North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne Counties, Kansas, USA

· Kansas, Solomon River
Authors

Abstract:

The North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide in Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne Counties, Kansas was eroded by massive south-oriented floods which originally flowed across a topographic surface at least as high as the highest present day North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide elevations. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. The east-oriented South Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded southeast-oriented Solomon River valley to capture the south-oriented flood flow and to divert flood waters east and southeast to what were then newly eroded Kansas and Missouri River valleys. Headward erosion of the parallel North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek valley followed soon after and beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the parallel North Fork Solomon River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Bow Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Bow Creek and North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of South Fork Solomon River, Bow Creek, and North Fork Solomon River valleys, alignments of tributary valleys, and numerous shallow north-south oriented through valleys crossing the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide and the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide.

Preface:

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

Introduction:

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

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

Figure 1: North Fork Solomon River-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 North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area location map. Kansas is the state occupying the lower two-thirds of the figure 1 map area and Nebraska is north of Kansas. The east-northeast and east-southeast oriented Kansas River is located in the figure 1 southeast quadrant and flows from Solomon, Kansas to Junction City and Manhattan before flowing to the figure 1 east edge. The Kansas River is formed at Junction City at the confluence of the southeast oriented Republican River and the east, east-southeast, north-northeast, and east-northeast oriented Smoky Hill River. The Solomon River is formed at the confluence of the east-northeast and east-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River and east-northeast oriented South Fork Solomon River near Cawker City. North and east of the Solomon River is the east- and southeast oriented Republican River. The Republican River flows from west of McCook, Nebraska (in figure 1 northwest quadrant) in an east direction just north of the Nebraska-Kansas state line to Superior, Nebraska. At Superior the Republican River turns to flow in a south-southeast direction to Concordia, Kansas and then in an east direction to Clifton before turning to flow in a south-southeast direction to join the Kansas River near Junction City. North of the Republican River along the figure 1 north edge the southeast and northeast oriented Platte River can be seen flowing between Lexington and Kearney, Nebraska. The North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area discussed in this essay is located south of the North Fork Solomon River segment extending from New Almelo, Kansas to Downs, Kansas and north of the South Fork Solomon River segment extending from Studley, Kansas to Osborne, Kansas. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively have presented significant evidence for massive south-oriented floods that flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. The South Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Solomon River valley to capture south-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the Republican River valley subsequently beheaded all south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley.

North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: North Fork Solomon River-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 more detailed location map for the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne Counties, Kansas. Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne are Kansas county names and the county boundaries are shown. The North Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast direction across southern Norton County from New Almelo to Lenora, Edmond, and Densmore before flowing into Phillips County. In Phillips County the North Fork Solomon River flows in an east direction to Logan, Speed, Glade, and Kirwin Reservoir before flowing into Smith County. In Smith County the North Fork Solomon River flows in an east and then southeast direction to Claudell, Cedar, Gaylord, and Logan before flowing to Portis and Downs in northeast Osborne County. The South Fork Solomon River flows in an east direction across Graham County from Studley to Morland, Penokee, Hill City, and Bogue before flowing to Webster Reservoir in western Rooks County. From Webster Reservoir the South Fork Solomon River flows to Stockton and Woodston in Rooks County and then to Alton, Bloomington, Osborne, and Corinth in Osborne County before joining the North Fork Solomon River at Waconda Lake (a reservoir located along the figure 2 east edge). Between the North Fork Solomon River and South Fork Solomon River is east-northeast oriented Bow Creek, which flows across northern Graham County and along the Phillips County-Rooks County border before turning to flow in a northeast direction to join the North Fork Solomon River at Kirwin Reservoir in southeast Phillips County. Note numerous southeast and south-southeast oriented tributaries to the South Fork Solomon River. Figure 2 shows no north-oriented Bow Creek tributaries and relatively few north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries. North-oriented North Fork tributaries shown vary in orientation with some being north-oriented and others being north-northeast or even northeast oriented. Topographic maps below illustrate many more north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries, although most are short (compared to south-oriented South Fork tributaries). As previously described the figure 2 drainage history began with headward erosion of the South Fork Solomon River valley to capture immense south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 2 map area. South-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary valley then eroded headward along south-oriented flood flow channels from the newly eroded South Fork valley. Next headward erosion of the North Fork-Bow Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding south-oriented South Fork tributary valleys. Soon thereafter North Fork valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Bow Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded North Fork valley and to erode north-oriented North Fork tributary valleys.

