Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas, USA

· Kansas, Republican River, Solomon River
Authors

Abstract:

The Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas was eroded by immense south-oriented flood flow, which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet, which had been located in what had been an ice sheet created deep “hole.” Prairie Dog Creek is an east-northeast oriented Republican River tributary located north of the east-northeast and east oriented North Fork Solomon River. Headward erosion of the North Fork Solomon River valley from what at that time was the newly eroded Solomon River and Kansas River valleys captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters east to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. South and south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys then eroded headward along south and south-southeast oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the deep Republican River and Prairie Dog Creek valley (also from the newly eroded Kansas River valley) next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding south-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley, to erode north and north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys, and to create the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes positions and orientations of present day valleys and north-south oriented through valleys crossing the present day Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River 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 Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Norton and Phillips 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 Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Prairie Dog Creek-North 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 Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas location map. Figure 1 shows an area in north central Kansas and south central Nebraska. Kansas is in the figure 1 south half and Nebraska is north of Kansas. The Republican River flows from the figure 1 west edge (just north of the Nebraska-Kansas state line) in an east-northeast direction to Benkelman, Trenton, McCook, Cambridge, and Arapahoe, Nebraska. From Arapahoe the Republican River flows in a southeast direction to Harlan County Lake and then in an east direction to the figure 1 east edge. East of figure 1 the Republican River turns to flow in a south-southeast, east, and south-southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River. Prairie Dog Creek originates in the figure 1 southwest quadrant near Levant and Colby, Kansas and flows in a northeast direction to Jennings, Clayton, Norton, Long Island, and Woodruff, Kansas before entering Nebraska and joining the Republican River at Harlan County Lake. The North Fork Solomon River also originates in the figure 1 southwest quadrant (just south of Levant and Colby) and flows in a northeast and east-northeast direction to New Almelo, Lenora, Edmond, Densmore, Logan, and Kirwin before flowing in an east-southeast direction to join the South Fork Solomon River near Cawker City (along the figure 1 east edge). East of figure 1 the Solomon River flows in a southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River. The Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas is located south of the Prairie Dog Creek segment extending from Clayton to Harlan County Lake and north of the North Fork Solomon River segment extending from New Almelo to the highway extending south from Phillipsburg. The Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek drainage divide area in Furnas and Harlan Counties, Nebraska and Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas and the Platte River-Republican River drainage divide area in Gosper and Furnas Counties, Nebraska essays address nearby drainage divides and can be found under Republican River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays collectively have presented substantial evidence for immense south-oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. In the figure 1 map area the North Fork Solomon River valley eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Solomon River and Kansas River valleys to capture the south-oriented flood flow. Probably soon after the Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek valley eroded headward into the figure 1 map area and beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Subsequently headward erosion of the Sappa Creek and Beaver Creek valleys (in that sequence) beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley and then Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Beaver Creek valley.

Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Prairie Dog Creek-North 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 Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area in Norton and Phillips Counties, Kansas. Norton and Phillips are Kansas County names and county boundaries are show. Furnas and Harlan are Nebraska county names. The North Fork Solomon River flows across southern Norton and Phillips Counties from New Almelo in the Norton County southwest corner to Lenora, Edmond, and Densmore in Norton County and then to Logan, Speed, Gade, and Kirwin in Phillips County before flowing to the figure 2 east edge. Prairie Dog Creek flows in a northeast direction from Clayton (north of New Almelo) to Norton, Calvert, and Almena in Norton County and then to Long Island and Woodruff in northwest Phillips County before entering Nebraska and joining the east-oriented Republican River. North of Prairie Dog Creek is east-northeast oriented Sappa Creek, which flows across the Norton County northwest corner and which joins the southeast-oriented Republican River just west of Harlan County Lake. North of Sappa Creek is east-oriented Beaver Creek, which joins Sappa Creek near the Furnas County-Harlan County border. Note numerous south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries and also south-southeast oriented tributaries to southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries. Elk Creek is a southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary in the Norton County southwest corner and Deer Creek is a southeast-oriented tributary flowing from Prairie View to Kirwin in Phillips County. Prairie Dog Creek also has numerous south-southeast oriented tributaries and fewer and shorter north oriented tributaries from the south. Some of the tributaries from the south are north-northwest oriented, although others are north or northeast oriented. Topographic maps below better illustrate Prairie Dog Creek tributaries from the south. Figure 2 drainage features evolved in an identifiable sequence while massive south-southeast and south oriented flood flow moved across the figure 2 map area. Headward erosion of what was then a deep North Fork Solomon River valley first captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters east and southeast to what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley. South-southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward along the anastomosing south-southeast oriented flood flow channels. Next headward erosion of the Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and to erode north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys. Then Republican River-Sappa Creek valley headward erosion beheaded south-southeast oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley.

Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area southeast from Woodruff, Kansas

Figure 3: Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area southeast from Woodruff, Kansas. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide south and east from Woodruff, Kansas. Woodruff is located in the figure 3 northwest corner and is located just south of the west to east oriented Nebraska-Kansas state line. Prairie Dog Creek can just barely be seen flowing in an east-northeast direction across the figure 3 northwest corner (north of Woodruff). The north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary near Woodruff is Jack Creek. The north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary east of Jack Creek is Dry Creek and the north-oriented stream flowing to the Harlan County Lake bay just north of the highway is Walnut Creek. North-oriented drainage in the figure 3 northeast quadrant flows to the Harlan County Lake and the northeast-oriented stream flows to the east-oriented Republican River downstream from the Harlan County Lake Dam. South-oriented drainage in the figure 3 south half flows to southeast-oriented Deer Creek, which flows to the North Fork Solomon River (see figure 6 below). The south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 3 southwest corner is Boughton Creek and east of Boughton Creek is south-oriented Bissell Creek. Figure 4 below provides a detailed map of the Jack Creek-Bissell Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate through valleys crossing that drainage divide. A close inspection of figure 3 reveals numerous shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek and Republican River tributary valleys with south-oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys. These through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented anastomosing flood flow channels that once moved immense quantities of south-oriented flood water to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys. At that time the Republican River and Prairie Dog Creek valleys north of the figure 3 map area did not exist and flood waters flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today. The southeast-oriented Deer Creek valley had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley, which had eroded headward from what were then the newly eroded Solomon River and Kansas River valleys. The south-southeast oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys then eroded headward along south and south-southeast oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep east-northeast and east oriented Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek valley then beheaded south-oriented flood routes to the actively eroding Deer Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Republican River and Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Jack Creek-Bissell Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Jack Creek-Bissell Creek drainage divide area.United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 4 provides a detailed map of the Jack Creek-Bissell Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Jack Creek flows in a north-northeast direction across the figure 4 northwest corner. North-northwest oriented valleys in sections 34, 35, and 36 drain to Jack Creek. North-oriented drainage in section 31 in the figure 4 northeast quadrant flows to north-oriented Dry Creek.Jack Creek and Dry Creek flow to Prairie Dog Creek, which flows to the Republican River. South-southeast oriented Boughton Creek is located in section 10 in the figure 4 southwest corner. South-southeast oriented Bissell Creek is located in section 12 and other south-oriented drainage in sections 11, 12, and 7 along the figure 4 south margin flows to Bissell Creek. The south-oriented stream in sections 5 and 8 along the figure 4 east margin is Plotner Creek, which like Boughton Creek and Bissell Creek is a south-southeast oriented Deer Creek tributary. Deer Creek flows to the North Fork Solomon River. Note the multiple shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-northwest oriented Jack Creek tributary valleys with the south-oriented Bissell Creek tributary valleys. Shallow through valleys are found in sections 3, 2, 1, 6, 10, 11, 12, 7, 36, 31, and 32 among others.Many of the shallow through valleys are defined by a single contour line although others are deeper. Each of the through valleys represents a former flood flow channel route. At the time flood waters moved south across the figure 4 map area the Republican River and Prairie Dog Creek valleys north of the figure 4 map area did not exist. Elevations north of the figure 4 map area were at least as high as the highest figure 4 elevations today and flood waters were flowing from north of the present day Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek location to what were then actively eroding south-southeast oriented tributary valleys eroding north from a newly eroded Deer Creek-North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels, one channel at a time from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Republican River-Prairie Dog Creek valley. Because flood flow were anastomosing (or interconnected) reversed flow in a newly beheaded flood flow could easily capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. Such captures of yet to be beheaded flood flow provided the water volumes required to erode the north-oriented tributary valleys and to create the Prairie Dog Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide.

