Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas Counties, Kansas is today drained by parallel northeast and east oriented Republican and Solomon River tributaries. The entire drainage divide region was eroded by massive south and southeast oriented floods, with flood water probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. Determinable drainage history of the region began when flood waters created the present day erosion surface. Just prior to headward erosion of the northeast and east oriented Republican River and Solomon River tributary valleys flood waters were moving in a southeast direction to what was then the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley. Headward erosion of the South Fork Solomon River valley, the North Fork Solomon River valley, and the Prairie Dog Creek valley into the drainage divide area ceased when South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion captured all of the southeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the South Fork Sappa Creek valley then ceased when Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion captured the flood flow. Middle Fork Sappa Creek and North Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion ceased when Beaver Creek valley headward erosion captured the southeast-oriented flood flow. Finally Little Beaver Creek headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to 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 Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas 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 Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

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

Figure 1: Little 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 Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area location map. The figure 1 map area shows an area in northwest Kansas, an area of southwest Nebraska, and a thin strip of northeast Colorado west of Kansas and Nebraska. The Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area is entirely located in northwest Kansas, although Little Beaver Creek flows to northeast-oriented Beaver Creek, which flows to the east-oriented Republican River in southern Nebraska. The Republican River flows in an east-northeast, southeast, and east direction just north of the Nebraska-Kansas state line. East of the figure 1 map area the Republican River turns to flow in a southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River. Major northeast-oriented Republican River tributaries in northwest Kansas are Prairie Dog Creek, Sappa Creek, and Beaver Creek, with Little Beaver Creek being a Beaver Creek tributary. South of the Republican River drainage basin is the Solomon River drainage basin. Major Solomon River tributaries in northwest Kansas are the North and South Forks of the Solomon River. The North Fork flows in an east-northeast and east direction from the figure 1 southwest quadrant to the figure 1 east edge. The South Fork originates in almost the same location as the North Fork and flows in an east and east-northeast direction 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 est-oriented Kansas River. Study of figure 1 reveals Prairie Dog Creek, the North Fork Solomon River, and the South Fork Solomon River along with some Sappa Creek tributaries all originate in approximately the same area, then flow in diverging directions before finally flowing to the Kansas River (east and south of the figure 1 map area). The Republican River-Little Beaver Creek drainage divide area in Dundy and Hitchcock Counties, Nebraska and Cheyenne and Rawlins Counties, Kansas and the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne Counties, Kansas essays describe nearby drainage divide areas and can be found under Republican River or Solomon River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively present significant evidence for immense south and/or southeast oriented floods which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. The present day Missouri River drainage systems evolved as valleys eroded headward in sequence from what was then the actively eroding Missouri River valley. In the case of figure 1 the South Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward into the figure 1 map to capture the south-oriented flood flow and divert the flood waters to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley. Next Prairie Dog Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Then Sappa Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley. Beaver Creek valley headward erosion next beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Sappa Creek valley. etc.

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

Figure 2: Little 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 Little Beaver Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas Counties, Kansas. Cheyenne, Rawlins, Sherman, and Thomas are northwest Kansas county names and county boundaries are shown. Colorado is west of Cheyenne and Sherman Counties and Nebraska is north of Cheyenne and Rawlins Counties. The South Fork Republican River flows in a northeast direction from Bonny Reservoir (near the figure 2 west center edge) across Cheyenne County to Benkelman, Nebraska where it joins the east oriented North Fork Republican River. Little Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction across the Sherman County northwest corner and then in an east-northeast and northeast direction across south central and southeast Cheyenne County and into Rawlins County where it joins northeast-oriented Beaver Creek near Atwood in central Rawlins County. Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction across northern Sherman County to the Cheyenne County southeast corner and Rawlins County southwest corner and then in a northeast direction to join Little Beaver Creek near Atwood. From Atwood Beaver Creek continues to flow in northeast direction to the Decatur County, Kansas northwest corner and then into Nebraska in the figure 2 northeast corner, where it joins the east-oriented Republican River north and east of the figure 2 map area. The Middle Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction from near Goodland in central Sherman County across the Thomas County northwest corner and then across the Rawlins County southeast quadrant before flowing into Decatur County and to the figure 2 east edge (north half). East and north of figure 2 Sappa Creek joins the east-oriented Republican River. The northeast-oriented North Fork Sappa Creek originates in southeast Cheyenne County and is located north and west of the Middle Fork and joins the Middle Fork near Achilles in eastern Rawlins County. The South Fork Sappa Creek originates in eastern Sherman County and flows in a northeast direction across the Thomas County northwest corner and joins the northeast-oriented Middle Fork east of the figure 2 map area. Prairie Dog Creek originates in Thomas County south and west of Colby and flows in a northeast direction to Colby, the Sheridan County northwest corner, and then to the figure 2 east edge. East and north of the figure 2 map area Prairie Dog Creek flows to the Republican River. The North Fork Solomon River originates a short distant south of where Prairie Dog Creek originates in Thomas County and then flows in an east-northeast direction south of Colby to the figure 2 east edge. The South Fork Solomon River originates in eastern Sherman County and flows in an east direction across southern Thomas County to the figure 2 east edge. East of figure 2 the North and South Forks of the Solomon River join to form to the southeast-oriented Solomon River, which flows to the east-oriented Kansas River. North and east of the Solomon River is the east- and southeast-oriented Republican River, which also flows to the Kansas River. All figure 2 drainage routes, while originating in the same general region flow in diverging directions to eventually all end up in the same Kansas River.

