Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming Counties, Nebraska, USA

· Elkhorn River, Nebraska
Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming Counties is located in northeast Nebraska, USA. The Elkhorn River generally flows in a southeast and south direction to join the Platte River slightly west of Omaha and the Platte River then flows south and east to join the south-southeast oriented Missouri River. Logan Creek is a south-southeast and south-oriented Elkhorn River tributary located between the Elkhorn River and the Missouri River. The Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area is mostly located in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming Counties and is interpreted to have been eroded by an immense southeast-oriented flood. Flood waters came from north and northwest of the Elkhorn River and Logan Creek drainage divide area. The Elkhorn River, Logan Creek, and their tributary valleys eroded headward into the Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming County area in sequence to capture southeast-oriented flood flow and to divert the captured flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Platte River 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 Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area landform origins in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming 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 Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area landform origins evidence in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming 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.

Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area location map

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

Figure 1 provides a location map for the Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming Counties, Nebraska. Nebraska is the state located in the southern two-thirds of the figure 1 west half. South Dakota is the state north of Nebraska. Iowa is the state located in the figure 1 east half. The Missouri River flows in a southeast direction from the figure 1 northwest corner to the South Dakota-Nebraska boundary and then is the South Dakota-Nebraska border eastward to Sioux City, Iowa. At Sioux City the Missouri River turns to flow in a south-southeast direction and defines the Nebraska-Iowa border. The Elkhorn River flows in a southeast direction from Stuart, Nebraska to Norfolk (located in the figure 1 center) and eventually turns to flow in a south-southeast direction to join a south-oriented Platte River segment at Elkhorn, Nebraska (located just west of Omaha). The Platte River then continues south for a short distance and turns to flow in an east direction to join the Missouri River. Logan Creek is the unlabeled stream (in figure 1) originating northeast of Norfolk, Nebraska and flowing through Laurel, Wakefield, Pender, Bancroft, Lyons, and Oakland and joining the Elkhorn River near Hooper. The Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming County area illustrated and discussed in this essay includes the towns of Winside, Wayne, Wakefield, Pilger, Wisner, Bancroft, and West Point. Note the south-oriented James River, which joins the Missouri River at Yankton, South Dakota. Essays found under James River on the sidebar category list have built a case for massive south-oriented floods along the James River lowland, which is interpreted to have been the south end of an immense south-oriented ice-walled and bedrock-floored valley sliced into the surface of a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet. Prior to headward erosion of the Missouri River valley the south-oriented flood waters would have flowed south and south-southeast across northeast Nebraska, including across the present day Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming County. The Missouri River valley is interpreted to have eroded headward along what was then the ice sheet’s southwest margin to capture gigantic ice marginal floods, which prior to Missouri River valley headward erosion would also have flowed across northeast Nebraska. Headward erosion of the Missouri River valley captured the southeast and south oriented flood flow and flood erosion of northeast Nebraska landforms ended.

Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area detailed location map. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 2 provides a slightly more detailed location map for the Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area in Wayne, Stanton, and Cuming Counties, Nebraska. The Missouri River flows in a south-southeast direction from near Sioux City in the figure 2 north center edge area to the figure 2 south edge. East of the Missouri River is the state of Iowa. West of the Missouri River is Nebraska. Dixon, Dakota, Wayne, Thurston, Stanton, Cuming, and Burt are Nebraska county names and the county boundaries are shown. Woodbury, Monona, and Harrison are Iowa county names. The Elkhorn River flows southeast from Norfolk, Nebraska (in the figure 2 west center edge area) to Stanton and then northeast to Pilger in northeast Stanton County. From Pilger the Elkhorn River flows southeast and south across Cuming County and then southeast to Hooper, located along the figure 2 south center edge. Logan Creek flows southeast through Laurel in the figure 2 northwest quadrant into southwest Dixon County to Wakefield (just north of the Wayne County northeast corner) and then southeast across southwest Thurston County and south in western Burt County to join the Elkhorn River near Hopper along the figure 2 south center edge. Maps illustrate and describe Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide evidence in the South Logan Creek-Humbug Creek (an Elkhorn River tributary) and South Logan Creek-Plum Creek (another Elkhorn River tributary) drainage divide area near Winside in southern Wayne County, the South Logan Creek-Coon Creek (a Logan Creek tributary) drainage divide area south of Wayne in the Wayne County northeast corner area, the Humbug Creek drainage basin north of Pilger in northeast Stanton County, and the Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area east of West Point in southeast Cuming County. Evidence shown illustrates numerous through valleys crossing present day drainage divides. These through valleys are interpreted to have been eroded by a large-scale and ever-changing southeast or south-southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex, which was systematically dismembered by headward erosion of the present day Elkhorn River, Logan Creek, and tributary valley network. Southeast or south-southeast oriented flood flow across the figure 2 map area ended when Missouri River valley headward erosion beheaded and captured all of the southeast and/or south-southeast oriented flood flow.

