North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area landform origins in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas, USA

· Kansas, Smoky Hill River
Authors

Abstract:

The North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas was eroded by massive south and southeast oriented floods. Flood waters were derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. The deep east oriented Smoky Hill River valley eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Kansas River and Missouri River valleys to capture the south and southeast oriented flood flow and divert flood waters east to the south oriented Mississippi River valley. The east and southeast oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River valley then eroded headward from the newly eroded and deep Smoky Hill River valley to behead flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroding headward from the newly eroded Smoky Hill River valley. Headward erosion of the Republican River-Beaver Creek-South Beaver Creek valley north and west of the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley next beheaded all south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded North Smoky Hill River valley. Before doing so the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and South Beaver Creek valley were diverging channels in what was a gigantic east-oriented anastomosing channel complex converging in eastern Kansas where the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers join to form the east-oriented Kansas River. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes the positions and orientations of present day drainage routes and shallow through valleys crossing many of the east-oriented drainage divides.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is provided as evidence in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project, which is compiling similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with and within certain adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored geomorphology paradigm, which is briefly described in the introduction below. Project essays are listed on the sidebar category list under their appropriate Missouri River tributary drainage basin, Missouri River segment drainage basin (by state), and/or state in which the Missouri River drainage basin is located.
           

Introduction:

  • The purpose of this essay is to use topographic map interpretation methods to explore North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area landform origins in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas, USA. Map interpretation methods can be used to unravel many geomorphic events leading up to formation of present-day drainage routes and development of other landform features. While each detailed topographic map feature provides detailed evidence to be explained, the solution must be consistent with explanations for adjacent area map evidence as well as solutions to big picture map evidence puzzles. I invite readers to improve upon my solutions and/or to propose alternate solutions that better explain evidence and are also consistent with adjacent map area and big picture evidence. Readers may do so either by making comments here or by writing and publishing their own essays and then by leaving a link to those essays in a comment here.
  • This essay is also exploring a new geomorphology paradigm in which erosional landforms are interpreted as evidence left by immense glacial melt water floods. Implied in that interpretation is the immense floods were derived from a thick North American ice sheet that created a deep “hole” in the North American continent and also melted fast. The previously unexplored paradigm being tested in this and other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays is a thick North American ice sheet, comparable in thickness to the Antarctic ice sheet, occupied the North American region usually recognized to have been glaciated, and through its weight and erosive actions created a deep North American “hole”. The southwestern rim of that deep “hole” is today preserved in the high Rocky Mountains. The ice sheet through its weight and deep erosion (and perhaps deposition along major south-oriented melt water flow routes) caused significant crustal warping and tectonic change, through its action of melting fast produced immense floods that flowed across the continent, and through its action of melting fast systematically opened up space in the ice sheet created “hole” so headward erosion of newly developed north-oriented drainage systems captured immense south-oriented melt water floods and diverted the floods north into space the ice sheet had once occupied.
  • If this previously unexplored paradigm is correct the geographic region explored by this essay should contain evidence of immense floods that were captured by headward erosion of new valley systems so as to cause the floods to flow in a different direction. Ability of this previously unexplored paradigm to explain North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area landform origins in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill 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 North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas location map. Figure 1 illustrates an area in northwest Kansas with an area in southwest Nebraska located north of Kansas and an area in eastern Colorado located west of Kansas and Nebraska. The Smoky Hill River originates near Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, which is located in the figure 1 southwest quadrant just west of the Kansas border, and flows in an east direction to near Sharon Springs, Wallace, and Russell Springs, Kansas before continuing eastward to the Cedar Bluff Reservoir and then to the figure 1 east edge. The North Fork Smoky Hill River also originates in eastern Colorado north and west of the Smoky Hill River point of origin and flows in a southeast and then northeast direction into Kansas where it turns to flow in a southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River just west of Russell Springs. This essay illustrates and discusses landform evidence between the North Fork Smoky Hill River and Smoky Hill River in Kansas. North of the North Fork Smoky Hill River are northeast-oriented Republican River tributaries, including Beaver Creek and the South Fork Republican River. These northeast-oriented Republican River tributaries join the east-oriented Republican River located just north of the Nebraska border. East of the figure 1 map area the Republican River turns to flow in a southeast direction into Kansas where in eastern Kansas it joins the east-oriented Smoky Hill River to form the east-oriented Kansas River. In the figure 1 east half between the Republican River and the Smoky Hill River are the North and South Forks Solomon River and the Saline River, all of which are Smoky Hill River tributaries. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays indexed by Missouri River tributary and/or Missouri River segment is various states on the sidebar category list present significant evidence indicating the east-oriented Kansas River tributaries eroded headward across Kansas and southern Nebraska in sequence to capture the south oriented flood flow and to divert flood waters east to what were then the newly eroded Kansas River and Missouri River valleys. Smoky Hill River valley headward erosion was slightly in advance of Saline River valley headward erosion, which was slightly in advance of South Fork Solomon River valley headward erosion. North Solomon River valley headward erosion followed soon after and Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded all south oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Solomon River, Saline River, and Smoky Hill River valleys. Note in figure 1 how North Fork Smoky Hill River valley headward erosion beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Smoky Hill River valley head and then South Fork Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the actively eroding North Fork Smoky Hill River valley.