Prairie Dog Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 3: Prairie Dog Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of Colby, Kansas. Colby is the town located along the figure 3 north center edge. Prairie Dog Creek is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 3 northwest quadrant. The North Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast to northeast direction from the figure 3 west edge to the figure 3 northeast quadrant and east edge. Near the figure 3 south edge the South Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast, east-southeast, and east-northeast direction from the figure 3 west edge to the figure 3 east edge. The figure 3 map area drainage history begins with southeast-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 3 map area to form a southeast-oriented and gently sloping topographic surface. There are no markers to indicate how much material flood waters removed prior to creating the present day topographic surface and it possible flood waters were depositing more sediments than were being removed. Valleys of the east-northeast and northeast oriented streams and rivers have been eroded into the southeast-oriented erosion surface. The South Fork Solomon River has several southeast-oriented tributaries. Some of those tributary valleys are linked by shallow through valleys with the North Fork Solomon River valley. The through valleys while shallow are water eroded features and provide evidence of multiple channels of flood water that once flowed to what were then actively eroding southeast-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the east-northeast and northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River valley then beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley, probably along southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley (and its northeast-oriented tributary valley at Colby) then beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Flood flow on newly beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys and to create the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide.

Middle Fork Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Middle Fork Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 4 illustrates the Middle Fork Sappa Creek-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area north of Colby and north of the figure 3 map area (and includes overlap areas with figure 3). Colby is the town located near the figure 4 south center edge. The Middle Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction across the figure 4 northwest corner. The South Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 4 southwest corner to the figure 4 northeast corner. Prairie Dog Creek is the northeast-oriented stream flowing from west of Colby to Colby and then to the figure 4 east center edge. Note southeast-oriented tributaries to the Middle Fork Sappa Creek, the South Fork Sappa Creek, and Prairie Dog Creek. Also note shorter north and north-northwest oriented tributaries to all three of the major northeast-oriented streams. The northeast-oriented stream valleys have again been eroded into a gently sloping topographic surface, which was formed prior to headward erosion of the present day northeast-oriented stream valleys. At the time the northeast-oriented stream valleys were eroded flood waters were flowing in a southeast direction across the entire figure 4 map area to what was then the newly North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley captured the flood flow and diverted the flood water northeast to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley. Southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley while north and north-northwest oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Next headward erosion of the South Fork Sappa Creek valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley. Again flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented tributary valleys while southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded South Fork Sappa Creek valley. Next headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Middle Sappa Creek valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded South Sappa Creek valley. The same process was repeated with flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversing flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented tributary valleys while southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley.

Little Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: Little Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 5 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Little Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 4 map area (there is no overlap area). The Middle Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction across the figure 5 southeast corner. The North Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 5 south edge (west half) and then turns to flow in an east direction to the figure 5 east center edge. Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 5 west edge (south half) to the figure 5 north edge. Little Beaver Creek is the northeast-oriented stream flowing across the figure 5 northwest corner. Note southeast-oriented tributaries to Middle Fork Sappa Creek, North Fork Sappa Creek, Beaver Creek, and Little Beaver Creek. Also note north and north-northwest oriented tributaries to those same streams. The figure 5 drainage history is similar to the drainage histories described for figures 3 and 4. Prior to headward erosion of the present day northeast-oriented streams flood waters formed the regional topographic surface and flowed in a southeast direction across the entire figure 5 map area. Flood flow was moving to what was then the newly eroded South Sappa Creek valley located south and east of the figure 5 map area. Headward erosion of the Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley then captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and southeast-oriented tributary valleys began to erode headward from the newly eroded Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented Middle Fork Sappa Creek tributary valleys. Next headward erosion of the North Fork Sappa Creek repeated the process. Headward erosion of the deeper northeast-oriented Beaver Creek then beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded North Fork Sappa Creek valley while flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented Beaver Creek tributary valleys. The Little Beaver Creek valley then eroded headward from the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley (north and east of the figure 5 map area) and beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and northwest oriented Little Beaver Creek valleys while southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded valley.