South Logan Creek-Elkhorn River drainage divide area south of Winside

Figure 3: South Logan Creek-Elkhorn River drainage divide area south of Winside. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 3 illustrates the South Logan Creek-Humbug Creek drainage divide and the South Logan Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide area south of Winside in southern Wayne County. Winside is the town located in the figure 3 northwest quadrant. South Logan Creek flows in a southeast direction to the figure 3 northwest corner area and then flows east and northeast to the figure 3 north center edge. Coon Creek is the east-oriented stream along the figure 3 north edge (east half) and Coon Creek like South Logan Creek is a Logan Creek tributary. Humbug Creek is the southeast-oriented stream originating south of Winside and flowing to the figure 3 south center edge. South of the figure 3 map area Humbug Creek flows to the Elkhorn River (see figure 7 below). Plum Creek originates in the figure 3 center area and flows southeast and east-northeast before turning to flow southeast and south-southeast near the figure 3 east center area. Plum Creek is an Elkhorn River tributary and joins the Elkhorn River near the figure 9 west edge. Sand Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream along the Stanton County-Cuming County boundary in the figure 3 south half and flows to the Elkhorn River.  A close look at figure 3 reveals through valleys crossing the South Logan Creek-Humbug Creek, South Logan Creek-Plum Creek, Coon Creek-Plum Creek, and Plum Creek-Sand Creek drainage divides. Figure 4 below provides a more detailed map of the South Logan Creek-Humbug Creek and South Logan Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide areas. The multiple through valleys provide evidence that prior to headward erosion of the east-oriented Coon Creek valley multiple south-southeast oriented channels, such as might be found in a large-scale anastomosing channel complex, eroded into an erosion surface at least as high as the highest figure 3 elevations today and moved water from north of the figure 3 map area to what was then probably an actively eroding Plum Creek valley, which had eroded headward from a newly eroded Elkhorn River valley. The through valleys also provide evidence that as the Elkhorn River valley eroded westward the Sand Creek valley eroded north and then the Humbug Creek valley eroded north to capture the south-southeast oriented flood flow and divert flood waters into the newly eroded Elkhorn River valley. Headward erosion of the Plum Creek valley next beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Sand Creek valley and headward erosion of the South Logan Creek valley beheaded flood flow to the newly eroded Plum Creek and Humbug Creek valleys and diverted flood flow to what was then the actively eroding Logan Creek valley.

Detailed map of South Logan Creek-Elkhorn River drainage divide area

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

Figure 4 provides a more detailed map of the South Logan Creek-Humbug Creek and South Logan Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide areas south of Winside, Nebraska. South Logan Creek flows generally in an east direction across the figure 4 north edge area. Plum Creek flows in a southeast direction to the figure 4 southeast corner. Humbug Creek flows in a southeast direction across the figure 4 southwest corner. Note the north-oriented South Logan Creek tributary valley near the figure 4 west edge in the figure 4 northwest quadrant and how that valley is linked by two through valleys with a south-southwest oriented Humbug Creek tributary valley. The through valley floors are 50-60 feet lower than the hill elevations on either side, although the valley floors stand almost 100 feet higher than the adjacent South Logan Creek and Humbug Creek valley floors. The through valleys were eroded by south-oriented flood water prior to headward erosion of the South Logan Creek valley. The flood water was moving to what was then the newly eroded Humbug Creek valley (and Elkhorn River valley south of the figure 4 map area). In other words, at the time the through valleys were eroded the South Logan Creek valley did not exist. Further east note two through valleys linking the Plum Creek headwaters with northwest and north oriented South Logan Creek tributaries. One of the through valleys is in the west center of section 12 and the other is located along the border between section 12 and section 13. Again the through valley floors are 50-60 feet lower than the surrounding hills and approximately 100 feet higher than the South Logan Creek valley floor to the north. These through valleys also provide evidence of south- and southeast-oriented flood flow into the Plum Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the South Logan Creek valley. Headward erosion of the South Logan Creek valley beheaded flood flow through valleys. Flood waters on the north valley ends reversed flow direction to flow northwest to the newly eroded and much deeper South Logan Creek valley and eroded the present day north-oriented South Logan Creek tributary valleys and created the South Logan Creek-Plum Creek drainage divide. A close look at figure 4 reveals numerous such through valleys crossing the present day South Logan Creek-Elkhorn River drainage divide. These multiple through valleys provide some minimal evidence of the quantities of southeast-oriented flood water that moved across the figure 4 map area and the figure 4 hilltop elevations and the through valley floor elevations provide evidence as to the amount and depth of flood erosion that occurred.

