Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area landform origins in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, Nebraska and Republic County, Kansas, USA

Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

Immense south-oriented floods eroded the Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, Nebraska and Republic County, Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. Flood waters were captured by headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Republican River valley, which eroded headward from the east-oriented Kansas River valley at approximately the same time as the south-oriented Big Blue River valley eroded north from the newly eroded Kansas River valley. The southeast-oriented Little Blue River valley and its tributary valleys then eroded headward from the actively eroding Big Blue River valley. The east-oriented Mill Creek valley eroded headward from the Little Blue River valley to behead south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Republican River valley. The Rose Creek valley then eroded headward from the actively eroding Little Blue River valley to behead south-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Mill Creek valley and to the newly eroded Republican River valley west of what had been the actively eroding Mill Creek valley head. Next the Spring Creek valley eroded headward from the actively eroding Little Blue River valley head to behead south-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Rose Creek valley and to the newly eroded Republican River valley west of the Rose Creek valley head. Finally the Elk Creek valley eroded headward from the actively eroding Little Blue River valley to behead south-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding Spring Creek valley and to the Republican River valley west of the actively eroding Spring Creek valley head. Evidence supporting this flood origin interpretation includes the positions and orientations of valleys and drainage divides, tributary orientations, and shallow through valleys eroded across present day drainage divides.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is one of a series of essays describing similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored deep glacial erosion paradigm, which is fundamentally different from most commonly accepted North American glacial history interpretations. Project essays are listed on the sidebar category list under their appropriate Missouri River tributary drainage basin, Missouri River segment drainage basin (by state), and/or state in which the Missouri River drainage basin is located.                 

Introduction:

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

Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area location map (select and click on maps to enlarge). National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 1 provides a Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, Nebraska and Republic County, Kansas location map. Nebraska is the state located in the northern third of figure 1 and Kansas is the state south of Nebraska. The east-northeast and east-southeast oriented Kansas River is located in the figure 1 southeast quadrant and flows from New Cambria to Junction City, Manhattan, Wamego, and St Marys before reaching the figure 1 east edge. The Republican River flows from the figure 1 west edge just north of the Nebraska-Kansas border to Franklin, Riverton, Red Cloud, Guide Rock, and Superior, Nebraska and then turns to flow in a southeast and south-southeast direction to Republic, Scandia, and Concordia, Kansas. From Concordia the Republican River flows in an east direction to Clyde and Clifton and then turns to flow in southeast direction to Clay Center and Junction City, where the southeast-oriented Republican River joins the east-oriented Kansas River. The Big Blue River flows in a south-southeast direction in the figure 1 northeast quadrant through Beatrice, Nebraska to Marysville and Blue Rapids, Kansas. South of Blue Rapids the Big Blue River makes a jog to the southwest and then flows in a southeast direction to join the east-oriented Kansas River near Manhattan. The Little Blue River flows from the figure 1 northwest quadrant in a southeast direction to Hebron, Nebraska and then in an east direction to Fairbury, Nebraska. From Fairbury the Little Blue River flows in a southeast direction to Hanover and Waterville, Kansas before turning east to join the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River near Blue Rapids. Mill Creek is the east- and north-oriented Little Blue River tributary flowing through Haddam, Morrowville, and Washington, Kansas before joining the southeast-oriented Little Blue River near Hanover, Kansas. The Mill Creek (Big Blue River)-Republican River (Kansas River) drainage divide area essay describes the region east of a north-south line through Haddam and Clifton, Kansas and can be found under Big Blue River or Republican River on the sidebar category list. This essay addresses Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide evidence west of that north-south line between Haddam and Clifton and east of a north-south line through Nelson and Superior, Nebraska. The hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project page essays published on this website collectively provide overwhelming evidence for massive south-oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and Kansas. These immense floods were probably derived from a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. The Kansas River valley eroded headward across Kansas to capture the south-oriented flood water and to divert the flood water east to the Mississippi River. The Big Blue River-Little River valley and the Republican River valley and their tributary valleys eroded headward from the actively eroding Kansas River valley head.

Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Little Blue River-Republican 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 Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties, Nebraska and Republic County Kansas. Nuckolls, Thayer and Jefferson are Nebraska county names and the county boundaries are shown. Jewell, Republic, and Washington are Kansas County names. The Republican River flows from the figure 2 west edge in an east-southeast direction to Superior, Nebraska, which is located in southern Nuckolls County. From Superior the Republican River flows in an east-southeast direction and then turns to flow in a south-southeast direction to Republic and Scandia in Republic County and then to Concordia, which is located in northern Cloud County (south of Republic County). At Concordia the Republican River turns to flow in an east direction across northern Cloud County to Clyde and Clifton and then to turn again to flow in a southeast direction. South and east of the figure 2 map area the southeast-oriented Republican River joins the east-oriented Kansas River. Note how Republican River tributaries from the north and east are relatively short and are predominantly oriented in a south direction. The numerous south-oriented Republican River tributaries provide evidence the Republican River valley eroded headward across and along south-oriented flood flow channels such as might be found in a large-scale south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. The Big Blue River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 2 north edge to Beatrice, Nebraska (in Gage County in the figure 2 northeast quadrant) and then flows in a south-southeast or south-southwest direction along the figure 2 east edge to the figure 2 southeast corner. The Little Blue River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 2 northwest corner to Angus and Oak in northeast Nuckolls County and then to Hebron in Thayer County. From Hebron the Little Blue River flows in an east-northeast direction to Powell in Jefferson County. At Powell the Little Blue River turns to flow in a southeast direction to Fairbury and Endicott and then into Kansas, where the Little Blue River joins the south-oriented Big Blue River near Blue Rapids (in the figure 2 southeast corner). Mill Creek headwaters are in eastern Republic County (north of Cuba) and flow in an east direction to Haddam, Morrowville, and Washington in Washington County. At Washington Mill Creek turns to flow in a north direction to join the south-southeast oriented Little Blue River. Rose Creek originates in northern Republic County and flows in a northeast and east-northeast direction to join the southeast-oriented Little Blue River near Endicott in Jefferson County. Spring Creek originates in Nuckolls County and flows in a southeast, northeast, and east-northeast direction to join the Little Blue River near Hebron in Thayer County. Elk Creek originates in eastern Nuckolls County and flows in an east direction through Nelson to join the Little Blue River near Oak (in northeast Nuckolls County). Evidence presented in the topographic maps below illustrates how headward erosion of Little Blue River-Elk Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the Republican River valley and to the Spring Creek valley, how headward erosion of the Spring Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the Republican River valley and Rose Creek valley, how headward erosion of the Rose Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the Republican River valley and Mill Creek valley, and how headward erosion of the Mill Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow to the Republican River valley.

Elk Creek-Republican River drainage divide area near Superior, Nebraska

Figure 3: Elk Creek-Republican River drainage divide area near Superior, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 uses reduced size topographic maps to illustrate the Elk Creek-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls County, Nebraska. Superior is the town located along the figure 3 south center edge and Nelson is the town located along the figure 3 north center edge. The Republican River flows in an east-southeast direction across the figure 3 southwest quadrant. East-oriented Elk Creek can be seen along the figure 3 north center edge area near Nelson. The east-and southeast-oriented stream originating northeast of the figure 3 center area and flowing to the figure 3 east center edge is Spring Creek. Note how west of the Spring Creek headwaters Elk Creek tributaries are north oriented and Republican River tributaries are south-oriented and how the north and south oriented tributary valleys appear to be eroded on similar if not the same alignments. The drainage divide between Elk Creek and the Republic River appears to be a relatively smooth upland surface into which these north and south oriented tributary valleys have been eroded. A look at more detailed topographic maps reveals shallow through valleys linking the north and south oriented tributary valleys. Figure 3a below is a detailed topographic map of the drainage divide area just west of the highway intersection located about four miles south of Nelson. Shallow north-south oriented through valleys can be seen in sections 8, 9,10, 14, and 15. These through valleys generally are less than 20 feet deep, but they exist and provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels to what was once the actively eroding deep Republican River valley, prior to headward erosion of the deep Elk Creek valley (in other words, at the time the through valleys were eroded the east-oriented Elk Creek valley to the north did not exist). The south-oriented flood flow was eroding the multiple south-oriented Republican River tributary valleys headward into the upland surface represented by the highest figure 3 and 3a elevations today. Headward erosion of the deep Elk Creek valley beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Channels were beheaded one channel at a time from east to west as the Elk Creek valley eroded headward. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded Elk Creek valley. Because flood flow channels were anastomosing or interconnected reversed flow in a newly beheaded flood flow channel could capture yet to be beheaded flood flow from channels further to the west. Captures of yet to be beheaded flood flow provided the volumes of flood water required to erode the north-oriented Elk Creek tributary valleys.