South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 6: South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 6 illustrates the South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Brewster is the town located in the figure 6 northwest quadrant and Levant is the town located near the figure 6 north edge in the northeast quadrant. The South Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 6 west center edge to the figure 6 north center edge. The east-northeast oriented stream north of Brewster is an unnamed South Fork Sappa Creek tributary. Note north-northwest oriented South Fork Sappa Creek tributaries and also shorter southeast-oriented tributaries. Prairie Dog Creek originates in the figure 6 center area and flows in an east-northeast direction to the figure 6 east edge (north half). The North Fork Solomon River originates three miles south of the Prairie Dog Creek origin (just east of the figure 6 south center area) and flows in an east-northeast direction to the figure 6 east edge (just south of the center area). The South Fork Solomon River originates in the figure 6 southwest corner and meanders along the figure 6 south edge area before reaching the figure 6 east edge. The figure 6 map area is remarkable in that three separate and significant regional drainage routes originate in a relatively small area adjacent to a fourth independent regional drainage route. The South Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction to eventually reach the Republican River. Prairie Dog Creek is also a Republican River tributary, but joins the Republican River east of where Sappa Creek joins the Republican River. Between the figure 6 map area and the Republican River the two streams maintain independent, but parallel valleys. The North Fork Solomon River east of the figure 6 map area flows in an east-northeast and then southeast direction to eventually join the South Fork Solomon River and to form the southeast-oriented Solomon River. Between the figure 6 map area and where they join to form the Solomon River the North and South Forks of the Solomon River maintain independent and divergent valleys. While evidence seen in previous figures suggests the valleys eroded headward into the figure 6 map area in sequence with the South Fork Solomon River valley being first and the South Fork Sappa Creek valley being last, the figure 6 evidence is hard to explain unless all valleys eroded into the figure 6 map area at approximately the same time. Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley ceased when headward erosion of the Prairie Dog Creek valley beheaded all flood flow routes to it. Prairie Dog Creek valley headward erosion ceased at approximately the same time when South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion beheaded all southeast-oriented flood flow to it. South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion then beheaded all southeast-oriented flood flow to what was then the actively eroding South Fork Solomon River valley, which had only eroded west to the figure 6 southwest corner area.

Detailed map of South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 7: Detailed map of South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 provides a detailed map of the South Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of Brewster, which was seen in less detail in figure 6 above. East-northeast oriented South Fork Sappa Creek is located along the figure 7 north edge in the figure 7 northwest quadrant. The east and southeast oriented stream originating in the figure 7 south center edge area and flowing to the figure 7 south edge (near the figure 7 southeast corner) is a South Fork Solomon River tributary. The east-oriented South Fork Solomon River originates a short distance west of the figure 7 map area and is located south of the figure 7 map area. Note south-southeast oriented headwaters and tributaries to the east-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary. Also note north and north-northwest oriented tributaries to South Fork Sappa Creek. Further, note how the South Fork Solomon River tributary valley is linked by shallow north-south oriented through valleys with north and north-northwest oriented South Fork Sappa Creek tributary valleys. The shallow through valleys are not spectacular, in fact the through valleys are easy to miss. However, the shallow through valleys are water eroded features and provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes prior to headward erosion of the South Fork Sappa Creek valley. Prior to South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion flood waters were flowing to what was then the actively eroding South-Fork Solomon River tributary valley. The south-southeast oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary headwaters and tributary valleys represent the final south-oriented flood flow movements as headward erosion of the South Fork Sappa Creek valley was beheading south-oriented flood flow routes. Flood flow routes were beheaded in sequence from east to west and flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented South Fork Sappa Creek tributary valleys. Reversed flow often captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from flood flow routes further to the west. Note how several of the north-oriented South Fork Sappa Creek tributary valleys have northeast-oriented headwaters. Those northeast-oriented headwaters valleys were eroded by captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from flood flow routes west of what was then the actively eroding South Fork Sappa Creek valley head. The captured flood water was flowing to join reversed flow on what were then newly reversed flood flow routes. Such captures of yet to beheaded flood flow provided water volumes needed to erode the north-oriented South Fork Sappa Creek tributary valleys.

Middle Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Middle Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the Middle Fork Sappa Creek-South Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 6 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 6. Levant is the town located in the figure 8 southeast corner area and Brewster is the town located near the figure 8 south edge (west half). The South Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction across the figure 8 southeast quadrant. The Middle Fork Sappa Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 8 west edge to the figure 8 north edge. Note how the South Fork Sappa Creek and Middle Fork Sappa Creek valleys have been eroded into what appears to be a gently sloping southeast-oriented topographic surface. The surface was formed prior to headward erosion of the South Fork Sappa Creek valley, which preceded headward erosion of the Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley. As seen in figure 6 South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion captured southeast-oriented flood waters moving to what were then the actively eroding northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley and the actively eroding South Fork Solomon Creek valley. The South Fork Solomon River valley had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Solomon River valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. The South Fork Sappa Creek valley eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded northeast and east oriented Sappa Creek valley, which had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley. The Republican River valley had also eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley, but had followed a significantly different route than the Solomon River valley. The Republican River valley is located east and north of the Solomon River valley. What we are seeing in figures 6, 7, and 8 is evidence Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded all south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to what had been the actively eroding Solomon River valley and its tributary valleys. In other words, South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion captured all flood flow routes to what had been the actively eroding Solomon River valley system. Subsequently Missouri River valley-Platte River valley-South Platte River valley headward erosion beheaded all south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to what had been the actively eroding Republican River valley system.