South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area south of Wayne

Figure 5: South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area south of Wayne. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 5 illustrates the South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area south of Wayne, Nebraska and includes overlap areas with figure 3. Logan Creek flows in a southeast direction across the figure 5 northeast corner. South Logan Creek flows in a northeast direction from the figure 5 west edge (south half) to Wayne and then to the figure 5 northeast quadrant, where it joins Logan Creek near Wakefield. Deer Creek is the southeast-oriented South Logan Creek tributary west of Wayne and Dog Creek is the southeast-oriented South Logan Creek tributary north of Wayne. Coon Creek is located south of South Logan Creek and flows in an east-northeast and northeast direction to join southeast-oriented Logan Creek near the figure 5 east edge. Note the long southeast-oriented Coon Creek tributary located southwest of Wakefield and how that tributary is linked by a through valley with a north-oriented South Logan Creek tributary. Also note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking the South Logan Creek valley with the Coon Creek valley. A close look at figure 5 reveals many other similar, but somewhat less obvious through valleys. The through valleys again provide evidence of multiple southeast-oriented flood flow channels across the figure 5 map area prior to headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Logan Creek valley and its figure 5 tributary valleys. The unnamed northeast-oriented Logan Creek tributary in the figure 5 southeast quadrant eroded headward first to capture southeast-oriented flood flow and to divert the captured flood waters to what was then the newly eroded Logan Creek valley. Next the Coon Creek valley eroded headward to capture the flood waters and in doing so beheaded and reversed flood flow routes to the newly eroded unnamed tributary valley. Finally the South Logan Creek valley eroded headward to capture the southeast-oriented flood flow and in doing so beheaded and reversed the flood flow routes to the newly eroded Coon Creek valley. Figure 6 below provides a detailed map of the South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area southeast of Wayne, Nebraska.

Detailed map of South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area

Figure 6: Detailed map of South Logan Creek-Coon 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 South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide area southeast of Wayne. Wayne is located in the figure 6 northwest corner and South Logan Creek is the northeast-oriented stream flowing across the figure 6 northwest quadrant. Coon Creek is the east-northeast oriented stream near the figure 6 south edge. Note how Coon Creek has southeast-oriented tributaries and how South Logan Creek has northwest-oriented tributaries. Also note how hills along the South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide have been streamlined in a northwest-southeast direction. Further note the large number of shallow through valleys notched into the present day drainage divide, which link northwest-oriented South Logan Creek tributaries with southeast-oriented Coon Creek tributaries. For example, near the corner of sections 20,21, 28, and 28 two northwest-southeast oriented through valleys link two separate northwest-oriented South Logan Creek tributary valleys with a single southeast-oriented Coon Creek valley. Proceeding in either direction from that section corner along the drainage divide reveals additional northwest-southeast oriented through valleys. The through valleys are evidence of a southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex that existed prior to headward erosion of the Coon Creek and South Logan Creek valleys. The southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex was eroded by a massive southeast-oriented flood that probably initially moved across the figure 6 map region on a topographic surface at least as high, if not higher, than the highest figure 6 elevations today. Flood waters that eroded the anastomosing channel complex were probably moving to what was then the actively eroding deep Logan Creek valley head, which at that time was probably located southeast of the figure 6 map area. Headward erosion of the deep Logan Creek valley enabled the deep Coon Creek valley to erode west into the figure 6 map area to capture the southeast oriented flood flow and to divert the flood waters east and northeast to the newly eroded Logan Creek valley. Next, as the Logan Creek valley eroded still further to the northwest, the deep South Logan Creek valley eroded into the figure 6 map area to capture the southeast-oriented flood flow and in the process beheaded the flood flow channels to the newly eroded Coon Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed flow direction to flow northwest into the newly eroded South Logan Creek valley. These reversals of what had been southeast-oriented flood flow eroded the northwest-oriented South Logan Creek tributary valleys and created the South Logan Creek-Coon Creek drainage divide.

