Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas, USA

Authors

Abstract:

The Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas is located in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas and was eroded by massive south-oriented floods. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting ice sheet and flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. This essay illustrates and describes evidence for an identifiable sequence of events as deep valleys eroded headward from what was then the newly eroded Kansas River valley, which had eroded headward into Kansas to capture the south-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Solomon River valley first captured flood flow in northern Mitchell County and south-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys, including the Plum Creek and Limestone Creek valleys, eroded headward along south-oriented flood flow channels into Jewell County. Next headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley and its east-southeast-oriented Buffalo Creek tributary valley beheaded flood flow channels to the actively eroding Plum Creek valley. Soon thereafter headward erosion of the Republican River valley and its east-oriented White Rock Creek tributary valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding Buffalo Creek and Limestone Creek valleys. Finally Republican River valley headward erosion into what is now southern Nebraska beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels to the newly eroded White Rock Creek valley. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes present day valley orientations and through valleys crossing present day drainage divides.

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 Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell 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 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 Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area landform origins in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell  Counties, Kansas will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Republican River-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 location map for the Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas. Figure 1 illustrates an area in north central Kansas with an area in south central Nebraska in the north. The Republican River flows in an east direction from the figure 1 west edge (just north of the Nebraska-Kansas state line) to Alma, Naponee, Red Cloud, Guide Rock, and Superior, Nebraska before turning in a south-southeast direction to flow to Scandia and Concordia, Kansas. At Concordia the Republican River turns to flow in an east direction to Clyde and Clifton and then turns again to flow in a south-southeast direction to join the northeast and east oriented Kansas River near Junction City. The northeast and east oriented Kansas River originates at the confluence of the Smoky Hill River and Republican River near Junction City, Kansas and east of the figure 1 map area joins the Missouri River at Kansas City, Missouri. The Solomon River is formed at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Solomon River located near Cawker City and flows in a southeast direction to Beloit, Asherville, Simpson, and Delphos before turning to flow in a south-southeast direction to Minneapolis and Bennington. From Bennington the Solomon River flows in a southeast direction to join the Smoky Hill River near Solomon. The North Fork Solomon River flows from the figure 1 west edge in an east and east-southeast direction to Kirwin, Gaylord, Portis, and Downs before joining the east-northeast oriented South Fork Solomon River. The Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas is located south of Superior, Nebraska and includes the towns of Burr Oak, Mankato, Jewell, and Randall, Kansas. Lovewell Reservoir is located on east-oriented White Rock Creek, which flows through the drainage divide area to join the Republican River. South of White Rock Creek is south- and east-oriented Buffalo Creek, which also flows to the Republican River. The unlabeled south-oriented stream west of Buffalo Creek and which flows to the Solomon River near Glen Elder is Limestone Creek.

The Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, Nebraska and Republic County, Kansas essay addresses the region located north and east of the drainage divide area discussed here and can be found under Republican River on the sidebar category list. Hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays, which are published on this website, collectively present evidence for massive south-oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and into Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. The northeast and east oriented Kansas River valley eroded headward into Kansas to capture the south-oriented flood flow and to divert the flood water east to what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley. The Republican River valley and Solomon River valley and their tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded Kansas River valley to more efficiently move south-oriented flood waters to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. Headward erosion of the Buffalo Creek valley from the actively eroding Republican River valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what was then the newly eroded Solomon River valley. White Rock Creek valley headward erosion then beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding Buffalo Creek and Limestone Creek valleys, which were eroding headward from the newly eroded Solomon River valley. Finally Republican River valley headward erosion beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded White Rock Creek valley.

Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Republican River-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 somewhat more detailed location map for the Republican River-Solomon River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell Counties, Kansas. Franklin, Webster, Nuckolls, and Thayer Counties are located in Nebraska and county boundaries are show. Smith, Jewell, Republic, Osborne, Mitchell, and Cloud are Kansas counties. The Republican River flows in an east direction from the figure 2 west edge to Franklin in southern Franklin County and then to Red Cloud in southern Webster County. From Red Cloud the Republican River flows in an east-southeast direction to Superior in southern Nuckolls County and to the Republic County, Kansas northwest corner. Once in Kansas the Republican River flows in a south-southeast direction to Concordia in Cloud County and then in an east direction to the figure 2 east edge. White Rock Creek is the east-oriented Republican River tributary in northern Jewell County and Lovewell Reservoir floods the White Rock Creek valley. Buffalo Creek is a south and east-southeast oriented Republican River tributary originating near Mankato and flowing to Jewell and Randall in Jewell County and joining the Republican River near Concordia in Cloud County. Marsh Creek is a southeast-oriented Buffalo Creek tributary in eastern Jewell County and western Republic County. The North and South Forks of the Solomon River meet near Cawker City in the Mitchell County northwest corner and form the east-southeast and southeast oriented Solomon River, which flows across Mitchell County to the Cloud County southwest corner. Waconoa Lake in northwest Mitchell County is a reservoir located on the Solomon River. Limestone Creek is a south-oriented Solomon River tributary in southwest Jewell County, which joins the Solomon River near Glen Elder in northwest Mitchell County. The figure 2 drainage history as interpreted here began with massive south-oriented floods moving across the entire figure 2 map area. The Solomon River valley eroded headward into the figure 2 map area to capture the flood flow and to divert flood waters more efficiently to the newly eroded Kansas River valley. South-oriented tributary valleys including the Limestone Creek valley eroded headward from the newly eroded Solomon River valley (north-oriented Solomon River tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on beheaded flood flow routes). Republican River valley headward erosion followed soon after with headward erosion of its tributary Buffalo Creek valley beheading some south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the Marsh Creek valley and tributary valleys from the newly eroded Buffalo Creek valley captured some flood flow moving to the newly eroded Buffalo Creek valley. Headward erosion of the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels supplying flood water to what were then the actively eroding Marsh Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Limestone Creek valleys. Finally headward erosion of the Republican River valley into what is now southern Nuckolls County, Nebraska beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels supplying flood water to the newly eroded White Rock Creek valley and reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels eroded the north-oriented Republican River tributary valleys.

Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide area in northern Jewell County, Kansas and southern Nuckolls County, Nebraska. Hardy is the town located in the figure 3 northeast corner area. Superior, Nebraska is the larger town located along the figure 3 north edge, which is only partially shown. The Republican River flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 3 north edge near Superior to the figure 3 east edge (north half). White Rock Creek flows in an east direction from the figure 3 west edge (south half) to Lovewell Reservoir and then in a southeast and northeast direction to the figure 3 east edge (south half). East of the figure 3 map area White Rock Creek flows to the south-southeast oriented Republican River. Spring Creek in the figure 3 east center area is a south, southeast, and east oriented Republican River tributary. Note how Spring Creek headwaters are linked by a north-south oriented through valley to the east-oriented Republican River valley to the north. Today the through valley is used as an irrigation canal route. The through valley provides evidence that prior to headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley south oriented flood flow moved to what was then an actively eroding Spring Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley beheaded the south oriented flood flow, which caused flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel to reverse flow direction and to erode a north-oriented Republican River tributary valley. Continuing further west to the Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide area note the north-oriented Republican River tributary valleys and the south and southeast oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys. Further note shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented Republican Creek tributary valleys with the south and southeast oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys. The White Rock Creek valley eroded headward across the region slightly in advance of the Republican River valley and south and southeast oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded White Rock Creek valley along and across the south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley to the north beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels to what were then actively eroding south- and southeast-oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys. Flood waters on north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Republican River valley and to erode north-oriented Republican River tributary valleys.

