Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area landform origins in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska, USA

· Big Blue River, Nebraska, Platte River (NE)
Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska was eroded by massive south and southeast oriented floods, which were beheaded by Platte River valley headward erosion. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet and flowed south and southeast across Nebraska. The Little Blue River valley eroded headward into the drainage divide area from what was then the newly eroded south-southeast oriented Big Blue River valley to capture south and southeast oriented flood flow. Soon thereafter other east-oriented Big Blue River tributary valleys eroded headward into the region in sequence (from south to north) to capture flood flow and to behead flood flow routes to the newly eroded southeast or east-oriented Big Blue River tributary immediately to the south. Headward erosion of the large, but shallow northeast-oriented Platte River valley then beheaded all flood flow routes to the newly eroded Big Blue River tributary valleys. Evidence supporting this interpretation is found in the nature of the present day drainage divide, valley orientations, orientations of secondary tributaries to the major Big Blue River tributaries, and positions of Big Blue River tributary valleys relative to each other.

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 Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area landform origins in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska, 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 Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area landform origins in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska 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.

Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Platte River-Little Blue 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 Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska location map. The west to east oriented Nebraska-Kansas state line is located south of the figure 1 center. Nebraska is the northern state (Lincoln is the Nebraska capital) and Kansas is the state south of Nebraska. Omaha located in the figure 1 northeast corner is Nebraska’s largest city. The south-southeast oriented Missouri River can just barely be seen along the figure 1 east edge near Omaha. The Platte River is the major west to east oriented Nebraska River and flows from North Platte near the figure 1 west edge in a southeast direction to Kearney and then in a northeast direction to the figure 1 north edge. Just north of the figure 1 north edge the Platte River turns to flow in a southeast and south direction to Ashland and then in an east-northeast direction to join the Missouri River near Plattsmouth (south of Omaha).
  • The Kansas River is the major east-oriented river in eastern Kansas and is formed by the confluence of east-oriented tributary rivers including the east-oriented Kansas drainage routes shown in the figure 1 southwest quadrant. The Kansas River is located near the figure 1 south edge in the southeast quadrant and flows through Junction City and Manhattan before flowing to the figure 1 east edge. East of the figure 1 map area the east-oriented Kansas River and south-southeast oriented Missouri River meet at Kansas City, Missouri and the combined flow continues in an east direction across the state of Missouri as the Missouri River to the south-oriented Mississippi River. The Big Blue River is a major southern Nebraska and eastern Kansas south-southeast oriented tributary to the Kansas River and joins the Kansas River near Manhattan. The Big Blue River originates near Marquette (east of Grand Island, Nebraska) and flows in an east direction to Ulysses, Nebraska. At Ulysses the Big Blue River turns to flow in a south-southeast direction to flow to Seward, Crete, Beatrice, and Wymore, Nebraska and Marysville and Blue Rapids, Kansas before joining the Kansas River near Manhattan. The south-southeast oriented Big Blue River has several long east-oriented Nebraska tributaries. These include east-oriented Lincoln Creek, which is labeled in figure 1 and which joins the Big Blue River near Seward. South of Lincoln Creek is the unlabeled east-oriented West Fork Big Blue River, which flows through McCool Junction and Beaver before joining the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River. South of the West Fork Big Blue River is east and south-southeast oriented Turkey Creek (also unlabeled in figure 1), which joins the Big Blue River near De Witt. The Little Blue River originates west of Hastings, Nebraska and flows generally in a southeast direction south of Hastings to Hebron, Fairbury, and Steele City, Nebraska and then to Hanover and Waterville, Kansas before joining the Big Blue River near Blue Rapids. The Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska extends east from the Little Blue River headwaters area to the Clay Center, Fairfield, and Edgar, Nebraska area.
  • The hundreds of Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays published on this website provide overwhelming evidence for massive south-southeast oriented floods, which flowed across Nebraska and Kansas. Flood waters were probably derived from a rapidly melting North American ice sheet. The Kansas River valley and tributary valleys eroded headward across Kansas to capture the flood flow and to divert the flood waters east. The south-southeast-oriented Big Blue River valley eroded north from the newly eroded Kansas River valley and Big Blue River tributary valleys eroded west and northwest in sequence (from south to north) from the actively eroding Big Blue River valley. Headward erosion of the Platte River valley beheaded all flood flow routes to the what were then the actively eroding east-oriented Big Blue River tributary and headwaters valleys.

