Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area landform origins, Black Hills, western South Dakota, USA

Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The drainage divide between Spring Creek and Battle Creek originates in the western South Dakota Black Hills and continues east of the Black Hills to the Cheyenne River valley. Although detailed topographic maps of the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area have been available for more than fifty years detailed map evidence has not previously been used to interpret the region’s geomorphic history. The interpretation provided here is based entirely on topographic map evidence. The Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area is interpreted to have been eroded during immense southeast oriented flood events, the first of which flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest points in the present-day drainage divide area today, although the Black Hills area may have been uplifted during and/or following the flood. Flood flow across the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area in the Black Hills ended when headward erosion of southeast and northeast oriented Cheyenne River valley and northeast and southeast-oriented Belle Fourche River valley captured all southeast-oriented flood flow.

Preface:

The following interpretation of detailed topographic map evidence is provided as evidence in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project, which is compiling similar evidence for all major drainage divides contained within the Missouri River drainage basin and for all major drainage divides with and within certain adjacent drainage basins. The research project is interpreting evidence in the context of a previously unexplored geomorphology paradigm, which is briefly described in the introduction below. Project essays are listed on the sidebar category list under their appropriate Missouri River tributary drainage basin, Missouri River segment drainage basin (by state), and/or state in which the Missouri River drainage basin is located.

Introduction:

  • The purpose of this essay is to use topographic map interpretation methods to explore western South Dakota Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area landform origins. 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 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 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 similar essays is a thick North American ice sheet, comparable in thickness to the present day Antarctic ice sheet, occupied approximately the North American region usually recognized to have been glaciated and through its weight and erosive actions created a “deep” North American “hole”, 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 Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area landform evidence will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area general location map

Figure 1: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area general 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 general location map for the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area. The map illustrates an area in western South Dakota. Immediately west of the figure 1 map area is the state of Wyoming. Spring Creek and Battle Creek both originate in the Black Hills west of Rapid City, South Dakota and flow southeast to join the northeast-oriented Cheyenne River, just west of the Badlands National Park. Rapid Creek is not labeled, but it is the unlabeled southeast-oriented stream immediately south of Boxelder Creek and flows through Rochford, Silver City, Rapid City, and Farmingdale, South Dakota. Spring Creek is the unlabeled stream immediately south of Rapid Creek and flows through Hill City and near the Stratobowl. Battle Creek is the unlabeled stream immediately south of Spring Creek and flows through Keystone and Hermosa. Spring Creek and Battle Creek are two of several streams shown on figure 1 flowing southeast from the Black Hills to join the northeast-oriented Cheyenne River east of the Black Hills. North of Boxelder Creek is Elk Creek, which is labeled in figure 1.

  • The Rapid Creek-Spring Creek drainage divide area, Boxelder Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide area, Elk Creek-Boxelder Creek drainage divide area, Belle Fourche River-Elk Creek drainage divide area north of Elk Creek, Whitewood Creek-Bear Butte Creek and Spearfish Creek-Whitewood Creek drainage divide area essays describe other Black Hills drainage divide areas and can be found under Black Hills region on the sidebar category list. This essay interprets Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area landform origins in the context of an immense southeast oriented flood that flowed across the entire figure 1 map area and that was systematically captured by headward erosion of deep northeast-oriented valleys, which diverted flood waters further and further northeast and north. The source of the southeast-oriented flood water cannot be determined from evidence presented here. However, numerous Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays published on this website can be used to demonstrate the floods occurred before and/or while the Black Hills area was being uplifted and that flood waters can be traced headward to a North American ice sheet location. Rapid melting of a thick North American ice sheet located in a deep “hole” would explain the flood water source and also why deep valleys eroded west and southwest to capture southeast-oriented flood waters to divert flood waters further and further northeast and north into space in the deep “hole” the rapidly melting ice sheet had once occupied. In addition, presence of a thick North American ice sheet in a deep “hole” north and east of the Black Hills might explain crustal warping that uplifted the Black Hills dome during or even after an immense southeast-oriented flood. Uplift of the Black Hills dome may have been accelerated by crustal unloading as flood waters deeply eroded the Black Hills region and removed overlying rock layers.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Spring Creek-Battle 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 Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area. Custer County and Pennington County are located in western South Dakota. Green areas represent Black Hills National Forest lands, which are generally located in the Black Hills upland region. Spring Creek originates in the Black Hills upland area in southern Pennington County, west of Hill City, South Dakota. Battle Creek also originates in the Black Hills upland area northwest of Mount Rushmore National Park and flows through Keystone, South Dakota in southern Pennington County. Figure 2 does not provide enough detail to make observations about Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide landform origins in the Black Hills area and such observations need to be made from more detailed maps below. However, east of the Black Hills figure 2 shows southeast oriented Rapid Creek tributaries flowing from the Boxelder Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide. Further, figure 2 shows several southeast oriented tributaries to the northeast oriented Cheyenne River. Also figure 2 shows northwest-oriented tributaries to the northeast oriented Cheyenne River. This predominance of southeast and northwest-oriented tributaries to major streams on the plains east of the Black Hills is evidence major east, northeast and north-oriented stream valleys eroded headward across multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes, such as might be found in a large-scale anastomosing channel complex. Headward erosion of deep northeast and east-oriented valleys (or of even a southeast-oriented valley) across such a complex of southeast-oriented flood flow channels would have captured the southeast-oriented flood waters and enabled southeast-oriented tributary valleys to erode headward from the newly eroded and deep stream valley wall along the captured southeast-oriented flow channels. At the same time capture of the southeast-oriented flood flow would have beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes and flood waters on the northwest ends of those beheaded flood flow channels would have reversed flow direction to flow northwest into the newly eroded and deeper stream valley. Because the channels were anastomosing (meaning they were interconnected) reversed flow on beheaded flood flow routes often captured flood waters from yet to be beheaded flood flow routes further to the south or southwest. Capture of water from such yet to be beheaded flood flow routes frequently provided sufficient water to erode significant northwest-oriented tributary valleys.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area in Black Hills upland region