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

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

Figure 9 illustrates the South Fork Beaver Creek-North Fork Smoky Hill River drainage divide area north and east of Goodland, Kansas and west of the figure 8 map area (there is no overlap area). Goodland is the town located in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. The South Fork Beaver Creek flows in a northeast direction across the figure 9 northwest corner area. The Middle Fork Sappa Creek originates in the figure 9 west center edge area and flows east and then north (through the word “LOGAN”) and then northeast around the Goodland Airport. From airport area the Middle Fork Sappa Creek flows in an east and then northeast direction to the figure 9 north edge. South Fork Sappa Creek originates south of Goodland (south of the word “ITASCA”)  and meanders in an east direction to the figure 9 east edge. Note, there is no North Fork Sappa Creek valley located in figure 9 between the Beaver Creek valley and the Middle Fork Sappa Creek valley. Southeast-oriented streams along the figure 9 south edge flow to east and southeast oriented North Fork Smoky Hill River, which is located south of the figure 9 map area. The Smoky Hill River is still another Kansas River tributary, which flows in what could be considered an east direction. Depressions located in the figure 9 map area may be sink holes related to regional karst topography, although further evidence is needed beyond what can be determined from figure 9. Figure 9 evidence does confirm that headward erosion of the North Fork Smoky Hill River valley occurred before headward erosion of the South Fork Solomon River valley headward erosion which preceded North Fork Solomon River valley headward erosion, which preceded Prairie Dog Creek headward erosion, which preceded South Fork Sappa Creek valley headward erosion (from the Republican River valley), which preceded Middle Fork Sappa Creek headward erosion, which preceded North Fork Sappa Creek headward erosion, which preceded Beaver Creek valley headward erosion. Further, figure 9 evidence confirms Beaver Creek valley headward erosion beheaded all south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to what had been the actively eroding Sappa Creek valley system. Figure 9a below provides a detailed map of the South Fork Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area west of Goodland to better illustrate shallow through valleys linking the two independent valleys.

Figure 9a: Detailed map South Fork Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Sappa Creek drainage divide area west of Goodland, Kansas. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Little Beaver Creek-Beaver Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Little Beaver Creek-Beaver Creek drainage divide area north and slightly west of the figure 9 map area. Little Beaver Creek is the east-northeast, east, and east-northeast oriented stream near the figure 10 north edge in the figure 10 northwest quadrant and north center area. An unnamed northeast-oriented Little Beaver Creek tributary flows from the figure 10 west center edge area to join east-oriented Little Beaver Creek near the figure 10 north edge. The Middle Fork Beaver flows in an east-northeast and east direction from the figure 10 south edge (west half) to join northeast-oriented South Fork Beaver Creek, which flows from the figure 10 south center edge area. Beaver Creek then flows in a generally northeast direction to the figure 10 east center edge. Note southeast-oriented tributaries to Beaver Creek, the Middle Fork Beaver Creek, and to an east-oriented Beaver Creek tributary. Also note north-northwest oriented tributaries to northeast-oriented Beaver Creek. Further, note north, north-northwest, and other north-oriented Little Beaver Creek tributaries and tributaries to the unnamed northeast-oriented Little Beaver Creek tributary valley. The figure 10 drainage history is similar to drainage histories described for previous figures. Flood waters formed a gently sloping topographic surface prior to headward erosion of any of the figure 10 valleys. Flood waters just prior to Beaver Creek valley headward erosion were moving to what was then the newly eroded North Fork Smoky Hill River valley located south of the figures 9 and 10 map areas. Headward erosion of the Beaver Creek-South Fork Beaver Creek valley then captured the flood flow, with flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversing flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented tributary valleys. The Middle Fork Beaver Creek valley then eroded headward from the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley and beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded South Fork Beaver Creek valley. At approximately the same time flood waters eroded southeast-oriented tributary valleys headward from the newly eroded Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Beaver Creek valley. The Little Beaver Creek-unnamed Little Beaver Creek valley next eroded headward into the figure 10 map area and beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded Beaver Creek-Middle Fork Beaver Creek valley. Finally Little Beaver Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow routes to the newly eroded unnamed northeast-oriented Little Beaver 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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