North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill 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 North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area in Sherman, Wallace, and Logan Counties, Kansas. Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, and Logan are Kansas county names and county boundaries are shown. Colorado is located west of Sherman and Wallace Counties. The Smoky Hill River originates near Cheyenne Wells, Colorado in the figure 2 southwest corner and flows in an east direction (north of the highway and railroad) into Wallace County and near Wallace in eastern Wallace County is crossed by the highway and railroad. From Wallace the Smoky Hill River flows in an east direction to Russell Springs in Logan County and then in an east-southeast direction to the figure 2 east edge (near the southeast corner). The North Fork Smoky Hill River originates west of the figure 2 map area and flows in an east-northeast direction to the Sherman County southwest corner and then across southern Sherman County to the Logan County northwest corner. From the Logan County northwest corner the North Fork Smoky Hill River flows in a southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River a short distance west of Russell Springs in Logan County. Lake Creek is a major east-southeast and southeast oriented Smoky Hill River tributary located between the North Fork Smoky Hill River and Smoky Hill River in southern Sherman County and northern Wallace County and joins the Smoky Hill River in western Logan County. Goose Creek is an east-northeast, east-southeast, and southeast oriented Smoky Hill River tributary originating just west of Wallace County and flowing between Lake Creek and the Smoky Hill River to join the Smoky Hill River west of Wallace. Note how the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley extends west of the Smoky Hill River valley head and would have beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow to the what was then the actively eroding Smoky Hill River valley. Sandy Creek is an east-northeast and southeast oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary originating west of the Sherman County southwest corner and joining the North Fork Smoky Hill River in the Sherman County southwest quadrant. Note how Sandy Creek and North Fork Smoky Hill River headwaters are roughly parallel to and adjacent to the northeast-oriented Beaver Creek and South Fork Republican River immediately to the north and west (Beaver Creek is a Republican River tributary). The closeness of these diverging valley systems in western Kansas and eastern Colorado and the fact these diverging river systems join in eastern Kansas suggests at one time these valleys were components in a gigantic flood formed and east-oriented anastomosing channel complex, in which the South Fork Republican River valley channel eventually captured all flood flow to the Smoky Hill River valley system.

North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area near McAllaster

Figure 3: North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area near McAllaster. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide near McAllaster in western Logan County. McAllaster is a small town located in the figure 3 north center area. The Smoky Hill River flows in an east direction near the figure 3 south edge. The North Fork Smoky Hill River flows in a southeast and south-southeast direction from the figure 3 north center edge area to join the Smoky Hill River near the figure 3 southeast corner. Lake Creek flows in a southeast direction in the figure 3 northwest quadrant to the Wallace County border and then is renamed Turkey Creek in Logan County, where it flows in a south-southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River. Note the south-sloping erosion surface extending from the figure 3 north edge area to the Smoky Hill River valley. This erosion surface was eroded by south-oriented flood flow moving to what was at that time the newly eroded and deep Smoky Hill River valley. The deep North Fork Smoky Hill River and Turkey Creek-Lake Creek valleys and other tributary valleys were eroded headward from that newly eroded and deep Smoky Hill River valley. The presence of several depressions in the figure 3 map area suggests the possibility of sinkholes, although other explanations are possible. Note the unnamed south-southeast oriented Smoky Hill River tributary originating south of McAllaster. Note how that south-southeast oriented tributary is linked by a north-south oriented through valley with the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley to the north. The through valley was eroded by south-oriented flood flow prior to headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. Figure 3 drainage history determinable from the map evidence began with south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 3 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Smoky Hill River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow and lowered the regional base level. Flood waters then eroded the south-sloping erosion surface and the deep south-southeast and southeast oriented tributary valleys eroded headward along and across the south-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley beheaded flood flow moving to the what was then the actively eroding south-southeast oriented Smoky Hill River tributary valley located south of McAllaster.