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

Figure 2: Platte River-Little Blue 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 Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area in Hall, Hamilton, Adams, and Clay Counties, Nebraska. Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, York. Kearney, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Franklin, Webster, Nuckolls, and Thayer are Nebraska county names and county boundaries area shown. The Platte River flows from the figure 2 west edge along the Buffalo County south edge and then northeast into Hall County and finally along the Hall County-Hamilton County border to the figure 2 north edge. The Big Blue River originates southwest of Marquette in northern Hamilton County and flows in an east-northeast direction across the York County northwest corner before flowing to the figure 1 north edge. Lincoln Creek is the east-oriented Big Blue River tributary originating near the Platte River valley edge and flowing in an east-northeast direction across Hamilton County (north of Aurora) and northern York County. South of Lincoln Creek is Beaver Creek, which is a West Fork Big Blue River tributary and which originates near Doniphan in southeast Hall County and which also flows in an east-northeast direction across Hamilton and York Counties. South of Beaver Creek is the east-oriented West Fork Big Blue River, which has a North Branch in southwest Hamilton County. The West Fork Big Blue River originates in northeast Adams County and flows in a northeast direction to southeast Hamilton County. School Creek is an important northeast-oriented West Fork Big Blue River tributary located in northeast Clay County. The Little Blue River originates in southeast Kearney County and flows across the Franklin County northeast corner and Webster County northwest corner before flowing into southern Adams County and then flowing in an east-southeast direction into southwest Clay County and northeast Nuckolls County. Cottonwood Creek is an important east- and southeast oriented Little Blue River tributary originating in eastern Kearney County, but flowing primarily in western Adams County. Big Sandy Creek is an important Little Blue River tributary located in Clay County and Little Sandy Creek is a Big Sandy Creek tributary. Little Sandy Creek joins Big Sandy Creek in the Nuckolls County northwest corner and Big Sandy Creek joins the Little Blue River east of the figure 2 map area. The Lincoln Creek-Turkey Creek drainage divide area in York, Seward, Fillmore, and Saline Counties; the Little Blue River-Republican River drainage divide area in Nuckolls and Thayer Counties; and the Platte River-Big Blue River drainage divide area essays address nearby drainage divide areas and can be found under Big Blue River on the sidebar category list. These and other previous essays describe evidence for massive southeast and south oriented floods moving across the figure 2 map area prior to headward erosion of any of the present day river and stream valleys. The Little Blue River valley eroded headward into the region first and was followed soon thereafter by Big Sandy Creek valley headward erosion. West Fork Big Blue River headward erosion was next and was followed by Beaver Creek valley and then Lincoln Creek valley headward erosion. Finally headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded all southeast and south oriented flood flow routes to what were then the actively eroding Little Blue River, Big Blue River, and tributary valleys.

Platte River-West Fork Big Blue River drainage divide area

Figure 3: Platte River-West Fork Big Blue River drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the Platte River-West Fork Big Blue River drainage divide area in southeast Hall County and western Hamilton County. Giltner (in Hamilton County) is the unnamed town located along the figure 3 east center edge. Doniphan is the town located in the figure 3 west center area and is located in Hall County. Grand Island is located north of Doniphan and a short distance north of the figure 3 map area. The northeast-oriented Platte River is located in a large northeast-oriented valley in the figure 3 northwest quadrant. The Platte River valley is further described in the Loup River-Platte River drainage divide area between Kearney and Columbus, Nebraska essay (see essays under Platte River or Loup River on sidebar category list). The North Branch West Fork Big Blue River is located in the figure 3 southeast quadrant and is here flowing in a northeast direction. East of the figure 3 map area the West Fork Big Blue River flows in an east and southeast direction to join the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River, which flows to the Kansas River. East-oriented Beaver Creek headwaters are located in the figure 3 northeast quadrant and east of figure 3 Beaver Creek flows in an east and southeast direction to join the West Fork Big Blue River. A southeast and northeast oriented stream near the figure 3 north center edge (just east of the Platte River) is the Lincoln Creek headwaters. North and east of figure 3 Lincoln Creek flows in an east direction to join the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River. Southeast-oriented Flat Creek in the figure 3 southwest quadrant flows to northeast-oriented West Fork Big Blue River located south of the figure 3 map area. Note the absence of any north-oriented Platte River tributaries and how the Big Blue River tributaries originate at the edge of the shallow northeast-oriented Platte River valley. The nature of this Platte River-Big Blue River drainage divide provides strong evidence Platte River valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the east oriented Big Blue River tributary valleys. Also note southeast-oriented headwaters and/or tributaries to all of the figure 3 east and northeast oriented Big Blue River tributaries. These southeast oriented headwaters and/or tributaries provide strong evidence headward erosion of the east and northeast oriented Big Blue River tributary valleys captured southeast-oriented flood flow moving to areas south of the figure 3 map area. Headward erosion of the West Fork Big Blue River valley south of the figure 3 map area would have captured the south oriented flood flow first. Next headward erosion of the North Branch West Fork Big Blue River would have captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and beheaded some flood flow routes the newly eroded West Fork Big Blue River valley. Beaver Creek valley headward erosion then repeated the process and was followed by Lincoln Creek valley (north of the figure 3 map area) headward erosion. Finally Platte River valley headward erosion beheaded all southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Big Blue River tributary valleys.

Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area

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

Figure 4 illustrates the Platte River-Little Blue River drainage divide area south and west of the figure 3 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Hastings, Nebraska is the city located in the figure 4 southeast corner. The northeast oriented Platte River flows along the southeast edge of its large, but shallow northeast-oriented valley in the figure 4 northwest quadrant. Juniata is the smaller town located west of Hastings and south of the feed lot. Kenesaw is the smaller town located west of Juniata and in the figure 4 southwest quadrant and Hansen is the even smaller town located north of Hastings and in the figure 4 northeast quadrant. Southeast-oriented drainage in Highland Township (located north of Hastings) just east of the figure 4 map area turns to flow in a northeast direction and to become the West Fork Big Blue River. Southeast-oriented Flat Creek in the figure 4 northeast quadrant flows to the northeast-oriented West Fork Big Blue River east of the figure 4 map area. Pawnee Creek, which flows in a southeast direction between Juniata and Hastings is a Little Blue River tributary. Southeast-oriented drainage west of Pawnee Creek flows to Thirtytwo Mile Creek, which also is a Little Blue River tributary (figures 6 and 7 below illustrate the Little Blue River south of the figure 4 map area).  Again note how the West Fork Big Blue River and Little Blue River headwaters begin almost on the edge of the shallow northeast-oriented Platte River valley. There are no Platte River tributaries of any consequence from the south in the figure 4 map area. The nature of the Platte River-Big Blue River drainage divide as seen in figure 4 is the same as the drainage divide area seen in figure 3 and provides evidence the large, but shallow northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow, which had been captured by headward erosion of east, northeast, and southeast oriented tributaries to the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River valley, which had eroded north from the east-oriented Kansas River valley.

Platte River-Cottonwood Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 5 illustrates the Platte River-Cottonwood Creek drainage divide area west of the figure 4 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 4. Kenesaw is the town located just north of the figure 4 east center. Heartwell is the smaller town just south of the figure 5 center. The multi-channel northeast-oriented Platte River is located near the southeast margin of its large, but shallow northeast-oriented valley in the figure 5 northwest quadrant. Southeast-oriented drainage east of Kenesaw flows to the West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek, which flows eventually to the Little Blue River. Northeast oriented Cottonwood Creek (just north of Heartwell) turns to flow in a south-southeast direction to the figure 5 south edge (east half) and then to the Little Blue River south of the figure 5 map area (see figure 6 below). North of the northeast oriented Cottonwood Creek segment is what appears to be an area of sand dunes in which northeast-oriented Dry Creek is located. Dry Creek, which parallels the adjacent Platte River, appears to be northeast-oriented Platte River tributary. Note the almost complete absence of relief along the Platte River valley south margin. Dry Creek may represent an abandoned northeast-oriented Platte River channel, which formed at the time headward erosion of the large northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood waters moving to what was then the newly eroded Little Blue River valley. Other than Dry Creek the northeast-oriented Platte River has no tributaries of any significance from the south. If Dry Creek is considered an abandoned Platte River channel then Cottonwood Creek and West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek headwaters originate along the Platte River valley margin, just as in figures 3 and 4. The figure 5 evidence strongly supports the interpretation headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded and captured southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the Little Blue River valley, which is located south of the figure 5 map area (see figure 6 below).