Figure 3a: Detailed map of Elk Creek-Republican River drainage divide southwest of Nelson, NebraskaUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Little Blue River-Elk Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Little Blue River-Elk Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the Little Blue River-Elk Creek drainage divide area north of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Nelson is the town located just east of the figure 4 south center area. Elk Creek flows in a southeast and east direction to Nelson and then in a northeast direction to join the southeast-oriented Little Blue River near the figure 4 east edge. Deweese is the town just west of the figure 4 north center edge area and the Little Blue River flows in a southeast direction from Deweese to the figure 4 east edge. Lawrence is the town located near the figure 4 west edge (north of the west center area). The north and northeast oriented Little Blue River tributary east of Lawrence is Liberty Creek and Lawrence is on the drainage divide between northeast oriented Morehouse Creek to the south and northeast-oriented Dry Creek to the north. The north-northeast oriented stream joining the Little Blue River at Deweese is another Dry Creek and the north and northeast oriented Little Blue River tributary south of Deweese is Walnut Creek. The east and northeast oriented stream joining the Little Blue River near Angus (the small town in the Little Blue River valley just north of the figure 4 east center area) is Oxbow Creek. While more complex than figure 3 map evidence the figure 4 evidence can also be explained in the context of systematic headward erosion of the Little Blue River and tributary valleys to capture and behead south oriented flood flow channels. The Elk Creek valley eroded headward from the actively eroding Little Blue River valley first to capture and behead south oriented flood flow routes. Next headward erosion of the Oxbow Creek valley captured and beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Elk Creek valley. Headward erosion of the Walnut Creek valley next captured and beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Oxbow Creek and Elk Creek valleys. Headward erosion of the Dry Creek valley was next. Finally headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Liberty Creek valley segment captured and beheaded south oriented flood flow to both the Elk Creek valley and the Republican River valley. The north-oriented Liberty Creek valley was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north ends of beheaded flood flow channels. The reversed flood flow captured significant yet to be beheaded flood flow from south oriented flood flow channels further to the west. That captured flood flow eroded in sequence the northeast-oriented Morehouse Creek and Dry Creek valleys. Shallow through valleys link the various east and northeast oriented drainage basins. Figure 4a below provides a detailed of the Liberty Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide east of St Stephens located south of Lawrence near the figure 4 west edge. The east and north-northeast oriented drainage in the figure 4a west half is Liberty Creek and all figure 4a north oriented drainage routes in the figure 4a northeast quadrant flow to Dry Creek. The south and east-southeast oriented drainage in the figure 4a southeast quadrant flows to Elk Creek. Shallow north-south oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Liberty Creek and Dry Creek valleys with the south and east-southeast oriented Elk Creek valley can be seen in sections 9, 10, and 11. The through valleys are generally shallow, often only 10-20 feet in depth, but they provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels prior to Little Blue River valley headward erosion.