Detailed map of Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Detailed map of Republican River-White Rock 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 Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide area near Webber, Kansas, which was seen in less detail in figure 3 above. Webber is located in the figure 4 southeast corner. North-oriented drainage along the figure 4 north edge flows to the Republican River, which is located north of the figure 4 map area. South-oriented drainage along the figure 4 south edge flows to White Rock Creek, which is located south of the figure 4 map area. Note the north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Republican River tributary valleys with the south-oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys. Generally the through valleys are shallow compared to the depths the tributary valleys on either side of the drainage divide. The map contour interval is 20 feet and many of the through valleys are defined by only one contour line. The north-south oriented railroad in the figure 4 east half is located in one of the deeper through valleys, which is defined by three contour lines on either side. While they may be shallow, the through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved large volumes of flood water to what was at that time the actively eroding White Rock Creek valley. At that time the deep Republican River valley north of the figure 4 map area did not exist and flood waters could freely flow south to the figure 4 map area. [All present day Missouri River drainage basin valleys north of the figure 4 map area did not exist at that time and flood waters were flowing freely from the rapidly melting North American ice sheet to the figure 4 map area across a topographic surface that has since been deeply eroded.] Headward erosion of the deep Republican River valley north of the figure 4 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels, which had been moving flood water across the figure 4 map area, 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 valley. Because flood flow channels were anastomosing (or interconnected) reversed flow in a newly beheaded flood flow channel captured 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 Republican River tributary valleys. Reversal of flood flow not only eroded the north-oriented Republican River tributary valleys, but also created the Republican River-White Rock Creek drainage divide.

White Rock Creek-Marsh Creek drainage divide area

Figure 5: White Rock Creek-Marsh Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 5 illustrates the White Rock Creek-Marsh Creek drainage divide area south and east of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Lovewell Reservoir is located in the figure 5 northwest corner and floods the White Rock Creek valley. Downstream from Lovewell Reservoir White Rock Creek flows in a southeast direction toward the town of Lovewell and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to join the south-southeast oriented Republican River north of the figure 5 map area. The south-southeast oriented Republican River can be seen flowing from the figure 5 northeast corner area to the figure 5 east center edge. Montrose is the town located in the figure 5 southwest corner. Proceeding east from Montrose along the railroad line the next town is Formoso and then in the figure 5 southeast quadrant is the town of Courtland. The south-oriented stream located east of Formoso is Marsh Creek, which originates a short distance of Lovewell. East Marsh Creek flows in a southeast direction between Montrose and Formoso and the southeast-oriented stream at Montrose is West Marsh Creek. Marsh Creek, after East and West Marsh Creeks join it, flows to east-oriented Buffalo Creek, which is located south of the figure 5 map area and which is a Republican River tributary. Beaver Creek is the south-southeast oriented Republican River tributary just east of Courtland and east of Beaver Creek is south-southeast oriented Mud Creek, which also flows to the Republican River. Note the deep north-south through valleys linking the south-oriented Marsh Creek and East Marsh Creek headwaters with the White Rock Creek valley. The through valley at Lovewell, which is approximately 200 feet deep, suggests at least segments of the northeast-oriented White Rock Creek valley segment may have originated as a south-oriented flood flow channel, which was subsequently beheaded and reversed by Republican River valley headward erosion. The multiple south-southeast and southeast oriented figure 5 drainage orientations south of the White Rock Creek valley suggest large volumes of flood waters moved across the location of the White Rock Creek valley to what must have been at that time the actively eroding and deep Republican River valley head. At that time the Republican River valley was probably being eroded into a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 5 elevations and flood waters have since eroded the figure 5 map area.