Scott Creek-Little Blue River drainage divide area

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

Figure 6 illustrates the Scott Creek-Little Blue River drainage divide area south and east of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Holstein is the small town located in the figure 6 west center area, Roseland is the town located in the figure 6 center, and Ayr is the small town in the figure 6 southeast quadrant. The Little Blue River flows in a northeast direction across the figure 6 south center edge and then turns to flow in an east direction before turning to flow in a north-northeast direction to Ayr and Ayr Junction, where the Little Blue River turns again to flow in an east direction to the figure 6 east center edge. Cottonwood Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 6 northwest corner to join the Little Blue River near the figure 6 south center edge. Thirtytwo Mile Creek is the southeast, northeast, and south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 6 northeast quadrant (Juniata is north of the figure 6 northeast corner–see figure 4). The West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek flows in a southeast and northeast direction from the figure 6 north center area to join Thirtytwo Mile Creek in the figure 6 northeast quadrant. Scott Creek is the southeast and east-southeast oriented stream north of Roseland in the figure 6 center and joins the Little Blue River near Ayr Junction (north of Ayr). Note how figure 6 Little Blue River, Scott Creek, and West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek tributaries are predominantly southeast oriented. These southeast-oriented tributaries provide evidence the Little Blue River, Scott Creek, and West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek valleys eroded headward across the figure 6 map area to capture southeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the Little Blue River valley would have occurred first. Headward erosion of the Scott Creek valley next beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding south- and southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroding headward from the newly eroded Little Blue River valley. Next headward erosion of the West Branch Thirtytwo Mile Creek valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the newly eroded Scott Creek valley and southeast-oriented tributary valleys eroding headward from the Scott Creek valley. The north-northeast oriented Little Blue River valley segment located in the figure 6 southeast quadrant may have been initiated as a south-oriented flood flow channel, which was beheaded and reversed by Little Blue River valley headward erosion. Also note the short northeast-oriented Cottonwood Creek tributary north and west from Holstein near the figure 6 west edge (north half). Note the southeast-oriented tributaries to that northeast-oriented tributary. The northeast-oriented tributary captured southeast-oriented flood flow west of the Cottonwood Creek valley and may also have been eroded by a reversal of flood flow on a beheaded south-oriented flood flow route.

Big Sandy Creek-Little Blue River drainage divide area

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

Figure 7 illustrates the Big Sandy Creek-Little Blue River drainage divide area east of the figure 6 map area.  The Little Blue River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 7 west edge (south half) to the figure 7 south center edge. Thirtytwo Mile Creek joins the Little Blue River just west of the figure 7 map area. Hastings is the city located in the figure 7 northwest corner. Glenville is the town located near the figure 7 center and Fairfield is the town located in the figure 7 southeast quadrant. Note how west of Glenville figure 7 secondary streams flow generally in a south and south-southeast direction to the southeast-oriented Little Blue River. Northeast of the railroad line extending from Hastings to Glenville and Fairfield is southeast-oriented Big Sandy Creek. East and south of the figure 7 map area Big Sand Sandy Creek flows in a generally southeast direction to eventually join the Little Blue River. The west edge of Clay Center is the town located along the figure 7 east edge (north half) and Little Sandy Creek flows in a meandering, but east-oriented direction just north of Clay Center. Little Sandy Creek is a Big Sandy Creek tributary. The northeast-oriented stream flowing to the figure 7 northeast corner is School Creek, which is a West Fork Big Blue River tributary. The present day figure 7 drainage pattern began to evolve with headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Little Blue River valley to capture south and south-southeast oriented flood flow, which was moving across the entire figure 7 map area. South and south-southeast oriented Little Blue River tributary valleys then began to erode headward from the newly eroded Little Blue River valley. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Big Sandy Creek valley next beheaded south-oriented flood flow to what were then actively eroding south-oriented Little Blue River tributaries in the figure 7 east half. Note how some of these tributaries have southeast-oriented headwaters. The southeast-oriented headwaters valleys were eroded by flood flow moving to the tributary valley heads south of the actively eroding Big Sandy Creek valley head. Headward erosion of the Little Sandy Creek valley was next and finally School Creek valley headward erosion beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Little Sandy Creek valley. Not seen in figure 7, but seen previously, headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded all south- and southeast-oriented flood flow to the figure 7 map area.