Humbug Creek drainage divides

Figure 7: Humbug Creek drainage divides. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 7 illustrates the Humbug Creek drainage basin northwest of Pilger, Nebraska. The east-northeast and east-oriented Elkhorn River is located in the figure 7 southeast quadrant. Plum Creek is the east-oriented stream near the figure 7 north edge (east half). Sand Creek is the south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River tributary in the figure 7 east half. Humbug Creek flows in a southeast direction from the figure 7 north edge to join the Elkhorn River near Pilger. The South Branch Humbug Creek is the east- and southeast-oriented Humbug Creek tributary in the figure 7 west center area. South of the South Branch Humbug Creek is southeast and south-southeast oriented Payne Creek. Maskenthine Creek is the south-southeast-oriented Elkhorn River tributary located near the figure 7 west edge (south half) and south-oriented Indian Creek  is located south of Spurville. Note how Elkhorn River tributaries are south- or southeast-oriented. A close look at figure 7 reveals northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking drainage basins of the various Humbug Creek tributaries as well as other figure 7 drainage basins. These through valleys may be difficult to see in figure 7. For that reason figure 7a below provides a more detailed map of the figure 7 northwest quadrant area and figure 8 below provides a more detailed map of the South Branch Humbug Creek-Payne Creek drainage divide. Figure 7a is discussed here and figure 8 is discussed below. In figure 7a Humbug Creek flows from the figure 7a northwest corner to the figure 7a southeast corner. South of Humbug Creek is a parallel Humbug Creek tributary, which also flows from the figure 7a northwest corner area to join Humbug Creek in the figure 7a southeast corner. Note how that parallel Humbug Creek tributary is linked in section 20 (in the figure 7a northwest corner) with the Humbug Creek valley. Also note another parallel through valley in sections 27 and 26 (figure 7a center area), which is drained to the northwest by a barbed northwest-oriented Humbug Creek tributary and to the southeast by a southeast-oriented Humbug Creek tributary. Then follow drainage divides between these parallel valleys and other figure 7a drainage divides to note the large number of other through valleys present. The parallel valleys and the other figure 7a through valleys are evidence of anastomosing channels that existed prior to development of the present day drainage system. The anastomosing channel complex originally developed on a topographic surface at as high as the highest figure 7 elevations today.

Figure 7a Detailed map of the figure 7 northwest quadrant area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

South Branch Humbug Creek-Payne Creek drainage divide area

Figure 8: South Branch Humbug Creek-Payne Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 8 provides a detailed map of an area shown in less detail in figure 7 above. The South Branch Humbug Creek flows east and southeast across the figure 8 north half. Payne Creek originates in section 20 (in the figure 8 west center area) and flows east-southeast and south-southeast into the figure 8 southeast quadrant and then to the figure 8 south edge. Note the Payne Creek tributary originating in the northeast of section 21 and flowing into section 22 where it flows northeast before turning to flow in a southeast direction to join Payne Creek in section 26. Note the north-south oriented through valley linking this tributary with a north-oriented Humbug Creek tributary valley in section 15. Also, note the west-east oriented through valley linking headwaters of an east- and southeast-oriented Payne Creek tributary in section 21 with this northeast and southeast oriented Payne Creek tributary. This through valley provides evidence water once flowed south across the present day drainage divide prior to headward erosion of the Humbug Creek valley. The south-oriented water was moving to what was then the newly eroded Payne Creek valley. Continue west to section 21 where the Payne Creek headwaters are located. Note the multiple north-northwest-south-southeast oriented through valleys linking a north-oriented Humbug Creek tributary valley with the southeast-oriented Payne Creek headwaters valley. These through valleys provide evidence that multiple channels carried water south into what was then the newly eroded Payne Creek valley prior to headward erosion of the Humbug Creek valley. The north-oriented Humbug Creek tributary valley was eroded by a reversal of flood flow on the north ends of beheaded flood flow channels when headward erosion of the Humbug Creek beheaded the south-oriented flood flow channels. Further study of the figure 8 map area reveals many other similar through valleys, some at significantly different elevations. The through valley are evidence of an ever-changing southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex that was eroding into a topographic surface at least as high, if not higher, than the highest figure 8 elevations today. Headward erosion of the Payne Creek valley occurred first and captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and diverted the captured flood water to the newly eroded Elkhorn River valley. Headward erosion of the Humbug Creek valley followed soon after and beheaded the southeast-oriented flood flow routes to the newly eroded Payne Creek valley.

Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point, Nebraska

Figure 9: Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point, Nebraska. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 9 illustrates the Elkhorn River-Logan Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point, Nebraska and southeast of the figure 7 map area. West Point is the town located in the figure 9 southwest corner and the Elkhorn River flows in south-southeast direction across the figure 9 southwest corner. The south-southeast oriented tributary joining the Elkhorn River just north of West Point is Plum Creek, which was seen in figures 3 and 4. Lyons is the town in the figure 9 northeast corner and Oakland is the town in the figure 9 southeast corner. The south-oriented stream flowing from near Lyons to Oakland is Logan Creek. The Logan Creek channel has been straightened by human intervention and segments of the original meandering channel are shown. Little Logan Creek is south-southeast oriented Logan Creek tributary located west of the Logan Creek valley in the figure 9 northeast quadrant. Cuming Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream flowing approximately midway between the Elkhorn River valley and the Logan Creek valley. South of the figure 9 map area Cuming Creek turns to flow south-southwest and near Scribner, Nebraska joins the Elkhorn River, which is at that point turning to flow in a southeast direction. A short distance downstream from Scribner south-oriented Logan Creek joins the southeast-oriented Elkhorn River at Hooper. The multiple south-southeast and south oriented valleys provide evidence that large volumes of south-southeast and south-oriented flood water once flowed across the figure 9 map area and the Logan Creek, Cuming Creek, and Elkhorn River (and Plum Creek) valleys eroded headward along those south- and south-southeast oriented flood flow routes. Note the east-oriented Logan Creek tributaries. A close look at the drainage divides between those Logan Creek tributaries reveals shallow north-south through valleys linking the east-oriented tributary valleys. In other words, the tributary valleys eroded headward from the newly eroded deep south-oriented Logan Creek valley to capture south-oriented flood flow moving across the upland erosion to the west. Evidence of similar north-south oriented through valleys can be seen in the figure 9 southwest quadrant linking headwaters of the southeast-oriented and northwest-oriented streams immediately east of West Point. Figure 10 below provides a more detailed of the figure 9 southwest quadrant area and of the through valleys there.

Elkhorn River-Cuming Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point

Figure 10: Elkhorn River-Cuming Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 10 provides a detailed topographic map of the figure 9 southwest quadrant area to illustrate the Elkhorn River-Cuming Creek drainage divide area northeast of West Point. The south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River is located in the figure 10 southwest quadrant. Plum Creek is the south-southeast oriented Elkhorn River tributary in the figure 10 northwest corner area. Cuming Creek is the south-southeast oriented stream in the figure 10 northeast quadrant. The south-oriented stream originating in section 13 and flowing south to the figure 10 south center edge is Willow Creek, which south of the figure 10 map area flows to the Logan Creek valley. Note how the Willow Creek headwaters in section 13 are linked by a through valley to a northwest and west oriented Plum Creek tributary. While only 30-40 feet deep that through valley provides evidence water once flowed southeast and south from what is today the Plum Creek drainage basin to the Willow Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep Elkhorn River and Plum Creek valleys beheaded the southeast and south oriented flood flow route to the Willow Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route reversed flow direction to erode the northwest-oriented Plum Creek tributary valley and to create the present day Plum Creek-Willow Creek drainage divide. Also in the figure 10 southeast quadrant note two shallow through valleys in section 29 linking northeast-oriented (barbed) Logan Creek tributaries with headwaters of a south-oriented stream (which is a Willow Creek tributary). While not deep the two through valleys provide evidence of multiple south-southwest oriented flood flow routes from the present day Logan Creek valley area to the Willow Creek valley. Headward erosion of the deep south-oriented Logan Creek valley beheaded the south-southwest oriented flood flow routes and flood waters on the north-northeast ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode the northeast-oriented Logan Creek tributary valleys and to create the Logan Creek-Willow Creek drainage divide. This evidence suggests the Elkhorn River, Willow Creek, and Logan Creek valleys were all eroding headward at approximately the same time.

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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