Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area landform origins in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska, USA

· Nebraska, Republican River
Authors

Abstract:

The Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska was eroded by immense southeast and south-southeast oriented floods. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and originally flowed across southwest Nebraska and into Kansas and then further south to the Gulf of Mexico. Headward erosion of what was then the east-northeast, east-southeast, and southeast oriented Republican River valley captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. South-southeast and southeast oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Republican River valley along and across southeast and south-southeast oriented flood flow routes to more efficiently move flood waters to the Republican River valley. Headward erosion of the east-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek valley then beheaded flood flow channels to these actively eroding southeast and south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes present day Republican River and Frenchman Creek tributary valley orientations and shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking south-oriented Republican River tributary valleys with north-oriented Frenchman Creek tributaries (and with north-oriented tributaries to other east-southeast and east oriented Republican River tributaries or tributary segments).

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is one of a series of essays describing similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored deep glacial erosion paradigm, which is fundamentally different from most commonly accepted North American glacial history interpretations. 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 Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area landform origins in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska, 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 Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area landform origins in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm. This essay is included in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essay collection.

Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Frenchman Creek-Republican 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 Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska location map. Nebraska is the state in the figure 1 northern area (North Platte is a city in Nebraska. Colorado is the state located south of the Nebraska Panhandle (Fort Morgan is located in Colorado). Kansas is the state located south of Nebraska and east of Colorado. The South Fork Republican River originates in Colorado in the figure 1 southwest quadrant and flows in a northeast direction to join the North Fork Republican River near Benkelman in the Nebraska southwest corner. The North Fork Republican River originates near Wray, Colorado (just west of the Nebraska southwest corner) and flows in a northeast and southeast direction to Haigler, Nebraska in the Nebraska southwest corner. At Haigler the North Fork Republican River is joined by the much longer northeast oriented Arikaree River and from Haigler the North Fork Republican River flows in an east direction to join the South Fork Republican River at Benkelman. From Benkelman the Republican River flows in an east-northeast direction to Holbrook and Arapahoe, Nebraska. From Arapahoe the Republican River flows in a southeast and east direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Republican River flows in an east and southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River, which joins the Missouri River at Kansas City, Missouri. The Missouri River flows in a south-southeast direction east of the figure 1 map area to join the Kansas River at Kansas City and then turns to flow in a more easterly direction to join the south-oriented Mississippi River near Saint Louis, Missouri. Frenchman Creek is an east-southeast oriented Republican River tributary, which originates just east of Sterling, Colorado and which joins the Republican River near Culbertson, Nebraska. North and west of Frenchman Creek is the northeast and east oriented South Platte River, which flows from Fort Morgan to Sterling, Colorado, and Ogallala, Nebraska before joining the southeast oriented North Platte River near North Platte. The Platte River then flows in a southeast direction from North Platte to Kearney, near the figure 1 east center edge. East of figure 1 the Platte River flows in a northeast, east, south, and east direction to join the south-southeast oriented Missouri River. Thee South Platte River-Frenchman Creek drainage divide area essay addressed a nearby drainage divide and can be found under Republican River or South Platte River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays published  on this website present substantial evidence for massive southeast and south oriented floods, which once moved across the figure 1 map area. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. The Republican River valley and its tributary valleys eroded headward into and across the figure 1 map area to capture the southeast oriented flood flow and to divert the flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. The Frenchman Creek valley eroded headward from the newly eroded Republican River valley to capture southeast and south-oriented flood flow moving to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley and divert flood waters more efficiently to the east-oriented Republican River valley. Flood flow to what was then the actively eroding Frenchman Creek valley was beheaded by headward erosion of the South Platte River, which eroded headward from what then the newly eroded Platte River valley, which in turn had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley.

Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area detailed location mapUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 2 provides a somewhat more detailed location map for the Frenchman Creek-Republican River drainage divide area in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska. Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcoock are Nebraska county names and the county boundaries area. Colorado is west of Chase and Dundy Counties. Kansas is south of Dundy and Hitchcock Counties. Frontier and Red Willow are the Nebraska counties located east of Hayes and Hitchcock Counties. The North Fork Republican River flows in a southeast direction from Wray, Colorado (located on figure 2 west edge just north of the figure 2 southwest corner) to Haigler, Nebraska (in the Dundy County southwest corner) where the northeast-oriented Arikaree River joins it. From Haigler the North Fork Republican River flows in an east direction to Benkelman where it joins the northeast-oriented South Fork Republican River. From Benkelman the Republican River flows in an east-northeast direction into Hitchcock County and then across Red Willow County to the figure 2 east edge. Frenchman Creek flows from the figure 2 west edge (north half) in an east-southeast direction into Chase County where it flows to Champion and Enders Reservoir. Downstream from Enders Dam Frenchman Creek flows to Wauneta, Hamlet, Palisade, and Beverly before joining the Republican River near Culbertson in eastern Hitchcock County. Note how almost all Republican River tributaries from the north in Dundy and Hitchcock Counties are southeast-oriented. Included in these southeast-oriented tributaries are Muddy Creek and Indian Creek. Tributaries from the south are north-oriented with some tributaries being north-northwest oriented. Figure 2 shows few Frenchman Creek tributaries from the south of which Bobtail Creek in northwest Hitchcock County is one. Bobtail Creek flows in a southeast direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join Frenchman Creek. Frenchman Creek tributaries from the north are long and are almost all southeast-oriented. This essay illustrates landform evidence between Frenchman Creek and the Republican River in Chase, Hayes, Dundy, and Hitchcock Counties. Present day drainage routes were systematically established during a massive south and/or southeast oriented flood. Flood waters initially flowed across the entire figure 2 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest elevations today. Headward erosion of what was then a deep Republican River valley captured the south oriented flood waters and diverted the flood flow east and southeast to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Republican River valley along and across  south and southeast oriented anastomosing flood flow channels. North-oriented Republican River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the Frenchman Creek valley beheaded south and southeast oriented flood flow channels moving water to what were then actively eroding southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valleys.

Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area

Figure 3: Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area north of Trenton, Nebraska. Trenton is the town located in the figure 3 south center area. Swanson Lake is a reservoir located in the figure 3 southwest corner, which floods the Republican River valley upstream from Trenton Dam. The Republican River flows in an east-northeast direction from Trenton Dam to the figure 3 east edge. Frenchman Creek is the southeast oriented stream in the figure 3 northeast quadrant and joins the Republican River a short distance east of the figure 3 map area. Named southeast oriented Republican River tributaries west of Frenchman Creek (from east to west) are Massacre Canyon, Bush Creek (and its south oriented tributary, Hidy Canyon), Elm Creek, Macklin Canyon, and Dry Canyon. Boevau Canyon is a southeast- and northeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary located in the figure 3 north center area. Note how there are shallow northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking some of the northwest-oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valleys with some of the southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valleys. Figure 4 below provides a detailed map to better illustrate those through valleys. Figure 3 evidence describes a drainage history that began with south or southeast 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 (i. e. The Republican River valley, Frenchman Creek valley, and their tributary valleys did not exist). Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley then entered the figure 3 map area to capture the southeast-oriented flood flow. Southeast-oriented  Republican River tributary valleys eroded headward (or northwest) along flood flow channels from the newly eroded Republican River valley. At the same time the east-southeast-oriented Frenchman Creek valley eroded headward across the southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the Frenchman Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were actively eroding southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valleys (see unnamed Republican River tributary east of Massacre Canyon). The northeast-oriented Boevau Canyon valley eroded headward from the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley to capture yet to beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow west of the actively eroding Frenchman Creek valley head. The southeast-oriented Boevau Canyon headwaters provide evidence of such a capture. Headward erosion of the Boevau Canyon valley also beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding Republican River tributary valleys including the Massacre Canyon and Bush Creek valleys. Flood waters on northwest ends of the flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Boevau Canyon-Republican River drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. East-northeast oriented Boevau Canyon is located in sections 31, 32, and 33 near the figure 4 north margin. South-southeast oriented Massacre Canyon is located in sections 2 and 11 near the figure 4 east edge. South-oriented valleys in sections 7 and 8 drain to south-southeast oriented Bush Creek and the south oriented valley in the section 9 east half is the head of south oriented Hidy Canyon. Note how north oriented Boevau Canyon tributaries have northwest oriented headwaters. Also note how those northwest oriented Boevau Canyon valley tributary heads are linked by shallow through valleys with the south-southeast and south oriented Republican River tributary valley heads. For example in section 2 a through valley links a northwest-oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valley with the south-southeast oriented Massacre Canyon valley. Proceeding southwest along the drainage divide in the north center of section 10 there is a through valley linking a north-northwest oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valley with a southeast-oriented Massacre Canyon tributary valley. Further west in sections 7 and 8 there are several north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valleys with south-oriented Bush Creek headwaters valleys. While not as obvious, and perhaps debatable, there is even evidence of a shallow north-south oriented through valley in section 9 linking a northwest and north oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valley with the south oriented Hidy Canyon valley. These through valleys and the linkages they establish provide evidence of multiple south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels which once moved large volumes of flood water to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary valleys. At that time the Boevau Canyon valley did not exist, nor did the Frenchman Creek valley exist north and northwest of the figure 4 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Boevau Canyon valley from what was then the actively eroding Frenchman Creek valley head beheaded the south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels one channel at a time (from the east to the west). Flood waters on north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow to the newly eroded and deep Boevau Canyon valley and to erode the north- and northwest-oriented Boevau Canyon tributary valleys.

Bobtail Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Bobtail Creek-Republican River drainage divide area west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Palisade is the town located in the figure 5 northeast quadrant. Frenchman Creek is the east-southeast oriented stream in the figure 5 northeast quadrant and the southeast oriented tributary joining Frenchman Creek at Palisade is Stinking Water Creek. Southeast and south-southeast oriented drainage routes along the figure 5 south margin all flow to the east-oriented Republican River located south of the figure 5 map area. Southeast and northeast oriented Boevau Canyon is located near the figure 5 east center edge and drains to Frenchman Creek east of the figure 5 map area. North of Boevau Canyon is shorter southeast and northeast oriented Rogers Canyon, which also drains to Frenchman Creek. The southeast, northeast, east-southeast, and north oriented tributary joining Frenchman Creek at Palisade is Bobtail Creek. Note how Frenchman Creek tributaries from the south in the figure 5 map area begin as southeast oriented streams and then turn to flow in a northeast or north direction to Frenchman Creek. The southeast-oriented headwaters of these Frenchman Creek originated as southeast-oriented flood flow channels, which were captured by reversals of flood flow as the Frenchman Creek valley eroded headward to capture southeast- and south-oriented flood flow, which was probably moving in a south- or southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex to what were then the actively eroding southeast and south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary valleys. In the case of Bobtail Creek headward erosion of the Frenchman Creek valley beheaded a south-oriented flood flow channel moving flood water to what was then the actively eroding Boevau Canyon valley. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley. The reversed flood flow captured yet to be beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow and eroded an east-southeast oriented headward and then eroded a northeast-oriented valley headward to capture another southeast-oriented flood flow channel on the southeast-oriented Bobtail Creek headwaters alignment. In the process headward erosion of the deep Bobtail Creek valley beheaded south and south-southeast oriented flood flow channels moving flood water to what were then the actively eroding Elm Creek, Macklin Canyon, and Dry Canyon valleys.

