Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area landform origins in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties, Kansas, USA

· Kansas, Saline River, Solomon River
Authors

Abstract:

The Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties, Kansas was eroded by massive south-oriented floods. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. Initially flood waters flowed south on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Saline River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters east and southeast to what were then the newly eroded Smoky Hill, Kansas, and Missouri River valleys. South-oriented Saline River tributary valleys then eroded headward along and across south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the Solomon River-Salt Creek valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to the actively eroding Saline River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Solomon River valley (north of the Salt Creek valley) next beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to actively eroding Salt Creek tributary valleys and further west to actively eroding south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Salt Creek and Solomon River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of the Saline River valley, the Solomon River valley, their tributary valleys, and the numerous north-south oriented through valleys crossing the present day Solomon River-Saline River, Solomon River-Salt Creek, and Salt Creek-Saline River 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 Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area landform origins in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline 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 Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area landform origins in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Solomon River-Saline 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 Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties, Kansas location map and illustrates a region in north central Kansas. The Solomon River is formed at the confluence of the North Fork Solomon River and South Fork Solomon River near Cawker City (in the figure 1 north center area) and then flows in an east-southeast, south-southeast, and southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River near Solomon (east of Salina). The North Fork Solomon River flows from west of the figure 1 map area in an east-northeast and east-southeast direction to the Cawker City area while the South Fork Solomon River flows from west of the figure 1 map area in an east-northeast and east direction to the Cawker City area. South of the South Fork Solomon River and Solomon River is the east and east-southeast oriented Saline River, which joins the Smoky Hill River near Salina. North and east of the Solomon River is the Republican River, which flows in an east direction north of the figure 1 map area until it turns to flow in a south-southeast direction into the figure 1 northeast quadrant where it flows to Republic, Scandia, Concordia, Clyde, and Clay Center, Kansas. The east, east-southeast, and north-northeast Smoky Hill River is south of the Saline River and flows from west of the figure 1 map area to Salina and then in an east-northeast direction to the figure 1 east edge. The Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties s located south of the Solomon River downstream from Cawker City and north and east of the Saline River downstream from Sylvan Grove. The Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Cloud, Ottawa, Clay, and Dickinson Counties, Kansas essay and the Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas essay describe nearby drainage divide areas and can be found under Solomon River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively provide significant evidence for immense south-oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and were systematically captured by headward erosion of Missouri River tributary valleys, which eroded headward from what was then an actively eroding Missouri River valley head. In the figure 1 map area headward erosion of the Smoky Hill River valley captured the south-oriented flood water first, Next Saline River valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Smoky Hill River valley. Then Solomon River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Saline River valley. And finally Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Solomon River valley.

Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Solomon River-Saline 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 Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area in Mitchell, Lincoln, Ottawa, and Saline Counties, Kansas. Mitchell, Cloud, Clay, Lincoln, Ottawa, Ellsworth, Saline, and Dickinson are Kansas county names and the county boundaries are shown. The Smoky Hill River flows north from the figure 2 south edge to Salina and then in an east-northeast direction to Solomon, Abilene, and the figure 2 east edge (south half). The North and South Forks of the Solomon River join at Waconda Lake, a large reservoir located in the Mitchell County northwest corner. The Solomon River flows from Waconda Lake across the Cloud County southwest corner and then in a south-southeast and southeast direction across Ottawa County to join the Smoky Hill River near Solomon in the Saline County northeast corner. Salt Creek is a major southeast-oriented Solomon River tributary originating in southern Mitchell County (south of Waconda Lake) and flowing across the Lincoln County northeast corner and then into Ottawa County where it joins the Solomon River downstream from Minneapolis. Battle Creek is an east, northeast, and north oriented Salt Creek tributary in northern Lincoln County. The Saline River flows from the figure 2 west edge to Wilson Lake (just west of the Lincoln County southwest corner) and then flows in an east direction across Lincoln County before turning in a southeast direction to flow across the Ottawa County southwest corner and into Saline County where it joins the Smoky Hill River near Salina. Bacon Creek is a south-southeast oriented Saline River tributary originating in southwest Mitchell County and joining the Saline River just west of Hunter in Lincoln County. Note how many Saline River and Salt Creek tributaries are south-oriented while others are south-southeast and southeast oriented. Also note north, north-northeast, and northeast oriented Salt Creek, Battle Creek, and Solomon River tributaries. Topographic map evidence below provides detailed evidence to show how figure 2 map area valleys eroded headward in sequence to capture immense south-oriented floods. The Smoky Hill River-Saline River valley eroded headward across the figure 2 map area to capture south-oriented flood flow and to divert flood waters in an east direction to what were then the newly eroded Kansas River and Missouri River valleys. Headward erosion of the Solomon River valley from the newly eroded Smoky Hill River valley followed soon after and beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Saline River valley. The Salt Creek valley eroded headward slightly in advance of the Solomon River valley and beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Saline River valley. Solomon River valley headward erosion then beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Salt Creek valley.

Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area north of Salina, Kansas

Figure 3: Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area north of Salina, Kansas. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area north of Salina, Kansas. The north edge of the City of Salina can be seen located along the figure 3 south edge. The smaller town near the figure 3 north edge is Bennington. Bennington is located in the valley of southeast-oriented Solomon River, which flows to join the east-northeast oriented Smoky Hill River just east of the figure 3 east edge. The Saline River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 3 west center edge to join the east-northeast oriented Smoky Hill River east of Salina. The Smoky Hill River is the east-northeast oriented river in the figure 3 southeast corner. The small town near the confluence of the Saline River and Smoky Hill River is New Cambria. Note south-oriented Saline River tributaries and north-oriented Solomon River tributaries. A close look at the Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area reveals shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys with south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the drainage divide area north of Salina to better illustrate the north-south oriented through valleys. The through valleys and tributary orientations provide evidence headward erosion of the deep Solomon River valley beheaded multiple south-oriented flood flow channels moving flood water to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. The south-oriented tributary valleys had eroded headward along south-oriented flood flow channels from what was then the newly eroded and deep Saline River valley. At that time the deep Solomon River valley did not exist, although it was eroded soon thereafter. Prior to headward erosion of the deep Saline River and Solomon River valleys flood waters were flowing south on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today and were moving to what was then the newly eroded Smoky Hill River valley. Headward erosion of the Saline River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow first. Then the Solomon River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west and diverted captured flood water more directly to the Smoky Hill River valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River valley. The reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys and created the Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area north of Salina, Kansas

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

Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide area north of Salina, Kansas and illustrates an area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. North-oriented drainage routes flowing to the figure 4 north edge are Solomon River tributaries and flow to the southeast-oriented Solomon River located north of the figure 4 map area. South-oriented drainage routes flowing to the figure 4 south edge are Saline River tributaries and flow to the southeast-oriented Saline River located south of the figure 4 map area. Note numerous shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys with the south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. The map contour interval is ten feet. Floors of the deepest through valleys are 80-90 feet lower than tops of the highest hills on either side, although most through valleys are shallower. The through valleys were eroded by multiple south-oriented and anastomosing flood flow channels prior to headward erosion of the deep Solomon River valley north of the figure 4 map area. At the time the through valleys were eroded flood waters were moving to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Saline River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Solomon River valley north of the figure 4 map area then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from the east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River valley. Because channels were beheaded one channel at a time and because flood flow channels were anastomosing (or interconnected) reversed flood flow on a newly beheaded flood flow channel could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from flood flow channels further to the west. Such captures of yet to be beheaded flood flow provided water volumes required to erode significant north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys. The reversal of flood flow created the Solomon River-Saline River drainage divide.

Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide area north and west of the figure 3 map area. Minneapolis, Kansas is the town located in the figure 5 northeast corner area. The Solomon River is the southeast-oriented river flowing from the figure 5 north edge near Minneapolis to the figure 5 east edge. Salt Creek flows in an east direction along the figure 5 north edge before turning to flow parallel to the Solomon River, which it joins near the figure 5 east edge. Spring Creek is the named north-northeast oriented Salt Creek tributary located in the figure 5 northwest corner. Tescott is the small town located near the figure 5 south edge (west half) and an east-oriented Saline River segment can be seen along the figure 5 south edge near Tescott. Note how there are many unnamed north-oriented Salt Creek and Solomon River tributaries and also many south-oriented Saline River tributaries. Also note numerous well-defined north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Salt Creek and Solomon River tributary valleys with south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. These through valleys are much deeper than through valleys seen in figures 3 and 4 and figure 6 below provides a detailed map to better illustrate the figure 5 through valleys. The north-south oriented through valleys and orientations of north-oriented Salt Creek and Solomon River tributary valleys and south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys provide evidence of massive south-oriented flood flow to what was once the newly eroded Saline River valley. Prior to Saline River valley headward erosion flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 5 elevations. Headward erosion of the deep Saline River valley then captured the south-oriented flood flow and south-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Saline River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Solomon River-Salt Creek valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels one at a time from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River and Salt Creek valleys. The reversal of flood flow eroded the north-oriented Solomon River and Salt Creek tributary valleys and created the Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide area which was seen in less detail near the center of figure 5 above. North-oriented streams flowing to the figure 6 north edge are Salt Creek tributaries. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 6 south edge are Saline River tributaries. Note north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys. The deepest figure 6 through valley is located in section 29 near the figure 6 east edge. The floor of that through valley is between 1400 and 1410 feet in elevation. The adjacent hilltop in the section 30 northeast corner has an elevation of at least 1570 feet. Another deep through valley is located in the east center area of section 25. The floor of that section 25 through valley is between 1450 and 1460 feet in elevation. The hill-top to the west has a marked elevation of 1598 feet and the hilltop to the east is higher than 1580 feet. Several other deep figure 6 through valleys are also present. These through valleys were eroded by anastomosing south-oriented flood flow channels, which had been eroded into a topographic surface at least as high as the tops of the highest figure 6 hills today. The through valleys were eroded when headward erosion of the deep Saline River valley lowered the regional base level and deep south-oriented tributary valleys began to erode headward from that newly eroded deep Saline River valley. Headward erosion of those south-oriented Saline River tributary valleys was halted when headward erosion of the deep Solomon River-Salt Creek valley north of the figure 6 map area 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 flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River-Salt Creek valley. Because flood flow channels were beheaded one at a time from east to west and because flood flow channels were interconnected reversed flow in newly beheaded flood flow channels captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. With aid of this captured yet to beheaded flood flow the reversed flow was able to erode significant north-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys. The flood flow reversal also created the Salt Creek-Saline River drainage divide.