White Rock Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 illustrates the White Rock Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area located west of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Burr Oak, Kansas is the town located in the figure 6 northwest quadrant. Mankato is the larger town located just south of the figure 6 center. Montrose is the smaller town located east of Mankato (in WASHINGTON Township). White Rock Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 6 west edge to Burr Oak and then to the figure 6 north edge. At the figure 6 north edge White Rock Creek flows in an east direction to Lovewell Reservoir and the figure 6 northeast corner. The north-oriented White Rock Creek tributary north of Montrose is Johns Creek and the south-southeast oriented stream at Montrose is West Marsh Creek. A close look at the Johns Creek-West Marsh Creek drainage divide reveals a north-south through valley linking the two opposing stream valleys. In other words, the north-oriented Johns Creek valley originated as a south-oriented flood flow channel to what was once the actively eroding West Marsh Creek valley, which had eroded headward from the newly eroded Marsh Creek and Buffalo Creek valleys. Headward erosion of the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented Johns Creek valley. The northeast and north-northeast oriented White Rock Creek tributary located north of Mankato is Big Timber Creek, with the East Fork Big Timber Creek originating east of Mankato. Buffalo Creek is the south-oriented stream south of the East Fork Big Timber Creek headwaters and Middle Buffalo Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream at Mankato flowing to the figure 6 south edge and to join Buffalo Creek south of the figure 6 map area. South of figure 6 Buffalo Creek turns to flow in an east direction to join the Republican River. Note the multiple north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented East Fork Big Timber Creek valley with the south-oriented Buffalo Creek valley. Figure 7 below provides a detailed map of East Fork Big Timber Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the through valleys. The south-oriented stream in the figure 6 southwest quadrant is Limestone Creek, which flows to the Solomon River. Figure 8 below better illustrates the White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area.

East Fork Big Timber Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area

Figure 7: East Fork Big Timber Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide areaUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 provides a detailed map of the East Fork Big Timber Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area east of Mankato, Kansas, which was seen in less detail in figure 6 above. Mankato is located in figure 7 southwest corner. The East Fork Timber Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream in section 36 near the figure 7 north center edge. Buffalo Creek is the south-southwest oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 south edge in section 19 (east of the figure 7 south center edge). The south-southeast oriented stream in sections 12 and 13 and its south-oriented tributary located just to the east in sections 7 and 18 are Buffalo Creek tributaries. Note the north-south oriented through valleys linking those two south-oriented Buffalo Creek tributary valleys with the north-oriented East Big Timber Creek valley. These through valleys and other similar through valleys provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels that once moved flood waters to what was the actively eroding Buffalo Creek valley. When the through valleys were eroded the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley north of the figure 7 map area did not exist, nor did the Republican River valley exist further to the north. Headward erosion of the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels to the actively eroding Buffalo Creek valley. Flood waters on the north ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded White Rock Creek valley. The reversed flood flow, probably with the aid of yet to be beheaded flood flow from further to the west, eroded the north-oriented East Fork Big Timber Creek valley and created the East Fork Big Timber Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide.

White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area west of the figure 6 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 6. Mankato is the town located near the figure 8 east center edge. Burr Oak is the town located near the figure 8 north edge (east half). West Buffalo Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream flowing to the figure 8 southeast corner. White Rock Creek flows in a generally easterly direction from the figure 8 northwest corner along the figure 8 north edge to Burr Oak and then to the figure 8 north edge. Note how in the figure 8 north center area White Rock Creek flows in a southeast direction and then turns to flow in a northeast direction to Burr Oak and the figure 8 north edge. Also note how White Rock Creek has north-oriented tributaries in the figure 8 northwest quadrant and east of Burr Oak, but only has very short north-oriented tributaries in the figure 8 north center area (near the where White Rock Creek changes from flowing in a southeast direction to flowing in a northeast direction). West of West Buffalo Creek the south-oriented drainage routes converging on the figure 8 south center edge area are Limestone Creek tributaries. South of figure 8 Limestone Creek flows in a south direction to join the southeast oriented Solomon River. Note how the Limestone Creek tributaries are linked by numerous north-south oriented through valleys with the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley and/or with north-oriented White Rock Creek tributaries. The multiple north-south oriented through valleys provide evidence of a south oriented anastomosing channel complex, which once moved flood water south to what was then the newly eroded Solomon River valley. The southeast and northeast oriented White Rock Creek valley segments in the figure 8 north center area probably originated as south-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the east-oriented White Rock Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channel moving flood water on what is now at least a segment of the northeast-oriented White Rock Creek valley segment. A reversal of flood flow then eroded the northeast-oriented White Rock Creek valley segment and captured southeast-oriented flood flow from further to the west. The well-defined north-south oriented through valley immediately south of the White Rock Creek elbow of capture provides evidence White Rock Creek valley headward erosion captured south-oriented flood flow that had been moving to what had been the actively eroding south-oriented Limestone Creek valley.