School Creek-Little Sandy Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: School Creek-Little Sandy Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 illustrates the School Creek-Little Sandy Creek drainage divide area located east and north of the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Harvard is the town located in the figure 8 northwest corner, Sutton is located in the figure 8 northeast corner, and Clay Center is located in the figure 8 southwest quadrant. Little Sandy Creek follows a meandering but east-oriented route just north of Clay Center and eventually turns to flow in a south direction to the figure 8 south edge (east half). South of figure 8 Little Sandy Creek flows in a south-southeast direction to join southeast oriented Big Sandy Creek. Also in the figure 8 southeast quadrant are southeast and east-southeast oriented Turkey Creek headwaters. East of figure 8 Turkey Creek flows in a northeast, east, and south-southeast oriented direction to join the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River (see figure 2). School Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 8 west center edge and then turns to flow in an east-southeast direction before turning to flow in a northeast direction to Sutton and the figure 8 northeast corner area. Note southeast oriented Little Sandy Creek tributaries and valley segments. Also note southeast oriented Turkey Creek headwaters and southeast and south oriented School Creek tributaries. Figure 8 drainage history is similar to the figure 7 drainage history. South and southeast oriented flood water initially flowed across the entire figure 8 map area. Headward erosion of the Little Sandy Creek and Turkey Creek valleys (probably at about the same time) captured the south and southeast oriented flood flow. Next headward erosion of the School Creek valley beheaded the south and southeast oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Turkey Creek and Little Sandy Creek valleys and to their actively eroding southeast-oriented tributary valleys. North-oriented School Creek tributary valleys were probably eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes. Northeast-oriented School Creek tributary valleys and the northeast-oriented School Creek valley segments were probably eroded headward across yet to be beheaded southeast- and south-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the West Fork Big Blue River valley north of the figure 8 map area beheaded all south- and southeast-oriented flood flow channels to the figure 8 map area (see figure 9 below).

West Fork Big Blue River-School Creek drainage divide area

Figure 9: West Fork Big Blue River-School Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 9 illustrates the West Fork Big Blue River-School Creek drainage divide area north and west of the figure 8 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 8. Hastings is the city located along the figure 9 west edge (south half). Harvard is the town located in the figure 9 east half. The West Fork Big Blue River flows in a northeast direction, with some southeast oriented jogs, from just north of Hastings to the figure 9 northeast corner area. North of the West Fork Big Blue River is the North Branch West Fork Big Blue River, which flows in a southeast, east, and north-northeast direction to the figure 9 north center edge. As previously mentioned east of the figure 9 map area the West Fork Big Blue River eventually flows to the south-southeast oriented Big Blue River. Northeast-oriented School Creek headwaters are located in the figure 9 southeast quadrant. Note southeast-oriented School Creek tributaries in the Harvard area. Also note north-oriented School Creek tributaries. The School Creek valley eroded headward into the figure 9 map area to capture southeast and south oriented flood flow. At that time the West Fork Big Blue River valley, the North Branch West Fork Big Blue River valley, and the Platte River valley (north of figure 9 map area) did not exist. Flood waters were probably flowing to the Big Sandy Creek and/or Little Blue River valleys south of the figure 9 map area. North-oriented School Creek tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes. The West Fork Big Blue River valley then eroded headward across the figure 9 map area. Northeast-oriented valley segments were eroded across southeast-oriented flood flow routes while southeast-oriented valley segments may have been eroded along southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Again north-oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on north ends of beheaded south-oriented flood flow routes. The North Branch West Fork Big Blue River valley eroded headward into the figure 9 map region next. Headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Platte River valley north of the figure 9 map area finally beheaded all south- and southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the figure 9 map area.

Big Sandy Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 10 illustrates the Big Sandy Creek-Buffalo Creek drainage divide area south and east from the figure 7 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 7. Fairfield is the town located northwest from the figure 10 center. Edgar is the town located near the figure 10 southeast corner while Deweese is the smaller near the figure 10 southwest corner. Big Sandy Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 10 northwest corner area to the figure 10 southeast corner area. The Little Blue River is the southeast-oriented stream flowing across the figure 10 southwest corner area. Liberty Creek is the northeast-oriented stream joining the Little Blue River near Deweese. South and west of figure 10 Liberty Creek is a north-oriented stream and is linked by through valleys with southeast-oriented tributaries to east and northeast oriented Elk Creek, which flows to the southeast-oriented Little Blue River. In other words, headward erosion of the Little Blue River valley and the northeast-oriented Liberty Creek valley beheaded south-oriented flood flow, which had been moving to the what was then the newly eroded east and northeast oriented Elk Creek valley. Flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow reversed flow direction to flow north to the newly eroded northeast-oriented Liberty Creek valley. South of Fairfield is south-southeast oriented Buffalo Creek, which represents the major Little Blue River tributary in figure 10. The Buffalo Creek valley eroded headward from the actively eroding Little Blue River valley head, probably along south-southeast oriented flood flow routes. Headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Big Sandy Creek valley then beheaded all south-southeast oriented flood flow to what was then the actively eroding Buffalo Creek valley system. Headward erosion of the School Creek valley north of the figure 10 map area then beheaded all south-southeast oriented flood flow routes into the figure 10 map area, although flood waters probably continued to move in a southeast direction until headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Platte River valley beheaded that southeast-oriented flood flow.

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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