North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area north and west of McAllaster

Figure 4: North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area north and west of McAllasterUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 4 illustrates the North Fork Smoky Hill River-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area north and west of McAllaster and north and somewhat west of the figure 3 map area (and also including overlap areas with figure 3). McAllaster is located near the figure 4 southeast corner. The North Fork Smoky Hill River flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 4 north edge (west half) into the Logan County northwest corner and then in a south-southeast direction to the figure 4 southeast corner area. Lake Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 4 west edge to the figure 4 south center edge. Gardner Draw, Harris Draw, and Bradshaw Draw are Lake Creek tributaries as is south-southeast oriented Hudkins Draw in the figure 4 south center area. Note the southeast-oriented tributary joining the North Fork Smoky Hill River near McAllaster and the east-oriented tributary flowing across the figure 4 north center to join the North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary in the Logan County northwest corner region. Note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking headwaters valleys of the southeast-oriented tributary with the east-oriented tributary valley. Also note shallow through valleys crossing the drainage divide between the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and the east-oriented tributary valley. Also note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and tributary valleys with the Lake Creek valley and tributary valleys. The through valleys are shallow and are best seen on more detailed maps. Figure 5 provides a detailed map of the through valleys crossing the drainage divide between the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and the east-oriented tributary north of McAllaster. The shallow through valleys provide evidence of south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. The south-oriented flood flow channels were moving flood waters to what was at that time the newly eroded and deep Smoky Hill River south of the figure 4 map area. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley then began to capture some of the flood flow channels and the southeast-oriented tributary valley in the figure 4 southeast quadrant eroded headward from the actively eroding North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and its east-oriented tributary valley beheaded the flood flow channels to what was then the actively eroding southeast-oriented tributary valley. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to what was then the actively eroding and newly eroded east-oriented tributary valley.

Detailed map of North Fork Smoky Hill River-North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary drainage divide area north of McAllaster

Figure 5: Detailed map of North Fork Smoky Hill River-North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary drainage divide area north of McAllaster. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 5 provides a detailed map of the North Fork Smoky Hill River drainage divide with the east-oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary north of McAllaster and seen in less detail in figure 4 above. The North Fork Smoky Hill River meanders in an east-southeast direction from the figure 5 north edge (west half) to the figure 5 east edge (north half). The east-oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary is located near the figure 5 south edge in sections 22, 23, 24, 19, 18, and 17 and joins the North Fork Smoky Hill River east of the figure 5 map area. The drainage divide between the North Fork Smoky Hill River and its east-oriented tributary is located in sections 15, 14, 13, 7, and 17 and is crossed by multiple shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. The figure 5 map contour interval is ten feet and the deepest through valley in section 14 is defined by three contour lines on each side. Other through valleys are defined by fewer contour lines on one side or the other or on both sides. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large volumes of flood water into what was then the actively eroding east-oriented tributary valley. At that time the deep east-oriented tributary valley was eroding headward from what was then the actively eroding North Fork Smoky Hill River valley head. At that time the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley north of the east-oriented tributary valley did not exist, although it was being actively eroded and soon beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Prior to being beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels were located on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day drainage divide between the North Fork Smoky Hill River and its east-oriented tributary. Headward erosion of the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. This reversal of flood flow eroded the short North Fork Smoky Hill River valley tributary valleys seen in figure 5 and created the North Fork Smoky Hill River-east-oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary drainage divide.