Detailed map of White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 provides a detailed map of the White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide area between Esbon and Otego, Kansas, which was seen in less detail in figure 8 above. Esbon is the town located near the figure 9 west center edge. Otego is the much smaller town located east of Esbon and in the figure 9 east center area. East-oriented White Rock Creek is located along the figure 9 north margin and makes a southeast to northeast oriented jog just east of the figure 9 north center area. The northeast-oriented stream in the figure 9 northwest corner is a White Rock Creek tributary. East of the figure 9 map area White Rock Creek flows to the Republican River. West Limestone Creek flows south from near Esbon along the figure 9 west margin to the figure 9 southwest corner. Middle Limestone Creek flows south from the figure 9 center to the figure 9 south center edge. South of the figure 9 map area Middle and West Limestone Creek join (along with East Limestone Creek and other Limestone Creek tributaries) to form south-oriented Limestone Creek, which flows to the Solomon River. All south-oriented streams in the figure 9 south half are Limestone Creek tributaries. Follow the White Rock Creek-Limestone Creek drainage divide from Esbon to Otego. In sections 35, 36, 31, 32, 6, and 5 there are shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the White Rock Creek valley with the south-oriented Limestone Creek headwaters valleys. The northeast-oriented White Rock Creek valley segment in sections 32 and 29 and the southeast-oriented White Rock Creek valley segment in sections 30 and 31 probably originated as south-oriented flood flow channels supplying flood water to what were at that time the actively eroding south-oriented Limestone Creek tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the White Rock Creek valley north and east of the figure 9 map area beheaded the south-oriented flood flow moving through sections 29 and 30 and caused a reversal of flood flow. The reversal of flood flow captured south-oriented flood flow moving through sections 30 and 31 and established the present day White Rock Creek valley route (in the figure 9 map area). Note the absence of significant north-oriented White Rock Creek tributary valleys in the section 31 and 32 area, while further east and west White Rock Creek or northeast-oriented White Rock Creek tributaries do have more significant north-oriented tributaries (see figure 8). The north-oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow that did not capture significant southeast-oriented flood flow and consequently were not able to extend the White Rock Creek westward as done in figure 9.

Buffalo Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 provides a detailed map of the Buffalo Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide west of Randall and south of the figure 6 map area (there is a gap between figure 6 and figure 10). Buffalo Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 10 northwest corner to the figure 10 north center area and then turns to flow in a north-northeast direction to the figure 10 north edge. From the figure 10 north edge Buffalo Creek flows in an east-southeast direction to the figure 10. east edge. Randall is the town located in the figure 10 northeast corner just north of Buffalo Creek. East of figure 10 Buffalo Creek continues to flow in an east-southeast direction to join the Republican River near Concordia (see figures 1 and 2). Plum Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream in section 28 along the figure 10 south edge. All south-oriented drainage routes along the figure 10 south edge are tributaries of Plum Creek. South of the figure 10 map area Plum Creek continues to flow in a south-southeast direction to join the Solomon River near Beloit, Kansas (see figures 1 and 2). Note the broad, but shallow north-south oriented through valley in sections 15 and 16 near the figure 10 center. The through valley links the southeast and north-northeast oriented Buffalo Creek valley elbow of capture with a south-oriented Plum Creek tributary valley. At one time the southeast–oriented Buffalo Creek valley segment in the figure 10 northwest quadrant and the north-northeast oriented valley segments were south-oriented flood flow channels providing flood water to what was then the actively eroding Plum Creek valley, which was eroding headward from the newly eroded Solomon River valley. Headward erosion of the east-southeast oriented Buffalo Creek valley from what was then the actively eroding Republican River valley head beheaded a south-southwest oriented flood flow channel in sections 2 and 3 and flood waters on the north end of that beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to create the north-northeast oriented Buffalo Creek valley segment. The reversal of flood flow captured southeast-oriented flood flow in the southeast-oriented Buffalo Creek valley segment upstream from sections 9 and 10 to create the Buffalo Creek valley as seen in figure 10 and also to create the Buffalo Creek-Plum Creek (Republican River-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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