North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Lenora

Figure 3: North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Lenora. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Lenora, Kansas. The North Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast direction near the figure 3 north edge. New Almelo is the town located in the figure 3 northwest quadrant and Lenora is the town located near the figure 3 north center edge. Bow Creek flows in an east-northeast direction from the figure 3 south center area to the figure 3 east edge. Note southeast and south-southeast oriented Bow Creek tributaries and north and north-northwest oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries. Also note shallow through valleys crossing the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide. Figure 3a below provides a detailed map of the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area located immediately south from Lenora to better illustrate the shallow through valleys. The figure 3a contour interval is ten feet and some of the shallow through valleys are defined by a single contour line. However, the shallow through valleys are present in sections 17, 16, 10, and 11 and provide evidence of a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex that once moved flood water across the figure 3 map region. At that time the deep North Fork Solomon River valley did not exist and flood waters flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide. Flood waters were flowing to what were then actively eroding southeast and south-southeast oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. The tributary valleys had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Bow Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Solomon River valley then beheaded the south-oriented anastomosing channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Because channels were anastomosing reversed flow in a newly beheaded channel could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. With the aid of such captured flood water the reversed flow eroded the north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys and created the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide.

Figure 3a: Detailed map of North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Lenora to better illustrate shallow through valleys crossing the drainage divide. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area north of Morland

Figure 4: Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area north of Morland. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. The east-oriented South Fork Solomon River flows across the figure 4 south edge area. The town in the figure 4 southwest corner is Studley and Morland is the town located east of Studley, but still in the figure 4 southwest quadrant. Penokee is the smaller town located east of Morland and in the figure 4 southeast quadrant. Bow Creek flows in an east-northeast direction in the figure 4 northwest quadrant and north center area from the figure 4 west edge (north half) to the figure 4 north center edge. Note south and south-southeast oriented South Fork Solomon River tributaries, which are significantly longer than the short north and north-northeast oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Also note the north-south oriented shallow through valleys linking heads of south and south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys with heads of north and north-northwest oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. The figure 4 through valleys while not deep are easier to observe than the shallow through valleys in figure 3. The figure 4 drainage history is similar to the figure 3 drainage history, although the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide was created before the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide. Initially south-oriented flood flow moved across the entire figure 4 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide. The deep South Fork Solomon River valley then eroded headward across the figure 4 map area to capture the south-oriented flood flow. Deep south and south-southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley along the south-oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep Bow Creek valley next beheaded the south-oriented flood flow routes to the actively eroding South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north. The reversed flood flow eroded the short north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys and created the present day Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide.

North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Densmore

Figure 5: North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of DensmoreUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 5 illustrates the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area east and slightly north of the figure 3 map area. The east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River is located near the figure 5 north edge. East-oriented Bow Creek flows across the figure 5 south half. Edmond is the town located in the figure 5 northwest quadrant and Densmore is the town located in the figure 5 north center area. Again note the southeast and south-southeast oriented Bow Creek tributaries and how their valleys have been eroded into a fairly smooth south-facing slope. Also note the north, north-northwest, and north-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries and how their valleys have been eroded into a much more rugged north-facing valley wall. Also note in the figure 5 northwest corner area the smooth south- or southeast-facing north valley slope. Follow the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide from west to east and note the shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys with south-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. The figure 5 evidence describes a drainage history similar to the drainage histories described in figures 3 and 4 above. Massive south-oriented flood flow once moved across the entire figure 5 map area on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide. The Bow Creek valley eroded headward into the figure 5 map area to capture the south-oriented flood flow. Flood waters moving into the newly eroded and deep Bow Creek valley eroded the smooth south-facing Bow Creek valley north wall and south-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward into that valley wall. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Solomon River valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding south-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys and to create the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide.

Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area north of Hill City

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

Figure 6 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Hill City is the town located along the figure 6 south edge in the figure 6 southwest quadrant. Nicodemus is the smaller town located in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. East-oriented Bow Creek can be seen meandering across the figure 6 north edge. The east-oriented South Fork Solomon River is located north of the figure 6 south edge (east of Hill City). Spring Creek is the southeast-oriented tributary originating in the figure 6 northwest quadrant and flowing to join the South Fork Solomon River near Nicodemus in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. Coon Creek is the southeast-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary located south and west of Spring Creek and flowing north of Hill City. Note again the lengthy southeast and south-southeast oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys and the relatively short north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Also note shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys with the south-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Figure 6a below provides a detailed map of the Bow Creek-Spring Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys with the southeast-oriented Spring Creek headwaters valleys. East-northeast-oriented Bow Creek is located in the figure 6a northwest quadrant. Spring Creek flows in a south-southeast direction in sections 30, 31 and 32. Note how south-southeast oriented Spring Creek headwaters valleys are linked in figure 6a by shallow through valleys with north and north-northwest oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large volumes of flood water to what was then the actively eroding Spring Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Bow Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode north and north-northwest oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys.

Figure 6a: Detailed map of Bow Creek-Spring Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate shallow through valleys crossing the drainage divide. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area southeast of Logan

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

Figure 7 illustrates the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area southeast of Logan and east of the figure 5 map area. Logan is the town located in the figure 7 northwest corner and Speed is the town located just east of the figure 7 north center area. The North Fork Solomon River meanders in an east direction near the figure 7 north edge from near Logan to the figure 7 east edge. Glade is the town just north of the figure 7 northeast corner. Bow Creek flows in an east direction across the figure 7 south half. Note south-southeast oriented Bow Creek tributaries from the north and north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries from the south. Also note how the North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide is crossed by shallow through valleys linking north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys with south-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Figure 7a below provides a detailed map of the drainage divide area south of Speed to better illustrate the north-south oriented shallow through valleys. North oriented streams in the figure 7a north half flow to the North Fork Solomon River. South-oriented streams in the figure 7a south half flow to Bow Creek. Note how the figure 7a drainage divide area is crossed by numerous north-south oriented through valleys. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large quantities of flood water to what were then actively eroding south-oriented tributary valleys to what was then the newly eroded east-oriented Bow Creek valley. At that time the deep North Fork Solomon River valley did not exist and flood waters were flowing on a topographic surface at least as high as the present day North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide. Headward erosion of the deep North Fork Solomon River valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels in sequence from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley, to erode the north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys, and to create the present day North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide.

Figure 7a: Detailed map of North Fork Solomon River-Bow Creek drainage divide area south of Speed. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area north of Stockton

Figure 8: Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area north of Stockton. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south and somewhat east of the figure 7 map area. Stockton is the town located near the figure 8 south center edge. The east-oriented South Fork Solomon River is located along the figure 8 south edge. East and east-northeast oriented Bow Creek is located near the figure 8 north edge. Note south-southeast oriented South Fork Solomon River tributaries and much shorter north and northeast oriented Bow Creek tributaries. Dibble Creek is the south-southeast oriented tributary flowing to the South Fork Solomon River at Stockton. Note the rather prominent and deep north-south oriented through valleys linking the Dibble Creek headwaters and a south-oriented Dibble Creek tributary’s headwaters with north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys. Floors of the through valleys are more than 50 meters lower than the hill to west. The hill to the east is slightly lower, but still stands at least 30 meters higher than floors of the through valleys. Other shallower through valleys can be seen to the east and west. Depth of the through valleys north of Stockton suggest flood waters deeply eroded the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area, perhaps by more than 50 meters. If so the shallow through valley depths in previous figures may not be providing a good measure of erosion depths. Based on the figure 8 map evidence flood waters may have stripped more than 50 meters of material from the entire North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area before eroding the present day deep valleys. How much erosion took place is almost impossible to determine, however flood waters once flowed on topographic surface at least as high as the highest North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area elevations today. With that said the figure 8 drainage history is similar to drainage histories determined for previous figures. The deep South Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward to capture immense south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 8 map area. South-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Bow Creek valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to what were then actively eroding south-oriented South Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Bow Creek valley, to erode north-oriented Bow Creek tributary valleys, and to create the Bow Creek-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide.