Battle Creek-Saline River drainage divide area

Figure 7: Battle Creek-Saline River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 illustrates the Battle Creek-Saline River drainage divide area west of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Lincoln is the town located in the figure 7 southwest quadrant and Beverly is the town located along the figure 7 south edge in the southeast quadrant. The Saline River flows in an east and east-southeast direction along the figure 7 south edge (west half). Battle Creek is the east-oriented stream along the figure 7 north edge (west half). North of the figure 7 map area Battle Creek turns to flow in a north-northeast direction to Salt Creek. Prosser Creek is north-oriented Battle Creek originating in BEAVER township and flowing to the figure 7 north edge. East of Prosser Creek is north-northeast oriented West Elkhorn Creek, which flows to Salt Creek. Spring Creek flows in a north-northeast and northeast direction in LOGAN township near the figure 7 east center edge. Named south-oriented Saline River tributaries from west to east are Lost Creek (west of Lincoln), Yauger Creek (joins Saline River at Lincoln), Beaver Creek, and Twelvemile Creek. Note through valleys linking north-oriented Battle Creek and Salt Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Saline River valleys. Figure 7a below provides a detailed map of through valleys in the BEAVER township area, where the highest figure 7 elevations are located. North-oriented streams in the figure 7a northwest quadrant (section 16 area) flow to Prosser Creek, which flows to Battle Creek and then to Salt Creek. North-oriented drainage in the figure 7a northeast quadrant (section 13 area) flows to West Elkhorn Creek and then to Salt Creek. South-oriented streams flowing to the figure 7a south edge are Beaver Creek tributaries and drain to the Saline River. Note how in figure 7a the high-level Prosser Creek-Beaver Creek drainage divide area in sections 16 and 15 is crossed by shallow north-south oriented through valleys eroded into the top of the highest hills shown in figure 7. Also note in the northeast corner of figure 7a’s section 23 a north-northeast to south-southwest oriented through valley linking the West Elkhorn Creek valley with the south-oriented Beaver Creek valley. Today these through valleys cross what are some of the region’s highest hills. However, the through valleys provide evidence of water eroded channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the deep Solomon River-Salt Creek-Battle Creek valley to the north of figure 7a. At the time the through valley channels were eroded multiple south-oriented flood flow channels were moving flood waters to what was then the actively eroding Beaver Creek valley. The Beaver Creek valley had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded and deep Saline River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Solomon River-Salt Creek-Battle Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented valleys.

Figure 7a: Detailed map of Prosser Creek-Beaver Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 7 map area. The southeast oriented Solomon River is located in the figure 8 northeast corner area and Asherville is just north of the figure 8 north corner edge and Simpson is located just east of the northeast corner edge. Marshall Creek is the north and northeast oriented tributary flowing from the BLOOMFIELD township area to join the Solomon River neat the figure 8 north edge. Fourth Creek is the north-oriented Solomon River tributary in LOGAN township. Leban Creek is the southeast and north oriented Solomon River tributary located in the figure 8 northwest quadrant and flowing to the figure 8 north edge. Salt Creek is located in the figure 8 southwest corner area and is flowing in a southeast direction. Fifth Creek is the south-southeast and south oriented stream in the figure 8 south center area flowing to the figure 8 south center edge and then to Salt Creek south of the figure 8 map area. East of Fifth Creek is a south-oriented Fourth Creek flowing to join Salt Creek south of the figure 8 map area. The south-oriented Fourth Creek is located approximately south of the north-oriented Fourth Creek. Note how the south-oriented Fourth Creek valley is linked by shallow through valleys with the north-oriented Fourth Creek valley and also with the north-oriented Marshall Creek valley. Further west note how the south-oriented Fifth Creek valley is linked by a through valley with the north-oriented Leban Creek valley and by a higher level through valley with the north-oriented Marshall Creek valley. The north-south oriented through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved flood waters to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys. The Salt Creek tributary valleys eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Salt Creek valley and at that time Solomon River valley headward erosion had not yet beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Solomon 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 routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River valley. The flood flow reversal eroded the north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys and created the Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide.

Walnut Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide area west and slightly north of the figure 8 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Tipton, Kansas is the town located near the figure 9 southwest corner. A meander of the east-southeast oriented Solomon River can be seen in the figure 9 northeast corner. Salt Creek flows in a northeast and east direction near the figure 9 south center edge before turning to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 9 south edge (east half). Antelope Creek and Cole Creek are the two southeast-oriented Salt Creek tributaries in the figure 9 southeast quadrant. The flooded river valley in the figure 9 northwest corner is the South Fork Solomon River where it is entering the Waconda Lake Reservoir to join the North Fork Solomon River north of the figure 9 map area. Carr Creek is the north-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary located near the figure 9 west edge. Figure 10 illustrates the Carr Creek headwaters area south of the figure 9 map area. The Waconda Lake arm located in the figure 9 north center area is the flooded valley of Walnut Creek, which flows from the figure 9 south center area to join the Solomon River north of the figure 9 map area. Note how the north-oriented Walnut Creek valley is linked by a through valley with the Salt Creek valley. East of north-oriented Walnut Creek is north-oriented Little Walnut Creek, which also flows to the Solomon River. Note how the north-oriented Little Walnut Creek valley is linked by shallow through valleys with the south-southeast oriented Antelope Creek valley. Turkey Creek is the north-northeast oriented Solomon River tributary in the figure 9 northeast quadrant. Note how the north-oriented Turkey Creek valley is linked by shallow through valleys with an unnamed south-oriented Salt Creek tributary valley. The through valleys provide further evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved flood waters across the figure 9 map area. At the time the through valleys were eroded the deep Solomon River valley north of the figure 9 map area had not been eroded. Flood waters were moving to what were then the actively eroding Salt Creek valley and its actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys (which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Salt Creek valley). Headward erosion of the Solomon River-South Fork Solomon 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 erode north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys and to create the Solomon River-Salt Creek drainage divide.

Salt Creek-Bacon Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Salt Creek-Bacon Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 illustrates the Salt Creek-Bacon Creek drainage divide area located south of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 9. Salt Creek originates in the figure 10 north center area and flows in an east, northeast, east and southeast direction to the figure 10 northeast corner area and east edge. Carr Creek is the north-oriented stream in the figure 10 northwest quadrant. Hunter is the town located in the figure 10 south center area. The south-southeast oriented stream at Hunter is Bacon Creek, which is a Saline River tributary. The North Branch Spillman Creek is located in the figure 10 southwest corner area and flows in southeast direction to join Bacon Creek south of the figure 10 map area. Note how the southeast-oriented North Branch Spillman Creek valley is linked by a through valley with the north-oriented Carr Creek valley. Also note how the south-southeast oriented Bacon Creek valley is linked by a through valley with the north-oriented Carr Creek valley (the railroad is located in the through valley). Further note north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Salt Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Bacon Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels eroded prior to headward erosion of the deep Salt Creek and Solomon River valleys. Prior to headward erosion of the deep Saline River valley south of the figure 10 map area flood waters flowed south across the entire figure 10 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 10 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Saline River valley enabled deep south-oriented tributary valleys to erode along and across the south-oriented anastomosing flood channels. Headward erosion of the deep Salt Creek valley then beheaded and reversed flood flow channels in the eastern half of the figure 10 map area. Next as seen in figure 9 Solomon River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels supplying flood water to what was then the actively eroding Salt Creek valley and then beheaded south-oriented flood flow on what is now the north-oriented Carr Creek valley alignment. That south-oriented Carr Creek alignment flood flow had been moving to what were then the actively eroding Bacon Creek and North Branch Spillman Creek valleys. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Solomon River valley. The reversed flood flow captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west (see east-oriented Carr Creek headwaters along the figure 10 west edge). The reversed flood flow with aid of the captured yet to be beheaded flood water eroded the north-oriented Carr Creek 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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