Figure 4a: Detailed map of Liberty Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide area east of St Stephens, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Little Blue River-Spring Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Little Blue River-Spring Creek drainage divide area east of the figure 3 map area and east and south of the figure 4 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Hebron is the larger town located in the figure 5 northeast quadrant and near the figure 5 east edge. Deshler is the town located just east of the figure 5 center and Ruskin is the smaller town located near the figure 5 west center area. The Little Blue River flows in an east-southeast direction from the figure 5 northwest corner to Hebron and then to the figure 5 east edge. Spring Creek is the stream flowing in a southeast direction from figure 5 west center edge (just west of Ruskin) and then making a U-turn to flow in a northeast direction to Deshler. From Deshler Spring Creek flows in an east-northeast direction to join the Little Blue River near Hebron. Note the southeast oriented tributaries to the northeast-oriented Spring Creek valley segment. Also note northwest oriented tributaries from the southeast. The southeast and northwest oriented tributaries suggest the northeast oriented Spring Creek valley segment eroded headward across multiple southeast oriented flood flow channels. The northwest oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on the northwest ends of beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels.  Through valleys linking the north-oriented Little Blue River tributary valleys with south-oriented Spring Creek through valleys do exist, although they are usually very shallow. Figure 5a below provides a detailed map of the Little Blue River-Spring Creek drainage divide area north of Deshler. Deshler is the town located in the figure 5a southwest corner. The Little Blue River is located in the figure 5a north half and Spring Creek is located in the south half. Shallow through valleys crossing the drainage divide can be seen in sections 1, 5, 4, and 3. Even with the detailed topographic maps these through valleys are not deep enough to be prominent features, but the valleys do exist and are evidence of south-oriented flood flow routes that existed prior to headward erosion of the Little Blue River valley. Probably headward erosion of the Little Blue River valley occurred very soon after headward erosion of the Spring Creek valley to the south. In other words the two valleys eroded headward across the region at approximately the same time.

Figure 5a: Detailed map of Little Blue River-Spring Creek drainage divide area northeast of Deshler, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Spring Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 illustrates the Spring Creek-Republican River drainage divide area south of the figure 5 map area and east and south of the figure 3 map area (and includes overlap areas with figure 5). The Republican River is turning from flowing in an east direction to flowing in a south-southeast direction in the figure 6 southwest quadrant. Hardy is town located in the Republican River valley and near the figure 6 west edge. The west to east oriented Nebraska-Kansas state line is located just south of Hardy. Byron is the town just north of the state line in the figure 6 center area and Chester is the town just north of the state line near the figure 6 east edge. Spring Creek is the stream flowing south from the figure 6 north edge (west half) and turning to flow in a southeast, northeast, and north direction to the figure 6 north center edge. The north and southeast oriented stream in the figure 6 southeast corner area is Rose Creek, better seen in figures 7 and 8 below. The northeast oriented stream in the figure 6 northeast corner is Dry Creek, which joins the Little Blue River east of Hebron and which can be seen in the figure 5 southeast quadrant. Note south-oriented Republican River tributaries, some of which flow in a southwest direction when they approach the southeast-oriented Republican River valley. Note also north-oriented Spring Creek tributary valleys and north-oriented headwaters of tributaries to northeast oriented Dry Creek (flowing to the Little Blue River). Shallow through valleys link  north-oriented Spring Creek and Dry Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Republican River tributary valleys. Again the shallow through valleys are best seen on more detailed topographic maps and even then are not spectacular features. However, the through valleys do provide evidence of multiple south-oriented flood flow channels that existed prior to headward erosion of the northeast oriented Dry Creek valley and northeast and north-oriented Spring Creek valley. Figure 6a below provides a detailed map of the Spring Creek-Republican River drainage divide area near Bryon to illustrate north-south oriented through valleys. North-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Spring Creek tributary valleys with south-oriented Republican River tributary valleys can best be seen in sections 31 and 32 just west of Byron. Headward erosion of the Spring Creek valley north of the figure 6a map area beheaded south-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and to erode the north-oriented Spring Creek tributary valleys and to create the Spring Creek-Republican River drainage divide.

