygnes River. Note northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking northwest-oriented Deer Creek valley segments and tributary valleys with southeast-oriented Little Osage River tributary valleys. These through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the actively eroding Little Osage River valley system, which were beheaded by Deer Creek valley headward erosion from the newly eroded Neosho River valley. Close study of the figure 7 map area reveals additional northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. For example, east of Westphalia a through valley links the Thomas Creek valley with a south-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valley and provides evidence headward erosion of the Cedar Creek valley captured a south-oriented flood flow route, which was subsequently beheaded by headward erosion of the Thomas Creek valley. Figures 8 and 9 below provide detailed maps of other through valleys areas.

Detailed map of Cedar Creek-Indian Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Cedar Creek-Indian 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 Cedar Creek-Indian Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Cedar Creek flows in a southeast and northeast direction in the figure 8 northwest corner area and then in an east-southeast and east-northeast direction in the figure 8 north center edge area and north and east of the figure 8 map area joins Pottawatomie Creek, with water eventually reaching the Missouri River. Indian Creek originates in the southwest corner of section 8 (in the figure 8 northwest corner) and flows in a south-southeast and then south direction to the figure 8 south edge. South of the figure 8 map area Indian Creek joins the Neosho River with water eventually reaching the Arkansas River. Note how Indian Creek originates where the shallow southeast-oriented Cedar Creek valley turns to become a northeast-oriented valley. Shallow through valleys linking the Cedar Creek valley with the south-oriented Indian Creek valley can be seen in sections 8, 6, and 18 and a shallow through valley in section 26 links a north-northeast Cedar Creek tributary valley with the south-southwest oriented Martin Creek valley. The through valleys are shallow and are defined by only one or two 10-foot contour lines on either side. However the through valleys are water eroded features and provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow routes to what were once the actively eroding Indian Creek and Martin Creek valleys, which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Neosho and Arkansas River valleys. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Cedar Creek valley from what were then newly eroded Pottawatomie Creek, Marais des Cygnes River, Osage River, and Missouri River valleys then captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters to the Missouri River valley. The north-northeast oriented Cedar Creek tributary valley was probably eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north end of the beheaded south-oriented flood flow route to what had been the actively eroding Martin Creek valley. The Missouri River drainage basin-Arkansas River drainage basin divide in the figure 8 map area was created by headward erosion of the Cedar Creek valley.

Detailed map of South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 provides a detailed map of the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide area, which was also seen in less detail in the figure 7 map area above. Selma is the small town located near the figure 9 east center edge. The northwest-oriented stream in section 13 flowing to the figure 9 north edge is South Fork Pottawatomie Creek, which north of the figure 9 map area eventually joins Pottawatomie Creek, with water eventually reaching the Osage and Missouri Rivers. The southwest-oriented stream in the figure 9 south center area and the northwest-oriented stream in the figure 9 southwest corner is Deer Creek, which eventually reaches the Neosho River with water eventually reaching the Arkansas River. The south oriented stream in section 19 is a south oriented tributary to the east-oriented Little Osage River, which is located south of the figure 9 map area. East of the figure 9 map area the Little Osage River flows to the Marais des Cygnes River. The northeast-oriented drainage in the Selma area flows to a Big Sugar Creek tributary with water eventually reaching the Marais des Cygnes River. Note the various shallow through valleys in the sections 14, 13, 18, 19, and 24 area (near the words NORTH RICH). The north-south oriented through valley linking the northwest-oriented South Fork Pottawatomie Creek valley to the southwest-oriented Deer Creek valley is slightly deeper than the other two through valleys, which suggests southeast-oriented flood flow was being captured by headward erosion of the south-oriented Deer Creek valley (see figure 7 for Deer Creek valley route). However, through valleys in sections 18 and 19 indicate that southeast-oriented flood flow had been moving to what was then the newly eroded Little Osage River valley south of the figure 9 map area and was being captured by headward erosion of the Big Sugar Creek valley system north and east of the figure 9 map area. While not the major theme of this know, the sections 18 and 19 evidence suggests headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley and tributary valleys may have been beheading south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the Osage River valley and tributary valleys. Continued headward erosion of the Marais des Cygnes River valley and its tributary Pottawatomie Creek and South Fork Pottawatomie Creek valleys north of the figure 9 map area beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the sections 14, 13, 18, and 19 through valleys and flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented South Fork Pottawatomie Creek valley segment and to create the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Deer Creek, South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Little Osage River, and South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Big Sugar Creek drainage divides, all of which are present in the sections 14, 13, 18, and 19 area.

Pottawatomie Creek-South Fork Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Pottawatomie Creek-South Fork Pottawatomie Creek 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 Pottawatomie Creek-South Fork Pottawatomie Creek drainage divide area north and slightly west of the figure 7 map area. Garnett is the largest town shown and is located south and west of the figure 10 center. Greeley is the town in the northeast quadrant and Centerville is the small town near the figure 10 southeast corner. Pottawatomie Creek meanders in an east direction from the figure 10 west edge (north half) to north of Garnett and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to the figure 10 north edge north of Greeley. Cedar Creek is the north-northeast oriented tributary flowing from the figure 10 southwest corner to join Pottawatomie Creek north of Garnett. The South Fork Pottawatomie Creek flows in a north direction from the figure 10 south edge (south of Garnett) and then turns to flow in a north-northeast direction to Greeley and join Pottawatomie Creek near the figure 10 north edge. North of the figure 10 map area Pottawatomie Creek joins the southeast and east oriented Marais des Cygnes River. East and northeast oriented Middle Creek in the figure 10 northeast quadrant flows directly to the Marais des Cygnes River. Other east and south-southeast oriented drainage flowing to the figure 10 east edge is tributary to Big Sugar Creek, which flows to the southeast oriented Marais des Cygnes River. Note how the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek has numerous northwest-oriented tributaries. Many of the northwest-oriented tributary valleys are linked by northwest-southeast oriented through valleys with southeast oriented headwaters valleys of the Big Sugar Creek tributaries or with the Middle Creek valley. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what were once actively eroding Big Sugar Creek tributary valleys and were beheaded by headward erosion of the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek valley. Note also how Cedar Creek also has northwest-oriented tributaries. While not as obvious, the northwest-oriented Cedar Creek tributary valleys are linked by shallow northwest-southwest oriented through valleys with headwaters of southeast- and east-oriented South Fork Pottawatomie Creek tributary valleys. Unlike through valleys crossing the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek-Big Sugar Creek drainage divide through valleys crossing the Cedar Creek-South Fork Pottawatomie Creek drainage are defined by only a single contour line on each side on more detailed topographic maps suggesting headward erosion of the Pottawatomie Creek valley proceeded rapidly following headward erosion of the South Fork Pottawatomie Creek valley. Note also southeast-oriented Pottawatomie Creek tributaries in the figure 10 northwest quadrant. The southeast-oriented  tributaries provide further evidence headward erosion of the Pottawatomie Creek valley captured multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes and diverted the captured southeast-oriented flood waters northeast to what was the newly eroded Marais des Cygnes River valley.

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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