Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan Counties, Kansas consists of the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide, the Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide, the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide, the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide, and the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide. These drainage divides are oriented in an east-northeast direction and are crossed by multiple shallow north-south oriented through valleys. The shallow through valleys and drainage divide orientations provide evidence the South Fork Solomon River valley, the Bow Creek valley, the North Fork Solomon River valley, the Prairie Dog Creek valley, the Sappa Creek valley, and the Beaver Creek valley eroded headward into the Sheridan, Decatur, and Red Willow County area in the sequence listed to capture massive south-oriented flood flow and to divert the flood waters east and east-northeast to what were then the newly eroded Solomon River valley and newly eroded Republican River valley (Prairie Dog Creek, Sappa Creek, and Beaver Creek valleys). Headward erosion of each listed valley beheaded flood flow to what was then the newly eroded valley immediately to the south. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Republican River valley north of Beaver Creek in Red Willow County beheaded all south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley.

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 Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan 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 Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon 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 Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan Counties, Kansas location map. The figure 1 map area shows an area of southwest Nebraska and an area of northwest Kansas with Colorado being the state located along the figure 1 west edge. The east-oriented Platte River is located in the figure 1 northeast quadrant and flows from Lexington to Kearney, Nebraska before flowing to the figure 1 east edge. East of the figure 1 map area the Platte River flows in a northeast and southeast direction to join the south-southeast oriented Missouri River along the Nebraska east border. The Missouri River then flows in a south-southeast direction to Kansas City, Missouri where it joins the east-oriented Kansas River and then flows in an east-southeast direction across Missouri to join the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Republican River flows in an east-northeast, southeast, and east direction from the Nebraska southwest corner (just north of the Nebraska-Kansas border) to the figure 1 east edge and east of figure 1 turns to flow in south-southeast, east, and south-southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River. Beaver Creek is a Republican River tributary originating in the figure 1 southwest corner and flowing in a northeast direction to Atwood and Cedar Bluffs, Kansas and then in an east-northeast direction to Danbury, Lebanon, Wilsonville, and Beaver City, Nebraska before joining the Republican River near Orleans, Nebraska. South of Beaver Creek are two other named northeast-oriented Republican River tributaries. Sappa Creek flows from the figure 1 southwest quadrant to join Beaver Creek near Stamford, Nebraska and Prairie Dog Creek flows from the figure 1 southwest quadrant to join the Republican River at Harlan County Lake. South of Prairie Dog Creek is the east-northeast and east oriented North Fork Solomon River, which flows from the figure 1 southwest quadrant to New Almelo, Lenora, Logan and Kirwin, Kansas before flowing to the figure 1 east edge. The east-northeast oriented South Fork Solomon River is located south of the North Fork and flows from the figure 1 southwest quadrant to Studley, Hill City, and Stockton, Kansas before flowing to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the North and South Forks join to form the southeast-oriented Solomon River, which flows to the east-oriented Kansas River. Topographic maps in this essay follow the Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide south from the Danbury, Nebraska area to the Hoxie, Kansas area and illustrate the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide, the Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide, the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide, and the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively have presented 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. The South Fork Solomon River valley, North Fork Solomon River valley, Prairie Dog Creek valley, Sappa Creek valley, Beaver Creek valley, and Republican River valley eroded headward across the figure 1 map area in the sequence mentioned to capture the south-oriented south-oriented flood flow and to divert the flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley.

Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 2 provides a detailed location map for the Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Red Willow County, Nebraska and Decatur and Sheridan Counties, Kansas. Hitchcock, Red Willow, and Furnas are Nebraska county names and county boundaries are shown. Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Thomas, and Sheridan are Kansas county names. Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 2 west edge to the Rawlins County southwest corner, across Rawlins County to the Decatur County northwest corner, and then into the Red Willow County southeast corner before flowing into Furnas County and to the figure 2 northeast corner. South of Beaver Creek is northeast-oriented Sappa Creek which also flows in a northeast direction to Oberlin in Decatur County and then to the Decatur County northeast corner and the Norton County northwest corner before flowing into southern Furnas County and to the figure 2 east edge. South of Sappa Creek is northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek, which flows into the Decatur County southwest corner and then to Jennings in southeast Decatur County before flowing to Norton in Norton County and then to the figure 2 east edge. Beaver Creek, Sappa Creek, and Prairie Dog Creek as shown in figure 1 are all Republican River tributaries and join the Republican River east of the figure 2 map area. South of Prairie Dog Creek is the east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River, which flows across northern Sheridan County and the Decatur County southeast corner before entering southern Norton County and flowing to the figure 2 east edge. South of the North Fork Solomon River is the east-northeast and east oriented South Fork Solomon River, which is located near the figure 2 south edge in Sheridan County. Between the North and South Forks Solomon River is east-northeast oriented South Bow Creek and Bow Creek. The North and South Forks of the Solomon River join east of the figure 2 map area to form the Solomon River. Topographic maps in this essay begin by looking at the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide area south of Danbury and Lebanon in southeast Red Willow County and northeast Decatur County. Next the Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area south and east of Oberlin in Decatur County is illustrated. Then the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south and east of Dresden and Jennings in southeast Decatur County and northern Sheridan County is show. Finally the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area east of Hoxie in Decatur County is depicted. Evidence shown on the topographic maps strongly suggests the major east-oriented valleys were eroded headward in an identifiable sequence from south to north to capture multiple south-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a large-scale south-oriented flood eroded anastomosing channel complex.

Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide area in southeast Red Willow County, Nebraska and northern Decatur County, Kansas. Danbury is the town located in the figure 3 northwest quadrant and Lebanon is the town located in the figure 3 northeast quadrant. Beaver Creek is located in the figure 3 north half and flows from the figure 3 west edge to Danbury and Lebanon before flowing to the figure 3 north edge (near the northeast corner). Sappa Creek is located in the figure 3 southeast quadrant and flows from the figure 3 south center edge to the figure 3 east edge (south half). Note the southeast and south-southeast oriented Sappa Creek tributaries from the north. Also note the north and north-northwest oriented Beaver Creek tributaries from the south. Further, note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking many of the north-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valleys with the south oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys. Figure 4 provides a detailed map of drainage divide area to better illustrate the north-south oriented through valleys. The north- and south-oriented tributary valleys and the shallow through valleys linking those opposing tributary valleys provide evidence the deep Sappa Creek valley eroded headward into the figure 3 map region to capture flood flow moving along multiple south or southeast oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in south or southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex. The southeast and south oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys eroded headward along the southeast and/or south oriented flood flow channels from what was then the newly eroded Sappa Creek valley wall. At that time the Beaver Creek valley did not exist and flood waters flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide. Headward erosion of the Beaver Creek 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 flow north to the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley. Because flood flow channels were anastomosing reversed flow in newly beheaded flood flow channels could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. With aid of such captured flood flow reversed flood waters eroded north-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valleys and created the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Beaver Creek-Sappa 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 Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Note locations of sections 36 and 31 on both figure 3 and figure 4. North-oriented drainage in the figure 4 north half flows to Beaver Creek. South-oriented drainage in the figure 4 south half flows to Sappa Creek. Note shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valleys with the south-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys. The map contour interval is ten feet and the through valley floors are generally less than fifty feet lower than elevations of hill tops on either side. While the through valleys are shallow they do provide evidence of drainage routes which preceded the present day deep east-northeast oriented Beaver Creek valley. The figure 4 map area illustrates at least eight such north-south oriented through valleys and many more such through valleys are found along the drainage divide to the east and west of figure 4. The multiple through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys. South-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys were eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded and deep Sappa Creek valley, which had eroded headward into the region to capture the south-oriented flood flow and to divert the captured flood waters to the newly eroded Republican River valley east of the figure 4 map area (at that time the deep Republican River valley had not eroded headward across the region north of figures 3 and 4). Headward erosion of the Beaver Creek valley then beheaded in sequence from east to west the south-oriented flood flow channels to the actively eroding south-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley. With the aid of captured flood flow from yet to beheaded flood flow channels further to the west the reversed flow eroded north-oriented Beaver Creek tributary valleys and created the Beaver Creek-Sappa Creek drainage divide. Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley north of the figure 3 map area repeated the process and is described in the Republican River-Beaver Creek drainage divide area in Hitchcock and Red Willow Counties, Nebraska and Rawlins and Decatur Counties, Kansas essay (found under Republican River on sidebar category list).

Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area located south and slightly west of the figure 3 map area (there is no overlap). Oberlin, Kansas is the town located in the figure 5 northwest corner. Kanona is the much smaller town located in the figure 5 north center area. Northeast-oriented Sappa Creek can be seen flowing across the figure 5 northwest corner and northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek can be seen flowing across the figure 5 southeast corner. Big Timber Creek originates in the figure 5 southwest quadrant and flows in an east and southeast direction to the figure 5 south center area where it turns to flow in a northeast direction before turning to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 5 east edge and to join Prairie Dog Creek just east of the figure 5 southeast corner. Note north-northwest oriented Sappa Creek tributaries, southeast and south-southeast oriented Big Timber Creek tributaries, shorter north-northwest oriented Big Timber Creek tributaries, and south-southeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributaries. Also note north-northwest to south-southeast oriented shallow through valleys linking north-northwest oriented Big Timber Creek tributary valleys with south-southeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys and north-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys with south-south-southeast oriented Big Timber Creek tributary valleys (best seen in the Kanona area). Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Kanona area to better illustrate the through valleys. The tributary orientations and through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-southeast oriented flood flow channels that once moved large quantities of flood water to were actively eroding south-southeast oriented tributary valleys eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Big Timber Creek valley (from the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley) beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow channels to some actively eroding Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Big Timber Creek tributary valleys and to create the Big Timber Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide. Next headward erosion of the deep Sappa Creek valley beheaded  south-oriented flood flow channels to south-oriented tributary valleys which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Big Timber Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys and to create the Sappa Creek-Big Timber drainage divide.

Detailed map of Sappa Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 provides a detailed map of the Sappa Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area near Kanona, Kansas which was seen in less detail in figure 5 above. Kanona is located in the figure 6 southwest quadrant. The Sappa Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide extends in a northeast direction from the figure 6 southwest corner to the figure 6 north edge near the figure 6 northeast corner. North and north-northwest oriented streams north of the drainage divide flow to Sappa Creek north of the figure 6 map area. South and south-southeast oriented streams south of the drainage divide flow to Big Timber Creek, which in turn flows to Prairie Dog Creek. Note the shallow north-south oriented through valleys crossing the drainage divide. The through valleys are shallow compared to depths of the north- and south-oriented valleys on either side. However the through valleys exist and they provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large volumes of flood water south to what were then actively eroding south and south-southeast oriented Big Timber Creek tributary valleys. The tributary valleys had eroded north from what was then the newly eroded Big Timber Creek valley. At that time the deep Sappa Creek and Beaver Creek valleys north of the figure 6 map area did not exist. The Big Timber Creek valley eroded headward into the region from the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley to capture the south-oriented flood flow, which had been moving to what was then the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley (see figure 5 above). Following Big Timber Creek valley headward erosion the deep Sappa Creek valley eroded headward across the region north of the figure 6 map area to capture the south-oriented flood flow and beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and northwest to the newly eroded and deep Sappa Creek valley. With the aid of yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west reversed flood flow in newly beheaded flood flow channels eroded the north and north-northwest oriented Sappa Creek tributary valleys. Soon thereafter the process was repeated as the deep Beaver Creek valley eroded headward further to the north.

Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 7: Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area. Dresden, Kansas is the town located in the figure 7 west center area. Jennings is the town located east of the figure 7 north center area. The North Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 7 south center edge across the figure 7 southeast quadrant to the figure 7 east edge. Prairie Dog Creek is the east-northeast stream located north of Dresden and flowing to Jennings and the figure 7 north edge. An unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary flows from the figure 7 southwest corner area (and south of Dresden) to join Prairie Dog Creek near the figure 7 north center. Note southeast and south-southeast oriented tributaries to Prairie Dog Creek, the unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary, and the North Fork Solomon River. Also note north and north-northwest oriented tributaries to all three of east-northeast and northeast oriented larger streams. Through valleys are not as obvious on some drainage divide segments as in previous figures suggesting the figure 7 drainage divides may have been eroded more by south-oriented sheet flow rather than by south-oriented anastomosing flood flow channels.However northwest-southeast shallow through valleys can be seen linking southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys with north-northwest oriented tributaries to the unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary. Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of this drainage divide to better illustrate the through valleys. Also northwest-southeast oriented shallow through valleys can be seen southwest of Dresden linking north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributaries with the unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valley. Based on the major east-northeast and northeast oriented valley positions and orientations, the tributary valley orientations and alignments, and the shallow through valleys present the figure 7 drainage history is consistent with the previously determined drainage history. Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley in the figure 7 map region first captured the south-oriented flood flow and southeast and south-southeast oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Next headward erosion of the Prairie Dog Creek-unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley beheaded and reversed flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding southeast and southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Finally headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley (north of Dresden) beheaded and reversed flood flow to the newly eroded unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley (located south of Dresden).

Detailed map of northeast-oriented unnamed Prairie Dog Creek tributary-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of northeast-oriented unnamed Prairie Dog Creek tributary-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the northeast-oriented unnamed Prairie Dog Creek tributary-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. The figure 8 map area is located southeast of Dresden. The unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary is located in the figure 8 northeast corner area, where it flows in an east-northeast and north direction. Note north and north-northwest tributaries to the unnamed northeast-oriented tributary. Southeast and south-southeast oriented figure 8 valleys drain to the east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River located south of the figure 8 map area. Note shallow north-south oriented through valleys in sections 31, 29, 21, and 22 linking north-oriented tributary valleys with south-oriented tributary valleys. Through valleys in the figure 8 map area are not as deep as through valleys seen in previous figures (e.g. figure 4), although the through valleys are definitely present. The through valleys and the north- and south-oriented tributary valley alignments and orientations all provide evidence the deep North Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward into the figure 7 map region to capture massive south-oriented flood flow moving on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figures 7 and 8 elevations today. The south-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys then eroded headward (or north) from the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Next headward erosion of Prairie Dog Creek-unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valley captured the south-oriented flood flow. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valley. The reversal of flood flow eroded the figure 8 north-oriented tributary valleys (to the unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valley) and created the present day drainage divide between the unnamed northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary and the east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River.

North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 9: North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 9 illustrates the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of the figure 7 map area. Hoxie, Kansas is the town located in the figure 9 southwest corner. Studley is the smaller town located on the Sheridan-Graham County boundary near the figure 9 southeast corner. Tasco is the even smaller town located midway between Hoxie and Studley in the figure 9 south center edge are. The South Fork Solomon River flows in a northeast direction from the figure 9 south center edge to Tasco and then in an east direction to Studley and the figure 9 east edge. The east-oriented tributary flowing from west of Hoxie to join the South Fork Solomon River near Tasco is Sand Creek. South Bow Creek is a North Fork Solomon River tributary flowing from the figure 9 west center edge in an east, southeast, east-northeast, and northeast direction to join east-oriented Bow Creek in the figure 9 east center area. Bow Creek then flows in an east direction to the figure 9 east edge. East of figure 9 Bow Creek flows for a considerable distance parallel to the North Fork Solomon River before finally joining the North Fork Solomon River at Kirwin Reservoir (see figure 1). The east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River is located in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Note southeast and south-southeast oriented tributaries to the east-oriented Sand Creek-South Fork Solomon River valley. Also note south-southeast oriented tributaries to the Bow Creek valley and southeast-oriented tributaries to the valley of South Bow Creek in the figure 9 west half. Note also north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Shallow through valleys can be seen crossing the drainage divides, although some of the divide areas appear to have been eroded by sheet flow. Figure 10 below provides a detailed map of the South Bow Creek-Sand Creek drainage divide area north and east of Hoxie to better illustrate the through valleys. Figure 9 drainage history begins with headward erosion of the South Fork Solomon River valley into the region to capture massive south-oriented flood flow. The east-oriented Sand Creek valley then eroded headward from the South Fork Solomon River valley and beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what was then the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley south of the figure 9 map area. Southeast and south-southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Sand Creek-South Fork Solomon River valley. Next headward erosion of the Bow Creek and South Bow Creek valleys beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding Sand Creek and South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. South and south-southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Bow Creek valley (and its east-oriented tributary valley). Finally North Fork Solomon River valley headward erosion beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding Bow Creek and South Bow Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of South Bow Creek-Sand Creek drainage divide area

Figure 10: Detailed map of South Bow Creek-Sand Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the South Bow Creek-Sand Creek drainage divide area north and east of Hoxie, which was seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Hoxie is the town located in the figure 10 southwest corner. Sand Creek is the east oriented stream located along the figure 10 south edge. South Bow Creek flows in a southeast, east, and northeast direction near the figure 10 north edge. Note the south-southeast Sand Creek tributary valleys and the absence of any significant north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Note also in sections 1 and 6 shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the southeast, east , and northeast oriented South Bow Creek valley with south-southeast oriented Sand Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved south-oriented flood waters to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented Sand Creek tributary valleys. The tributary valleys were eroding headward from what was then the newly eroded and deep east-oriented Sand Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley to capture south-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the South Bow Creek valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to the actively eroding Sand Creek tributary valleys. Interestingly the South Bow Creek valley does not have significant north-oriented tributary valleys in the figure 10 map area. The northeast-oriented South Bow Creek valley segment in the figure 10 northeast quadrant may have developed when flood flow was reversed by headward erosion of the South Bow Creek valley north of the figure 10 northeast corner. The lengthy south-southeast oriented Sand Creek tributary valleys may have been eroded by south-oriented flood water that continued to spill south even after headward erosion of the South Bow Creek valley. Or, maybe for some other reason headward erosion of the South Bow Creek valley did not result in the same type of flood flow reversal seen further to the north. But, for some reason flood waters on north ends of beheaded south-southeast oriented flood flow channels did not reverse flow direction to erode significant north-oriented South Bow Creek tributary valleys. In spite of the lack of evidence for significant flood flow reversals the through valleys do provide evidence of the multiple south-southeast oriented flood flow routes.

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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