North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area east of Kirwin Reservoir

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

Figure 9 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area east of Kirwin Reservoir and east of the figures 7 and 8 map areas. Alton is the town located in the figure 9 southeast quadrant along the figure 9 south edge. The South Fork Solomon River is the east oriented stream flowing along the figure 9 south edge near Alton. Kirwin Reservoir is located in the figure 9 northwest corner area and is where east and northeast oriented Bow Creek joins the east-oriented North Fork Solomon River. Bow Creek is the northeast oriented stream flowing into Kirwin Reservoir and the east-oriented North Fork Solomon River can be seen meandering along the figure 9 north edge area. Crooked Creek is the named southeast-oriented tributary flowing to the South Fork Solomon River at Alton. Medicine Creek is the named northeast and north oriented tributary joining the North Fork Solomon River near the figure 9 north center edge.  Note how with the exception of the northeast-oriented Medicine Creek segment the North Fork Solomon River tributaries are generally north or north-northwest oriented. Also, with the exception of southeast-oriented Crooked Creek, the South Fork Solomon River tributaries are generally south-southeast oriented. Glen Rock Creek is the north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary directly north from Alton. Note how north-oriented Glen Rock Creek is linked by shallow north-south-oriented through valleys with a south-oriented Crooked Creek tributary. Figure 9a below provides a detailed map of the Glen Rock Creek-Crooked Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the shallow north-south oriented through valleys. Similar shallow through valleys are located all along the figure 9 North Fork-South Fork drainage divide. The tributary orientations and shallow through valleys provide evidence the figure 9 drainage history is similar to the drainage histories determined for previous figures. The deep South Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward into the region to capture massive south-oriented flood flow, which was moving on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 9 elevations today. South-oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded South Fork Solomon River valley (the Crooked Creek valley eroded headward across south-oriented flood flow routes while other tributary valleys eroded headward along south-oriented flood flow routes). Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley then beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow routes in sequence from east to west. Reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys and created the North Fork-South Fork drainage divide.

Figure 9a: Detailed map of Glen Rock Creek-Crooked Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

East end of North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

Figure 10: East end of 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 10 uses reduced size maps to illustrate the east end of the North Fork Solomon River-South Fork Solomon River drainage divide area and is located east and slightly south of the figure 9 map area. The South Fork Solomon River is located near the figure 10 south edge. Osborne is the town located just east of the figure 10 south center edge area. The North Fork Solomon River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 10 north edge (west half) to the figure 10 east edge (south half). Downs is the town located along the figure 10 east edge just north of the North Fork Solomon River. The North Fork Solomon River valley is flooded in the Downs area by Waconda Reservoir (see figure 1). East of the figure 10 map area the North Fork Solomon River and South Fork Solomon River meet in Waconda Reservoir to form the southeast-oriented Solomon River. Portis is the town located in the North Fork Solomon River valley directly north of Osborne. Harlan is the smaller North Fork Solomon River valley town northwest of Portis and near the figure 10 north edge. Joy Creek is the southeast and northeast oriented tributary joining the North Fork Solomon River near Portis. Lawrence Creek is the southeast, northeast, east, and northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary located west of Joy Creek. Figure 10a below provides a detailed map of the North Fork Solomon River-Lawrence Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate through valleys linking the two valleys. Note how north-oriented (barbed) tributaries to the southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River are linked by multiple north-south oriented shallow through valleys with southeast-oriented tributaries to east-oriented Lawrence Creek and also shallow north-south oriented through valleys in section 5. This evidence suggests the Lawrence Creek valley eroded west from what was then the actively eroding North Fork Solomon River valley head to capture yet to be beheaded south-oriented flood flow. At that time the south-oriented North Fork Solomon River valley had not eroded headward into the figure 10a map area. As the North Fork Solomon River valley did erode into and beyond the figure 10a map area it first beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels in section 5 and then later beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels in sections 31 and 32. Flood waters on north ends of those beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented (barbed) tributary valleys to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. A close inspection of the figure 10 map area reveals many other shallow through valleys providing evidence of massive flood flow prior to headward erosion of the deep South Fork Solomon River and North Fork Solomon River valleys and their tributary valleys.

Figure 10a: Detailed map of North Fork Solomon River-Lawrence Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.


Additional information and sources of maps

This essay has only provided a sample of the drainage divide evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” geomorphology paradigm. Many additional examples could be provided, especially by using more detailed topographic maps. Readers are encouraged to look at mosaics of detailed topographic maps to see the abundance of supporting data. Maps used in this study were created by the United States Geological Survey and can be purchased in hard copy from the United States Geological Survey or from dealers offering United States Geological Survey maps. Hard copy maps can also be observed at United States Geological Survey map depositories located in major research libraries and elsewhere throughout the United States and in other countries. Illustrations used in this essay were created using National Geographic Society TOPO software and digital data. National Geographic Society digital maps can be purchased from the National Geographic Society or from dealers offering National Geographic Society digital maps.

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