North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 6 illustrates the North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide area west and slightly north of the figure 4 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 4. The North Fork Smoky Hill River is located near the north edge in the figure 6 northwest quadrant and then turns to flow in an east-southeast direction across the figure 6 northeast quadrant to the figure 6 east edge. Lake Creek flows in an east direction near the figure 6 south edge in the southeast quadrant and is formed at the confluence of the east and southeast oriented North Fork Lake Creek with the east, southeast, and east oriented Middle Fork Lake Creek, both of which flow from the figure 6 west center edge area. The southeast-oriented South Fork Lake Creek can just barely be seen in the figure 6 southwest corner and south of figure 6 turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to join Lake Creek. Note how in the region near the Sherman State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area there are northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley with valleys of southeast-oriented tributaries to the North Fork Lake Creek valley. Figure 7 below provides a detailed map of that region to better illustrate the through valleys. Gardner and Harris Draws are two south-southeast oriented Lake Creek tributaries located in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. Note how the south-southeast oriented Gardner and Harris Draw valleys are linked by shallow through valleys with the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. A close study of the figure 6 map area reveals other shallow high level through valleys crossing drainage divides. The shallow through valleys provide evidence that prior to headward erosion of the present day deep valleys south- or southeast-oriented flood waters flowed across the entire figure 6 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 6 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Lake Creek valley captured the southeast-oriented flood flow first with the southeast and south-southeast oriented Lake Creek tributary valleys eroding headward along and across the south-southeast and southeast oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to create the North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: Detailed map of North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 provides a detailed map of the North Fork Smoky Hill River-North Fork Lake Creek drainage divide area south of the Sherman State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area seen in less detail in figure 6 above. The North Fork Smoky Hill River can be seen meandering across the figure 7 north edge (especially in the northwest corner and north center area). The Sherman State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area is located in the figure 7 north center area and extends north of the figure 7 map area. North-oriented streams in the figure 7 north half are North Fork Smoky Hill River tributaries. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 7 south edge are North Fork Lake Creek tributaries and the North Fork Lake Creek can be seen in the figure 7 southwest corner area. Note shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys in the figure 7 west half linking the southeast-oriented North Fork Lake Creek valley and tributary valleys with the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. Also note in sections 22 and 23 in the figure 7 northeast quadrant two north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary valleys with a south oriented North Fork Lake Creek tributary valley. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south and southeast oriented flood flow channels, which prior to headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley moved large volumes of flood waters south to what were then the actively eroding North Fork Lake Creek valley and tributary valleys. Flood waters originally flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 7 elevations today. The through valleys were channels in what was probably an anastomosing channel complex that eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding North Fork Lake Creek valley, which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Lake Creek and Smoky Hill River valleys. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Smoky Hill River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow to the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. The reversal of flood flow eroded the north-oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary valleys and created the North Fork Smoky Hill River-Lake Creek drainage divide.

South Beaver Creek-North Fork Smoky Hill River drainage divide area

Figure 8: South Beaver Creek-North Fork Smoky Hill River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the South Beaver Creek-North Fork Smoky Hill River drainage divide area north and west of the Sherman State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area seen in figure 6. Note the north-south oriented Colorado-Kansas border along the figure 8 west edge. The North Fork Smoky Hill River flows in an east direction from the figure 8 west edge across the figure 8 southwest quadrant and joins northeast oriented Turtle Creek south of the word MCPHERSON. After joining Turtle Creek the North Fork Smoky Hill River continues in an east direction to the Sherman Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area at the figure 8 east edge. Sandy Creek is a North Fork Smoky Hill River tributary which flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 8 west edge to north of the word MCPHERSON where it turns to flow in an east-southeast and southeast direction to join the North Fork Smoky Hill River. South Beaver Creek is a northeast, east, and northeast oriented stream located north and west of Sandy Creek and Sappa Creek is a northeast, east, and northeast oriented South Beaver Creek  tributary located between South Beaver Creek and Sandy Creek. South Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction to join northeast-oriented Beaver Creek, which flows to join the east-oriented Republican River in southern Nebraska, which eventually turns to flow in a southeast direction to join the east-oriented Smoky Hill River in eastern Kansas to form the east-oriented Kansas River. Note how present day stream valleys have been eroded into what appears to be an east-sloping erosion surface. Figure 8 map evidence does not show any obvious through valleys across drainage divides suggesting the surface was eroded by massive sheets of flood flow as deep valleys eroded headward into the figure 8 map area. Headward erosion of the deep valleys occurred in sequence with the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley eroding headward into the region first. The Sandy Creek valley eroded headward from the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley and captured flood flow moving to the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. Headward erosion of the South Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek valley then beheaded flood flow routes to newly eroded Sandy Creek valley. What is particularly interesting about this figure 8 area is that for a time flood waters crossing the figure 8 map area were being simultaneously channeled into what are now two diverging river valleys, which several hundred miles further downstream (or east) converged to form what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. These diverging and converging valleys or channels describe channels in what was at that time a gigantic east-oriented anastomosing channel complex eroded into the Kansas and southern Nebraska landscape. In time headward erosion of the northeast-oriented South Fork Republican River valley captured all south and southeast oriented flood flow moving to the Smoky Hill River valley and its tributary valleys (see figure 1).

Turtle Creek-Goose Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 illustrates the Turtle Creek-Goose Creek drainage divide area south of the figure 8 map area and includes a thin overlap strip with figure 8. Note the north-south county line and Colorado-Kansas state line located along the figure 9 west edge. Turtle Creek is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 9 northwest quadrant and joins the North Fork Smoky Hill River near the figure 9 north edge. Goose Creek flows from the figure 9 west edge (south half) into Kansas and then makes a northeast jog before flowing in an east-southeast and southeast direction to the figure 9 south edge (east half). Note multiple southeast oriented Goose Creek tributaries including Horsethief Draw and Mayers Draw. North of Goose Creek is South Fork Lake Creek, which originates north of Horsethief Draw and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 9 southeast quadrant where it turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to the figure 9 east edge. The Middle Fork Lake Creek originates north of the South Fork Lake Creek headwaters and flows in an east and southeast direction to join the South Fork Lake Creek just east of the figure 9 east edge. The east, southeast, and east oriented stream in the figure 9 northeast quadrant is the North Fork Lake Creek. Close inspection of the figure 9 reveals shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing some of the drainage divides. The through valleys are better seen on more detailed topographic maps and figure 9a below provides a detailed map of the Turtle Creek-Goose Creek drainage divide area west of the South Fork Lake Creek headwaters area. Turtle Creek is located near the figure 9a north edge. The east-oriented stream in the figure 9a east center area is the South Fork Lake Creek. South-southeast oriented streams flowing to the figure 9a south edge are Goose Creek tributaries. Note the shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the Turtle Creek valley with the south-southeast oriented Goose Creek tributary valleys in figure 9a sections 18, 8, and 9. These through valleys are shallow and are defined by two or fewer contour lines on both sides (the contour interval is ten feet). Also the valleys appear broader than some of the through valleys seen in earlier figures, suggesting flood flow in the figure 9 map area was moving as sheet flow. The through valleys were eroded by southeast-oriented flood waters moving to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented Goose Creek tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Goose Creek and Smoky Hill River valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Turtle Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the actively eroding North Fork Smoky Hill River valley beheaded the flood flow channels moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented Goose Creek tributary valleys.

Figure 9a: Detailed map of Turtle Creek-Goose Creek drainage divide area west of the South Lake Creek headwaters area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Goose Creek-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area

Figure 10: Goose Creek-Smoky Hill River drainage divide areaUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 illustrates the Goose Creek-Smoky Hill River drainage divide area south of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 9. Note the north-south oriented county and state line near the figure 10 west edge. The Smoky Hill River flows in an east-northeast direction near the figure 10 south edge (in the figure 10 southeast quadrant). Goose Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 10 northwest corner to the figure 10 northeast quadrant and then flows in a south-southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River near the figure 10 east edge. Note southeast oriented Smoky Hill River tributaries including Rattlesnake Gulch and Willow Creek and the southeast oriented Goose Creek tributary north of Rattlesnake Gulch. These southeast-oriented tributaries are linked by shallow through valleys with the Goose Creek valley to the north and northwest. Perhaps one of the more interesting through valleys is located on the hill west of the southeast-oriented Rattlesnake Gulch headwaters. Two small knobs on that hilltop indicate a through valley crosses that hilltop. Northwest of the through valley in figure 10 is a rather significant depression, which appears to be a sinkhole, although another explanation is possible. The through valley is easier to see on more detailed maps and figure 10a below provides a more detailed map of that hilltop. Rattlesnake Creek headwaters in figure 10a are located in section 22 and the northwest-southeast oriented through valley eroded across the hilltop is also located in section 22. As can be seen in figure 10 the hill is one of the highest features in the region, although higher elevations are found in the Mount Sunflower area near the figure 10 west edge. The fact the through valley crosses what is today one of the highest features in the region is evidence flood waters originally flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 10 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Smoky Hill River valley lowered the regional base level, and the figure 10 map area was then further sculpted as flood waters eroded the region. Headward erosion of the deep Goose Creek valley beheaded southeast- and south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding Smoky Hill River tributary valleys and flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode short north-oriented Goose Creek tributary valleys and create the Goose Creek-Smoky Hill River drainage divide.

Figure 10a: Detailed map of through valley crossing hilltop west of Rattlesnake Creek headwaters. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

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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