Figure 6a: Detailed map of Spring Creek-Republican River drainage divide area near Byron, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Little Blue River-Rose Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Little Blue River-Rose Creek drainage divide area located east and north of the figure 6 map area and which includes overlap areas with figures 5 and 6. Hebron is the town located in the figure 7 northwest quadrant. The Little Blue River flows in a southeast direction to Hebron and then turns to flow in an east-northeast direction to the figure 7 north edge. Dry Creek is the northeast oriented stream flowing from the figure 7 west center area to join the Little Blue River about four miles east of Hebron (grid squares are generally one square mile in size). Chester is the town located in the figure 7 southwest corner. Hubbell is the town located near the figure 7 south center edge and Reynolds is the town located in the figure 7 southeast quadrant. Rose Creek is the northeast and east oriented stream flowing from Hubbell to Reynolds and then to the figure 7 east edge. Note the southeast-oriented and northwest and north oriented Rose Creek tributaries. This southeast-northwest tributary orientation is evidence the deep Rose Creek valley eroded headward across multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels. The southeast-oriented tributary valleys were eroded headward by southeast-oriented flood flow moving to what was then the newly eroded Rose Creek valley. The northwest and north oriented Rose Creek tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on the northwest and north ends of beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Headward erosion of the deep Little Blue River-Dry Creek valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow channels moving flood water to the newly eroded Rose Creek valley and its southeast-oriented tributary valleys. Figure 7a below provides a detailed map of a Dry Creek-Rose Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the shallow through valleys, which provide evidence of south-oriented flood flow channels to what were then the actively eroding Rose Creek tributary valleys prior to headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Dry Creek valley. Northeast-oriented Dry Creek is located in the figure 7a northwest quadrant and all figure 7a north-oriented drainage routes flow to Dry Creek and the Little Blue River. South and southeast oriented figure 7a drainage flows to Rose Creek. Note in sections 34 and 35 and also in sections 3 and 4 shallow through valleys linking the north-oriented valleys with the south-oriented valleys, which provide evidence of one time south oriented flood flow channels. A close inspection of figure 7a reveals evidence for much broader north-south oriented through valleys, which suggests large volumes of south oriented sheet flow moved across the region.

Figure 7a: Detailed map of Dry Creek-Rose Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Rose Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

Figure 8: Rose Creek-Republican River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 illustrates the Rose Creek-Republican River drainage divide area south of the figure 6 map area and south and west of the figure 7 map area. Belleville, Kansas is the larger town located in the figure 8 south center area. Scandia is located near the figure 8 southwest corner and Republic is the town near the northwest corner. Munden, Kansas is located in the figure 8 northeast quadrant. The Republican River flows in a south-southeast direction along the figure 8 west edge to Scandia and the figure 8 south edge. South of the figure 8 map area the south-southeast direction the Republican River turns to flow in an east direction before resuming its southeast-oriented flow direction (see figures 1 and 2). Rose Creek is the south, east, north, east-southeast, and northeast oriented stream located in the figure 8 north center area and northeast quadrant. The Rose Creek route north of figure 8 can be seen in figure 7 above. The east-southeast oriented stream in the figure 8 east center area (south of Munden) is the North Fork Mill Creek, which is better seen in figure 9 below. Salt Creek is the south-oriented Republican River tributary located just east of Belleville and Riley Creek is the south-oriented Salt Creek tributary located along the Belleville west edge. Note how the north-oriented Rose Creek valley segment is linked by a north-south oriented through valley with the south-oriented Salt Creek valley. This through valley provides evidence the north-oriented Rose Creek valley segment originated as a south-oriented flood flow channel to what was then the newly eroded Republican River valley south of the figure 8 map area. Headward erosion of the east-southeast and northeast-oriented Rose Creek valley then beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channel and diverted the flood water to what was then the newly eroded Little Blue River valley north and east of the figure 8 map area. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow channel reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded east-southeast and northeast oriented Rose Creek valley. The south- and east-oriented Rose Creek headwaters valley (upstream from the north-oriented Rose Creek valley segment) probably originated as a tributary to the south-oriented flood flow channel and was captured by the reversal of flood flow in the present day north-oriented Rose Creek valley segment. Figure 8a below provides a detailed map of the Rose Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area to better illustrate the north-south oriented through valleys linking north-oriented Rose Creek tributary valleys with the south-oriented Salt Creek valley. The southeast-oriented stream in the figure 8a southeast corner is the North Fork Mill Creek and the north-oriented stream in the figure 8a northeast corner is a Rose Creek tributary. Note the north-south oriented through valley linking the Rose Creek valley with the North Fork Mill Creek valley.