Frenchman Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Frenchman Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 6 illustrates the Frenchman Creek-Muddy Creek drainage divide area north and west of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Enders Reservoir is the lake in the figure 6 northwest quadrant (along the figure 6 north edge) and floods the Frenchman Creek valley upstream from Enders Dam. Frenchman Creek flows in an east-southeast direction from Enders Dam to the figure 6 east edge.  Wauneta is the town located in the Frenchman Creek valley. The southeast-oriented valley in the figure 6 south center area is drained by the headwaters of southeast-oriented Muddy Creek, which flows to the Republican River (see figure 7 below). The southeast-oriented valley in the figure 6 southeast quadrant is Milken Canyon and is drained by south-southeast oriented East Muddy Creek, which flows to Muddy Creek and then to the Republican River. Note north-northwest oriented Frenchman Creek tributaries in the Enders Reservoir area and northwest-oriented tributaries to northeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributaries further to the east. Also note how the figure 6 landscape has been streamlined in a northwest to southeast direction. The northwest to southeast oriented streamlining, the southeast-oriented Republican River tributary valley orientations, and the north-northwest and northwest oriented Frenchman Creek tributary or tributary segment orientations all provide evidence the figure 6 map area was eroded by massive southeast-oriented flood flow. Flood waters flowed across the entire figure 6 map area at a time prior to Frenchman Creek valley headward erosion. At that time flood waters were probably flowing to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley located south of the figure 6 map area. Headward erosion of the deep south-southeast and southeast oriented East Muddy Creek and Muddy Creek valleys then entered the figure 6 map area. Next headward erosion of the east-southeast oriented Frenchman Creek valley and northeast-oriented Frenchman Creek tributary valleys beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow moving to the actively eroding East Muddy Creek and Muddy Creek valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north or north-northwest or even northwest to the newly eroded Frenchman Creek valley. The reversed flood flow eroded the north, north-northwest and northwest oriented Frenchman tributary valleys or valley segments.

Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide area south of the figure 6 map area. The Republican River flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 7 west edge (south half) to Swanson Lake along the figure 7 east edge (Swanson Lake floods the Republican River valley behind Trenton Dam-see figure 3). Max is the town in the Republican River valley near the figure 7 west edge and Stratton is the Republican River valley town in the figure 7 east half. Muddy Creek flows in a southeast, east, and southeast direction to join the Republican River near Stratton. East Muddy Creek flows in a south-southeast direction from the figure 7 north center edge to join Muddy Creek. Spring Branch is the south-southeast-oriented Muddy Creek tributary between southeast-oriented Muddy Creek and south-southeast oriented East Muddy Creek. Hay Canyon is the south-southeast oriented stream east of East Muddy Creek and drains to the Republican River just east of Stratton. Camp Creek is the south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary flowing to Swanson Lake. The east-southeast oriented Republican River tributary north of Max is Indian Creek, which is seen in figure 9 below.  Southeast-oriented Kelly Gulch and North Branch are the two Indian Creek tributaries located in the figure 7 northwest quadrant. Note how Republican River tributaries from the south are generally oriented in a north-northwest direction and could be considered barbed tributaries. Also note shallow through valleys crossing the Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide and also the Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide. Figure 8 below provides a detailed map of the Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valleys. Orientations of the Republican River tributaries and the shallow through valleys provide evidence the deep Republican River valley eroded headward across multiple south or south-southeast oriented flood flow channels, such as might be found in a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. North and north-northwest oriented Republican River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels.

Detailed map of Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Muddy Creek-Republican 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 Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7. The east-northeast oriented Republican River is located in the figure 8 southeast corner and the Republican River valley extends across the figure 8 south margin. Muddy Creek flows in a southeast, east, and southeast direction from the figure 8 west edge (north half) to the figure 8 east center edge. East of the figure 8 map area Muddy Creek flows to the east-northeast oriented Republican River. Southeast-oriented Spring Branch joins Muddy Creek in section 6 (near the north edge) and south-southeast oriented East Muddy Creek joins Muddy Creek in section 4. Note how the Muddy Creek-Republican River drainage divide is crossed by multiple northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. Floors of these through valleys are considerably higher than floors of the Muddy Creek and Republican River valleys, but the through valleys are well-defined and easy to identify. The through valleys were eroded by multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters to what was once the newly eroded east-northeast oriented Republican River valley. At that time the Muddy Creek valley did not exist. Headward erosion of the east-oriented Muddy Creek valley segment beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow in a north or north-northwest direction to the newly eroded Muddy Creek valley. Note also what appear to be remnants of the upland surface into which the Republican River valley, Muddy Creek valley, and tributary valleys have been eroded, especially in section 12 near the figure 8 west edge and in the section 9 area in the figure 8 east half. These upland surface remnants suggest the surface had been streamlined by flood erosion prior to headward erosion of the deep east-northeast oriented Republican River valley. In other words, flood waters probably deeply eroded the figure 8 map area prior to headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley, which triggered another cycle of deep regional flood erosion.

Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 illustrates the Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide west and south of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. The east-northeast oriented Republican River flows from the figure 9 south center edge to the figure 9 east edge (south half). Max is the town located in the Republican River valley. Indian Creek originates in the figure 9 northwest quadrant and flows in an east-southeast direction to join the Republican River downstream from Max. Named southeast-oriented Indian Creek tributaries from east to west are North Branch, Kelly Gulch, and Rock Canyon. Named south-southeast oriented Republican River tributaries in the Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide area west of Max are Hickman Canyon, Blackwater Canyon, and Cheyenne Canyon. Note also north-northwest oriented Republican River tributaries from the south. Southeast and east-northeast oriented Muddy Creek is located in the figure 9 northeast quadrant and south-southeast oriented Spring Branch is located east of Muddy Creek and East Muddy Creek can just barely be seen in the figure 9 northeast corner. Drainage routes are sparse in the figure 9 west half and the region may be underlain by sandy sediments, which have been shaped by wind activity. If so, it is possible the sandy sediments originated as flood deposited materials at a time prior to Republican River valley headward erosion. Where surface drainage routes are visible the drainage routes are consistent with the flood erosion interpretation. Prior to Republican River valley headward erosion southeast or south-southeast oriented flood waters flowed across the entire figure 9 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 9 elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and diverted the water east and southeast to what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and north-northwest and eroded what are today the north and northwest oriented Republican River tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the east-southeast oriented Indian Creek valley beheaded south-southeast oriented flood flow to what were then the actively eroding Hickman Canyon, Blackwater Canyon, Cheyenne Canyon, and other south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary valleys. Through valleys crossing the present day Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide provide evidence of the former south-southeast oriented flood flow channels. Figure 10 provides a detailed map to better illustrate the through valleys.

Detailed map of Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Indian Creek-Republican River valley drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Max is the town located near the figure 10 southeast corner and is located in the east-northeast oriented Republican River valley. The Republican River is located south of the figure 10 map area. East-southeast oriented Indian Creek is located in the figure 10 northeast quadrant. Named south-southeast oriented Republican River tributaries are (from east to west) Hickman Canyon, Blackwater Canyon, and Cheyenne Canyon (in the figure 10 southwest corner). Note how the Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide is crossed by numerous northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. Floors of these through valleys are considerably higher than floors of the Republican River valley and the Indian Creek valley, although the northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels prior to headward erosion of the Indian Creek valley. Flood flow channels were at that time moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding south-southeast tributary valleys to the newly eroded deep east-northeast oriented Republican River valley. Headward erosion of the deep east-southeast oriented Indian Creek valley beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north-northwest ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow in a north and/or north-northwest direction to the newly eroded Indian Creek valley. The reversed flood flow eroded the north and northwest oriented Indian Creek tributary valleys and created the Indian Creek-Republican River drainage divide.

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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