Prairie Dog Creek-Deep Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-Deep Creek drainage divide area west and south of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Almena is the town located near the figure 5 west center edge area. Prairie Dog Creek flows in a northeast direction from Almena to Long Island, which is located near the figure 5 north edge. North and east of the figure 5 map area Prairie Dog Creek joins the Republican River. Prairie View is the town located in the figure 5 south center area. Deer Creek originates near Prairie View and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 5 south edge. South and east of the figure 5 map area Deer Creek flows to the North Fork Solomon River. Note how many of the Prairie Dog Creek tributaries from the south are oriented in a north-northwest direction and join Prairie Dog Creek as barbed tributaries. Also note how many Deer Creek tributaries are oriented in a south-southeast direction. Further note shallow north-northwest to south-southeast oriented through valleys linking north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys with south-southeast oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys. This figure 5 evidence suggests the southeast-oriented Deer Creek valley eroded headward into the figure 5 map area to capture south-southeast oriented flood flow at a time when the northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley did not exist. South-southeast oriented tributary valleys then eroded headward from the newly eroded Deer Creek valley along what were probably south-southeast oriented flood flow channels in a south-southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley then beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow channels, one channel at a time from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley and with the aid of captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west to erode the north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys. The flood flow reversal caused by the Prairie Dog Creek valley headward erosion created the Prairie Dog Creek-Deer Creek drainage divide.

Deer Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 illustrates the Deer Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 5 map area and includes a small overlap area with figure 5.  Phillipsburg is the town located along the figure 6 east edge. Stuttgart is the smaller town located in the figure 6 north center area. Deer Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 6 north edge to Stuttgart and then to the figure 6 east edge (south of Phillipsburg). The east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River can be seen along the figure 6 south edge. Note multiple south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries and also south-southeast oriented Deer Creek tributaries (in the figure 6 northeast quadrant). Deer Creek tributaries from the south are generally short and west of Stuttgart are generally north oriented. Downstream from Stuttgart there are short east- and northeast-oriented Deer Creek tributaries. Note shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Deer Creek tributaries with south-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries. For example, the south-southeast North Fork Solomon River tributary located south of Stuttgart is Ash Creek. A north-south oriented through valley links the south-oriented Ash Creek valley with an east-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley. The Ash Creek valley was probably eroded headward along a south-southeast oriented flood flow channel from what was then the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the Deer Creek valley and the east-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley beheaded the south-southeast-oriented flood flow channel moving flood waters to what was then the actively eroding Ash Creek valley and diverted flood flow more directly to the North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Deer Creek valley next beheaded all south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded east-oriented Deer Creek tributary valley, which halted further headward erosion of that east-oriented tributary valley. West of Ash Creek is south-southeast oriented Wolf Creek. A close look at the Wolf Creek headwaters area reveals multiple north-south oriented shallow through valleys linking south-oriented Wolf Creek tributary valleys with north-oriented Deer Creek tributary valleys. The through valleys are evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved flood water to what were then actively eroding Wolf Creek tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Deer Creek valley then beheaded and reversed the south-oriented flood flow.

Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area located west of the figure 6 map area. Norton, Kansas is the town located in the figure 7 northwest corner. Prairie Dog Creek is the east-northeast oriented stream in the figure 7 northwest quadrant. The east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide extends from the figure 7 west center edge to just south of the figure 7 northeast corner. Note how north and north-northwest Prairie Dog Creek tributaries north of the drainage divide tend to be shorter in length than south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries south of the drainage divide. Big Timber Creek is the named south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary flowing to the figure 7 south center edge. Big Timber Creek headwaters are linked by shallow through valleys with an unnamed north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary and north-oriented Walnut Creek, which also flows to Prairie Dog Creek. Figure 8 below provides a detailed of the Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valleys. Study of the figure 7 Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area reveals numerous other shallow through valleys linking north and north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys with south and southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. The through valleys are evidence of south-southeast oriented anastomosing flood flow channels that once moved flood waters across the figure 7 map area to what were then actively eroding North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. The south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys eroded headward along the south-southeast oriented flood flow channels from the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley then beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow channels, one channel at a time from east to west. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley. With the aid of captured yet to be beheaded flood flow from flood flow channels further to the west the reversed flood flow eroded the north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys and created the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: Detailed map of Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of the Prairie Dog Creek-Big Timber Creek drainage divide area seen in less detail in figure 7 above. Big Timber Creek is the south-oriented stream flowing from section 22 in the figure 8 center to section 27 and the figure 8 south center edge. South-oriented figure 8 drainage west of Big Timber Creek flows to Big Timber Creek south of the figure 8 map area. Big Timber Creek as shown in figure 7 is a south-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary. East of Big Timber Creek the south-oriented drainage originating in sections 23 and 24 flows to an unnamed south-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary located just east of Big Timber Creek. North-northwest oriented drainage originating in section 21 and flowing to the figure 8 north edge (northeast corner area) is Walnut Creek, which flows to Prairie Dog Creek. The north-northwest oriented valley in the section 16 northeast corner drains to Walnut Creek north of the figure 8 map area. North-oriented drainage in sections 15, 14, and 13 flows to an unnamed north and north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary. Note well-defined, but shallow, north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented The figure 8 contour interval is 10 feet and floors of many of those through valleys are at least 50 feet below tops of surrounding hills. The through valleys were eroded by south-oriented flood flow which was moving to what were then actively eroding south and south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Flood waters were probably flowing in a large-scale south-oriented anastomosing channel complex and at that time the east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley north of the figure 8 map area did not exist. In fact, no present day Missouri River drainage basin valleys north of the figure 8 map area had been eroded at that time and flood waters were moving south on a topographic surface which has since been deeply eroded and/or removed. Headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley then captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and to erode north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys. Subsequently headward erosion of other east-northeast oriented Republican River tributary valleys and of the Republican River valley itself beheaded all south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Prairie Dog Creek valley.