Figure 8a: Detailed map of Rose Creek-Salt Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 9 illustrates the Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide area east and north of the figure 8 map area and east and south of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figures 7 and 8. The west to east oriented Nebraska-Kansas state line is located near the figure 9 north edge. Hubell, Nebraska is the small town located in Thayer County, Nebraska in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Narka, Kansas is the small town in the Republic County northeast corner area (southeast from Hubell). Mahaska, Kansas is the town northeast from Narka and located in the Washington County northwest corner. Munden, Kansas is the town located southwest from Narka and near the figure 9 west edge. Haddam, Kansas is the town located near the figure 9 south edge (in the southeast quadrant). Rose Creek is the northeast-oriented stream in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Note north-northwest oriented Rose Creek tributaries from the southeast and south-southeast oriented tributaries from the northwest. Mill Creek is the east-northeast and east oriented stream flowing through Haddam near the figure 9 south edge (east half). The east- and southeast-oriented Mill Creek tributary originating south of Munden and flowing through the figure 9 southwest quadrant to join Mill Creek near the figure 9 south center edge is the North Fork Mill Creek. Cherry Creek is the south-southeast oriented Mill Creek tributary originating at Narka and Myer Creek is the south-southeast-oriented Mill Creek tributary originating near Mahaska. Bowman Creek is the south-southeast oriented Mill Creek tributary east of Myer Creek. The figure 9 map area was eroded by south-southeast oriented flood water, which was captured by Mill Creek valley headward erosion. Mill Creek tributary valleys then eroded headward along south-southeast oriented flood flow channels until headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Rose Creek valley beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow. Flood waters on north and northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow north-northwest to the newly eroded Rose Creek valley. The flood flow reversal eroded north-northwest oriented Rose Creek tributary valleys and created the Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide. Shallow and broad through valleys link north-northwest oriented Rose Creek tributary valleys with south-southeast-oriented Mill Creek tributary valleys. Figure 9a below illustrates the Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide area near Narka to better show the through valleys. North-oriented figure 9a drainage flows to Rose Creek while south-oriented drainage flows to Mill Creek. Note slightly higher elevations in the figure 9a northeast and southwest corner areas. The breath of the through valley suggests immense sheets of south-southeast oriented flood water eroded the present day Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide area.

Figure 9a: Detailed map of Rose Creek-Mill Creek drainage divide area near Narka, Kansas. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Mill Creek-Republican River drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 illustrates the Mill Creek-Republican River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 8 map area and south and west of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Belleville, Kansas is the town located in the figure 10 northwest corner. Cuba, Kansas is the town located in the figure 10 north center area. The South Fork Mill Creek flows in a southeast direction to Cuba and then flows in a north and east-northeast direction to the figure 10 north edge (near northeast corner). Note north-oriented tributaries in the figure 10 northeast quadrant flowing to South Fork Mill Creek. Other figure 10 drainage routes are south-oriented Republican River tributaries and flow to the east-oriented Republican River located south of figure 10 map area (see figures 1 and 2). The south-oriented streams south of Cuba are Elk Creek and the West Fork Elk Creek. South-oriented Elk Creek joins the east-oriented Republican River near Clyde, which is located south of the figure 10 map area. Note shallow and broad north-south oriented through valley linking the southeast and north oriented South Fork Mill Creek valley at Cuba with the south-oriented Elk Creek and West Fork Elk Creek valleys. Figure 10a below provides a detailed map of the South Fork Mill Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide area near Cuba to better show through valleys. The South Fork Mill Creek flows in a southeast direction to Cuba and then makes a U-turn to flow north to the figure 10a north edge. The south-oriented stream in sections 18 and 19 is the West Fork Elk Creek. The south oriented stream in sections 15 and 22 is Elk Creek. South oriented drainage between West Fork Elk Creek and Elk Creek flows to Elk Creek and the north oriented stream in section 9 flows to the South Fork Mill Creek. Note north-south oriented through valleys linking the Mill Creek valley with the south-oriented Elk Creek and West Fork Elk Creek valleys. The north-oriented South Fork Mill Creek valley alignments originated as south-oriented flood flow channels, which were beheaded by headward erosion of the east-oriented Mill Creek-South Fork Mill Creek valley. Flood waters on north ends of beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to erode the north-oriented South Fork Mill Creek valley, north-oriented South Fork Mill Creek tributary valleys, capture the southeast-oriented South Fork Mill Creek headwaters valley, and create the South Fork Mill Creek-Elk Creek drainage divide.

Figure 10a: Detailed map of South Fork Mill Creek-West Fork Elk Creek drainage divide near Cuba, Kansas. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: