Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area landform origins in Knox, Pierce, and Antelope Counties, Nebraska, USA

· Elkhorn River, NE Missouri River, Nebraska
Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area is located in Knox, Pierce, and Antelope Counties, northeast Nebraska. USA. Bazile Creek flows in a north and north-northwest oriented direction to join a northeast-oriented segment of the southeast-oriented Missouri River. The North Fork Elkhorn River flows south and south-southeast to join the southeast and south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River at Norfolk, Nebraska. Numerous northwest-southeast oriented through valleys cross the present day Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide and also the drainage divides between southwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributaries and provide evidence of immense southeast-oriented floods prior to headward erosion of the Missouri River valley. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the region and flood waters on the north ends of those beheaded flow routes reversed direction to flow north and to erode the present day north-northwest oriented Bazile Creek valley.

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 Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area landform origins in Knox, Pierce, and Antelope 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 immense melt water 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 Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area landform evidence in Knox, Pierce, and Antelope 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.

Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area location map

Figure 1: Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn 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 Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area location map. Iowa is the state located in the figure 1 east half. Nebraska is the state west of Iowa, except along the figure 1 north edge. The state north of Nebraska is South Dakota. The Missouri River is the river which flows from the figure 1 northwest corner to the South Dakota-Nebraska border and then forms the South Dakota-Nebraska border to Sioux City, Iowa. South of Sioux City the Missouri River forms the Nebraska-Iowa border. North of Sioux City the south-oriented Big Sioux River forms the South Dakota-Iowa border. In South Dakota the south-oriented James River flows to the Missouri River at Yankton, South Dakota. In the figure 1 northwest quadrant and northern Nebraska, although near the South Dakota border, is the east and north oriented Niobrara River, which flows to the Missouri River near Niobrara, Nebraska. South of the Niobrara River in northeast Nebraska is the southeast-oriented Elkhorn River, which flows through Atkinson, O’Neill, Neligh, and Norfolk before turning to flow south-southeast to join the Platte River near Elkhorn (which is west of Omaha). The North Fork Elkhorn River is the unlabeled (in figure 1) south-southeast oriented tributary joining the Elkhorn River at Norfolk. On figure 1 the North Fork appears to originate near Wausa, which is located north of Norfolk. Bazile Creek is also unlabeled on figure 1 and is the north-oriented Missouri River tributary flowing through Creighton and Center, before flowing to the Missouri River just east of Niobrara, Nebraska. The Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area is really the Missouri River-Elkhorn River drainage divide area in the region immediately north of Norfolk, Nebraska. Essays found under James River and Big Sioux River on the sidebar category list have established a case for a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet located immediately north of the present day Missouri River valley. Essays under Niobrara River and Elkhorn River on the sidebar category list have also presented evidence that gigantic melt water floods moved south into northern Nebraska prior to headward erosion of the Missouri River valley. Landforms in the Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area are interpreted here in the context of massive southeast-oriented melt water floods that flowed across the present day drainage divide prior to headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Missouri River valley. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode present day north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys, such as the Bazile Creek valley.

Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn 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 Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area. The Missouri River flows from the figure 2 northwest quadrant to the figure 2 east center edge. Nebraska is located south of the Missouri River and South Dakota is located north of the Missouri River. Knox, Cedar, Dixon, Dakota, Antelope, Pierce, Wayne, and Thurston are Nebraska county names and county boundaries are shown. Bon Homme, Yankton, Clay, and Union are South Dakota county names. Red shaded areas are Indian Reservation lands. The Yankton Indian Reservation is located in the figure 2 northwest corner. The Santee Indian Reservation is located in Knox County, Nebraska and the Winnebago and Omaha Indian Reservations are located in the figure 2 southeast corner. Norfolk, Nebraska is located just south of the figure 2 south edge (near the Pierce-Wayne County boundary). The North Fork Elkhorn River flows generally south from Wausa in the Knox County southeast corner to Pierce in Pierce County and then to the figure 2 south edge. Major tributaries illustrated and discussed below include Dry Creek and the West Branch North Fork Elkhorn River. Bazile Creek originates in northeast Antelope County and flows north-northwest into Knox County and the Santee Indian Reservation and joins a northeast-oriented Missouri River segment near the west edge of the Santee Indian Reservation. Note the north-oriented Niobrara River segment just west of where north-oriented Bazile Creek enters the Missouri River. While the Niobrara River upstream from that north-oriented valley segment is southeast oriented, Verdigre Creek, a major north-oriented Niobrara River is located on the same alignment as that north-oriented Niobrara River segment and probably has a history similar to the history of Bazile Creek (see Niobrara River-Elkhorn River drainage divide area essay). Major Bazile Creek tributaries of interest are southwest oriented Lost Creek, northwest and southwest oriented Howe Creek, and southwest and west oriented Little Bazile Creek. Note these streams flow to the north and north-northwest oriented Bazile Creek as barbed tributaries. Bazile Creek is interpreted to have originated as a south-southeast oriented flood flow route to what was then the actively eroding Elkhorn River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley beheaded the south-southeast oriented flood flow and flood waters on the north end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to create the present day Bazile Creek drainage basin and the Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide. The northeast-oriented Missouri River valley segment is probably also related to a reversal of south-oriented melt water flood flow.

Missouri River-Howe Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 3 illustrates the Missouri River-Howe Creek drainage divide area in the Santee Indian Reservation. The Missouri River flows northeast in the figure 3 northwest quadrant and then is east-oriented along the figure 3 north edge. The Missouri River valley along the north edge is flooded by Lewis and Clark Lake, which is a reservoir impounded behind Gavins Point Dam. Bazile Creek is the north-northwest oriented stream in the figure 3 southwest quadrant flowing to join the Missouri River as a barbed tributary near Maidens Leap located in the figure 3 west center area. Lost Creek is the southwest-oriented Missouri River tributary joining the northeast-oriented Missouri River as a barbed tributary just northeast of where north-northwest oriented Bazile Creek joins the Missouri River as a barbed tributary. The Lost Creek valley orientation probably originated as a southwest-oriented flood flow channel eroding headward to capture southeast oriented flood flow and diverted  the captured flood waters to what was then a south-southeast oriented Bazile Creek valley. Note northwest-oriented Lost Creek tributaries from the southeast. Those northwest-oriented tributary valleys were probably eroded by reversals of flood flow on the northwest ends of beheaded southeast oriented flood flow channels. Howe Creek is the major southwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary located in the figure 3 south center area. The Howe Creek valley alignment also probably originated as a southwest-oriented flood flow channel that eroded headward from what was then a south-southeast oriented Bazile Creek valley. The Howe Creek valley eroded headward prior to headward erosion of the Lost Creek valley and headward erosion of the southwest-oriented Howe Creek valley first captured the south-southeast oriented flood flow routes and then those flood flow routes were beheaded by headward erosion of the Lost Creek valley. Note how the Howe Creek valley has southeast and northwest oriented tributaries. The southeast-oriented tributary valleys were eroded headward by southeast-oriented flood flow into the wall of what was then the newly eroded Howe Creek valley, while the northwest-oriented tributary valleys were eroded by reversals of flood flow on the northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes. Note the area near the Howe Creek-Missouri River drainage divide where north-oriented Cooks Creek has eroded a deep north-oriented valley into the Missouri River valley south wall. Figure 4 below provides a more detailed map of that Cooks Creek-Howe Creek drainage divide area.

Detailed map of Cooks Creek-Howe Creek drainage divide area

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

Figure 4 illustrates in more detail the Cooks Creek-Howe Creek drainage divide area seen in figure 3. The flooded Missouri River valley can just barely be seen along the east half of the figure 4 north edge. Devils Nest Creek is the north, northwest, and north oriented Missouri River located in the figure 4 northeast corner. The south-southwest oriented stream at Lindy (located near the figure 4 south center edge) is Howe Creek. Cooks Creek is the north-oriented Missouri River tributary flowing in a deep valley north of Tewsville. Hoboe Creek is a southeast-oriented Howe Creek tributary. Note how Howe Creek has northwest oriented headwaters, which flow along a northwest oriented escarpment crest and also has other southeast-oriented tributaries. Also, note the southwest-oriented stream in the figure 4 west center area. That stream is Lost Creek and Lost Creek has several northwest oriented tributaries observable in figure 4. A close look at figure 4 reveals southeast-oriented Howe Creek tributaries are linked by shallow through valleys across the present day drainage divide to the northwest-oriented Lost Creek tributaries. Another through valley of note is the north-south through valley north of Tewsville linking the north-oriented Cooks Creek valley with the south-southwest oriented Howe Creek valley. Figure 4 stream valley orientations originated during the immense southeast-oriented melt water flood that flowed across the region just prior to headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley (located just north of the figure 4 map area). Headward erosion of the south-southwest oriented Howe Creek valley occurred first and captured southeast-oriented flood flow moving in multiple channels, such as might be expected in a large-scale southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Flood waters on the northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow to erode the northwest-oriented valleys. At the same time southeast-oriented flood flow eroded southeast-oriented valleys into the newly eroded Howe Creek valley wall. Next headward erosion of the Lost Creek valley beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Howe Creek valley. Finally the much deeper Missouri River valley eroded headward into the region and beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes. Flood waters on the northwest and north ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode northwest- and north-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys such as the north-oriented Devils Nest Creek and Cooks Creek valleys.

Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area near Plainview

Figure 5: Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area near Plainview. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 5 illustrates the Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area near Plainview, Nebraska and is located south and slightly east of the figure 3 map area (and there is no overlap with figure 3). Bazile Creek flows east, north-northwest, east, and north in the figure 5 west center and northwest quadrant areas and has a northwest-oriented tributary in the region northwest of Plainview. Bazile Creek as seen in figure 3 flows to the Missouri River. Southeast-oriented Dry Creek originates a short distance northwest of Plainview and flows in a southeast direction to join the southeast-oriented Dry Creek (southeast of Plainview). A Dry Creek tributary originates southwest of Plainview and flows in a southeast direction to the figure 5 south center edge area and then turns to flow northeast before joining southeast-oriented Dry Creek and flowing to the figure 5 southeast corner area. From the figure 5 map area Dry Creek flows to join the North Fork Elkhorn River. Note how southeast-oriented Dry Creek and the northwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary are linked by a northwest-southeast oriented through valley (shown in more detail in figure 6 below). That through valley provides evidence that water once flowed in a southeast direction from the present day Bazile Creek drainage basin into the present day North Fork Elkhorn River valley. A close look at figure 5 reveals other northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the north-oriented Bazile Creek drainage basin with the south-oriented Elkhorn River drainage basin. In the figure 5 southwest quadrant southeast-oriented Dry Creek tributary headwaters are linked by a through valley with headwaters of a northwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary. The south-southeast-oriented West Branch North Fork Elkhorn River can be seen flowing across the figure 5 northeast corner area. Further south in the figure 5 east center area is southeast-oriented Breslau Creek, which flows to the south-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River. Note how Breslau Creek headwaters are linked by northwest-southeast oriented through valleys with the north-oriented Bazile Creek drainage basin. These multiple northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes across the figure 5 map area. Southeast-oriented flood flow across the region was beheaded by headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Missouri River valley and the reversal of flood waters on the north and northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes created the present day north-oriented Bazile Creek drainage basin and the Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide.

Detailed map of Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 6 provides a detailed topographic map of the Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide area northwest of Plainview and seen in less detail in figure 5 above. North-northwest oriented headwaters of the northwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary described in figure 5 can be seen along the figure 6 west center and northwest corner edge area. Dry Creek flows in a northeast direction to the figure 6 center area and then turns to flow in a southeast direction to the figure 6 southeast quadrant. Note how a broad and shallow through valley links the northwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary valley with the southeast oriented Dry Creek valley. While certainly not a spectacular landscape feature the through valley does exist and it needs to be explained. The through valley is a water eroded landscape feature and was eroded by immense volumes of southeast-oriented flood waters moving across the figure 6 map area. As seen in figure 5 above this through valley was just one of several such northwest-southeast oriented through valleys in the region. The multiple through valleys suggests flood waters were flowing in what was probably a large-scale southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Evidence illustrated in this essay provides no information about the flood water source, although evidence in other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays published on this website has built a strong case for gigantic melt water floods from a rapidly melting thick ice sheet located in South and North Dakota regions north and east of the present day Missouri River. These southeast and south oriented melt water floods existed prior to headward erosion of the deep southeast-oriented Missouri River valley and were captured by the Missouri River valley when it eroded headward into the region. As already described headward erosion of the Missouri River valley beheaded the south and southeast oriented flood flow routes and flood waters on the north and northwest ends of those beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow north and northwest to the newly eroded and much deeper Missouri River valley. That reversal of flood flow was responsible for creating the north-oriented Bazile Creek drainage basin and the Bazile Creek-Dry Creek drainage divide.

Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Midland

Figure 7: Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Midland. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 7 illustrates the Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Midland and is located northeast of the figure 5 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 5. Midland is located near the figure 7 center. Wausa is the town located in the figure 7 east center area. Little Bazile Creek flows southwest from the figure 7 north center edge and then turns to flow west and northwest to the figure 7 northwest corner. Little Bazile Creek joins north-northwest oriented Bazile Creek northwest of figure 7. The North Fork Elkhorn River flows south from the figure 7 northeast corner and near Wausa turns to flow in a south-southwest direction to the figure 7 south edge. The west and southwest oriented East Branch North Fork Elkhorn River is located in the figure 7 southeast corner area and the southeast-oriented headwaters of the West Branch North Fork Elkhorn River are located in the figure 7 south center area. Note the multiple northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing the drainage between the North Fork Elkhorn River and the East Branch North Fork Elkhorn River and also linking northwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek tributary valleys with southeast-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River tributary valleys. One such northwest-southeast oriented through valley passes through the Midland region and is seen in more detail in figure 8 below. Note further how most Little Bazile Creek tributaries from the south are northwest-oriented or have significant northwest-oriented segments. The orientation of tributaries to the major present trunk stream valleys and the northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing the present day drainage divides are again evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes crossing the figure 7 map area. The presence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes suggests flood waters were moving in an immense southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Headward erosion of the East Branch North Fork Elkhorn River valley occurred first in the figure 7 map area. Headward erosion of the North Fork Elkhon River valley occurred next. Headward erosion of the southwest-and west-oriented Little Bazile Creek valley followed, although when originally eroded the valley was probably south-oriented. The northwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek valley segment originated as a southeast-oriented flood flow channel, with flow reversing direction in that channel when headward erosion of the deep Missouri River beheaded and reversed flood flow in the Bazile Creek valley.

Detailed map of Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Midland

Figure 8: Detailed map of Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Midland. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 provides a detailed topographic map of the northwest-southeast oriented through valley in the Midland area (seen in less detail in figure 7 above). Midland is located just south of the figure 8 center area. Note the broad northwest-southeast oriented valley extending from the figure 8 northwest quadrant to the figure 8 southeast quadrant. The through valley northwest end is drained by northwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek tributaries, with water flowing to north-northwest oriented Brazile and the Missouri River. The through valley southeast end is drained by southeast-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River tributaries, with water flowing to the south-southwest and southeast-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River and eventually to the southeast and south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River. The through valley like through valleys seen in previous figures was eroded by large southeast-oriented floods that significantly scoured and altered the northeast Nebraska landscape. Probably landscape features seen in figure 8 were eroded shortly after headward erosion of what was then a deep North Fork Elkhorn River valley into the region. Headward erosion of what was then a south-oriented Little Bazile Creek valley (capturing flood flow routes and diverting the flood waters to what was then an initial south-oriented Bazile Creek valley) next beheaded the flood flow routes across the figure 8 map area. Once flood waters ceased to flow across the figure 8 map area the present day drainage divide had been created and the figure 8 landscape ceased to change. In other words, the figure 8 Bazile Creek-Elkhorn River drainage divide we see today was created when headward erosion of the south-oriented Little Bazile Creek valley beheaded flood routes across the figure 8 map area. However, further to the north headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes feeding what was then the south-oriented Bazile Creek flood flow channel. Flood waters on the north end of that beheaded Bazile Creek flood flow channel then reversed flow direction to create the north-oriented Bazile Creek drainage divide.

Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Bloomfield

Figure 9: Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Bloomfield. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 illustrates the Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River drainage divide area near Bloomfield, Nebraska and is located north and east of the figure 7 map area (and includes overlap areas with figure 7). Bloomfield is the town located in the figure 9 northwest quadrant. Wausa is the town located in the figure 9 south center edge area. Little Bazile Creek flows south-southwest through Bloomfield in the figure 9 northwest quadrant to the figure 9 west center edge. The south- and southwest-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River is located just east of Wausa. Northeast-oriented drainage in Cedar County (located in the eastern fourth of figure 9) flows to east, northeast, and north-northwest Bow Creek, which flows to the Missouri River further to the east. The northwest and north oriented stream in the figure 9 north center edge area is the headwaters of West Bow Creek, which turns to flow east to join Bow Creek and the southeast oriented Missouri River. Note the abandoned railroad line that runs from the West Bow Creek headwaters in a south-southeast direction into the North Fork Elkhorn River headwaters valley. That railroad was located in a northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the two present day separate drainage basins. Note also the abandoned railroad line between Bloomfield and Wausa. The railroad follows the valley of a northwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek tributary and the valley of a south-southeast oriented North Fork Elkhorn River tributary. A northwest-southeast oriented through valley links those two valleys. A close look at northeast-oriented Bow Creek headwaters reveals multiple southeast and northwest oriented tributaries. Further, a close look at the Little Bazile Creek-North Fork Elkhorn River reveals additional northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing the drainage divide and linking headwaters of southeast-oriented North Fork Elkhorn River tributaries with headwaters of northwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek tributaries. Orientations of these northwest- and southeast-oriented tributaries and the presence of the multiple northwest-southeast-oriented through valleys provides further evidence of the multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes that crossed the figure 9 map area prior to headward erosion of the present day Bow Creek, West Bow Creek, North Fork Elkhorn River, and Little Bazile Creek valleys. The North Fork Elkhorn River valley eroded headward into the region first, although it reached the figure 9 map area at about the same time headward erosion of the east-oriented Bow Creek headwaters valleys reached the figure 9 map area. The West Bow Creek valley eroded headward into the next, although the Little Bazile Creek valley reached the figure 9 region at about the same. Remember the Little Bazile Creek valley originally was a south-oriented valley and was captured by north-oriented Bazile Creek only after Missouri River valley headward erosion beheaded and reversed Bazile Creek flow.

Howe Creek-Little Bazile Creek drainage divide area northwest of Bloomfield

Figure 10: Howe Creek-Little Bazile Creek drainage divide area northwest of Bloomfield. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates the Howe Creek-Little Bazile Creek drainage divide area northwest of Bloomfield and is located northwest of the figure 9 map area and includes overlap areas with figure 9. Bazile Creek is the north-oriented stream near the figure 10 west edge. Howe Creek is the southwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary located in the figure 10 northwest quadrant. Little Bazile Creek is the southwest-oriented stream flowing from Bloomfield (in the figure 10 southeast quadrant) to the figure 10 south edge area and then flowing west and northwest to join north-oriented Bazile Creek in the figure 10 southwest corner area. Note how the unnamed southwest-oriented tributary joining north-oriented Bazile Creek at Center, Nebraska and the southwest-oriented Little Bazile Creek tributary in the figure 10 south center area have northwest and southeast oriented tributaries just as the larger Howe Creek and Little Bazile Creek valleys have northwest and southeast oriented tributaries. Figure 10 landscapes and drainage patterns can be explained in the context of an immense southeast-oriented flood moving across the entire figure 10 map area on a topographic surface at as high as the highest figure 10 elevations today. Headward of erosion of south and southwest oriented valleys then began to capture the southeast-oriented flood flow and divert the water to what was then probably the deep southeast and south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River valley south of the figure 10 map area. The initial Bazile Creek valley probably eroded headward from the newly eroded Elkhorn River valley and the initial southwest oriented Little Bazile Creek, Howe Creek, and other figure 10 southwest-oriented valleys probably eroded headward from that initial south-oriented Bazile Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Missouri River valley then beheaded south-oriented flood flow across the figure 10 map region, including in the south-oriented initial Bazile Creek valley. Flood waters at the north end of that initial Bazile Creek valley reversed flow direction and began to erode the present day (and deeper) Bazile Creek valley headward from the much deeper and newly eroded Missouri River valley. The deeper north-oriented Bazile Creek valley captured the present day southwest-oriented Bazile Creek tributary valleys, resulting in the barbed tributaries seen today. Those southwest-oriented tributary valleys were also eroded deeper as flood waters drained from the region.

Additional information and sources of maps studied

This essay has provided only a sample of the detailed topographic map evidence supporting the flood erosion interpretation. Many additional illustrations could be provided. Readers are encouraged to look at mosaics of detailed topographic maps to see the abundance of available data. Maps used in this study were created and published by the United States Geologic Survey and can be obtained directly from the United States Geological Survey and/or from dealers offering United States Geological Survey maps. Hard copy maps can also be observed at United States Geological Survey map depositories which are located throughout the United States and elsewhere. Illustrations used here were created using National Geographic Society TOPO software and digital map data. TOPO software and map data can be obtained from the National Geographic Society and/or dealers offering National Geographic Society digital map data.

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