Prairie Dog Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 illustrates the Prairie Dog Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area west and south of the figure 7 map area. Clayton is the town located in the figure 9 northwest corner and east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek can be seen just north of Clayton. Lenora is the town located just east of the south center edge and the North Fork Solomon River flows from the Lenora area to the figure 9 southeast corner. Elk Creek is the east-southeast, east-northeast, and east-southeast oriented tributary joining the North Fork Solomon River near Lenora. Note how Elk Creek has south-southeast oriented tributaries from the north and east of Lenora how the North Fork Solomon River has south-southeast oriented tributaries. Also note south-southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries west of Lenora and south of Elk Creek. Figure 10 below provides a more detailed map of the Elk Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area west of Lenora. Note also north and north-northwest oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributaries near the figure 9 north margin. Study of the Prairie Dog Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide area again reveals shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Elk Creek tributary valleys. The sequence of drainage history events recorded by this figure 9 evidence begins with massive south-oriented flood flow moving across the entire figure 9 map area. At that time flood waters were moving on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest present day figure 9 elevations. Headward erosion of what was then a deep east-oriented North Fork Solomon River valley captured the south-oriented flood water and diverted flood waters to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. South and south-southeast oriented tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley along the south-oriented flood flow channels while the Elk Creek valley eroded headward across the south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the Elk Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding south-southeast-oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Next headward erosion of the east-northeast oriented Prairie Dog Creek valley captured the south-oriented flood flow and diverted flood waters in an east-northeast direction to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley. As previously described flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode north-oriented Prairie Dog Creek tributary valleys and to create the Prairie Dog Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide.

Detailed map of Elk Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 provides a more detailed map of the Elk Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide area west of Lenora, Kansas seen in less detail in figure 9 above. Lenora is located in the figure 10 southeast corner. The meandering North Fork Solomon River flows in an east-northeast direction along the figure 10 south margin (east half). Elk Creek flows in an east-northeast direction across the figure 10 northwest quadrant to the figure 10 north edge and then turns to flow in a southeast direction to join the North Fork Solomon River just east of the figure 10 map area. Note southeast oriented North Fork Solomon River tributaries located south of the east-northeast and southeast oriented Elk Creek valley. Note also much shorter north-oriented Elk Creek tributary valleys. Also note shallow through valleys linking north-oriented Elk Creek tributary valleys with south oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Proceeding west along the Elk Creek-North Fork Solomon River drainage divide from the figure 10 east edge the north-south oriented through valleys can be seen in sections 9, 8, 6, 1, and 11. The through valleys provide evidence of multiple south and southeast oriented flood flow channels that once crossed the figure 10 map area. The flood flow channels were moving flood waters to what were then actively eroding southeast and south oriented North Fork Solomon River tributary valleys. Those tributary valleys had eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded east-northeast oriented North Fork Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the Elk Creek beheaded the south and southeast oriented flood flow channels and diverted flood waters more efficiently to the newly eroded North Fork Solomon River valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Elk Creek valley. The reversal of flood flow eroded the north-oriented Elk Creek tributary valleys and created the Elk Creek-North Fork Solomon 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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