Figure 3: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area in Black Hills upland region. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area in the Black Hills region containing the highest Black Hills elevations. Harney Peak with an elevation of 2207 meters above sea level is the Black Hills highest point and is located west of Mount Rushmore National Park. Spring Creek flows northeast from the figure 3 southwest corner to Sheridan Lake along the figure 3 north edge and then flows generally east to the figure 3 northeast corner. Battle Creek originates northwest of Mount Rushmore National Park and flows generally southeast through Keystone, South Dakota to the figure 3 east edge (south half). Iron Creek flows southeast from the Cathedral Spires area (figure 3 south center west) to the figure 3 south edge and then flows northeast to join Battle Creek in the figure 3 southeast corner. Figure 3 illustrates multiple northwest-southeast oriented through valleys linking the Spring Creek and Battle Creek drainage basins. A through valley east of Hill City links north-oriented Palmer Creek (which flows to Spring Creek) with Battle Creek headwaters and is illustrated in detail in figure 4 below. The northeast-oriented Spring Creek valley is also linked by a through valley east of Hill City with the north-oriented Palmer Creek valley and that through valley is illustrated in detail in figure 5 below. In the figure 3 north center Joe Dollar Gulch, which flows to Spring Creek just west of Sheridan Lake, is linked by through valleys with southeast-oriented Battle Creek tributary valleys and figure 6 below illustrates those through valleys. A through valley between Harney Peak and the Cathedral Spires appears to link north-oriented Nelson Creek, which flows to Palmer Creek and Spring Creek, with southeast-oriented Iron Creek headwaters. This through valley is illustrated in detail in figure 7 below. Another through valley links northeast-oriented Johnson Gulch (east of Sheridan Lake) with southeast-oriented Tepee Gulch and is illustrated in figure 8 below. These and other similar northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence this high Black Hills area was eroded by an anastomosing complex of southeast-oriented flood flow channels, which was systematically dismembered by headward erosion of deep east-oriented valleys as the Black Hills area was being uplifted and flood erosion was lowering the surrounding plains region. The through valleys also document deep flood erosion of the Black Hills high peaks area, which may have been a contributing factor to Black Hills uplift that occurred as flood waters crossed the region.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area at Palmer Creek

Figure 4: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area at Palmer Creek. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the through valley linking north-oriented Palmer Creek, which flows to Spring Creek, with southeast-oriented Battle Creek headwaters. Spring Creek is located in the figure 4 northwest corner and flows to the figure 4 north center edge. Palmer Creek flows north-northeast and north from the figure 4 southwest quadrant to join Spring Creek at the figure 4 north center edge. Battle Creek originates in the figure 4 south center and flows southeast to the figure 4 southeast corner. Note how multiple northwest-southeast oriented through valleys link the north-oriented Palmer Creek valley with the southeast-oriented Battle Creek valley. The road uses one such through valley and the railroad uses another through valley. East of Samelias Peak is a higher level northwest-southeast oriented through valley linking northwest-oriented Joe Dollar Gulch with south-oriented Battle Creek drainage routes. Another high level northwest-southeast oriented through valley is located west of Samelias Peak. The northeast and north-oriented Palmer Creek valley is also one of several northeast and north-oriented through valleys located in the figure 4 west half. The northwest-southeast oriented through valleys provide evidence the figure 4 map region was being eroded by an immense flood carving an anastomosing complex of southeast-oriented channels into a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 4 elevations today. The Spring Creek valley and the northeast-and north-oriented Palmer Creek valley complex provides evidence the southeast-oriented flood was captured by headward erosion of the deep Spring Creek valley and its tributary valleys, some of which were eroding headward as complexes of deep northeast-oriented anastomosing channels. Remember, the immense flood occurred at a time when the Black Hills did not stand high above the surrounding plains region. Deep flood erosion of the Black Hills area may have contributed to the Black Hills uplift. The sources of the flood waters cannot be determined by Black Hills area evidence, however rapid melting of a thick North American ice sheet would be a logical flood water source. Weight of that thick ice sheet, which was probably located north and east of the Black Hills, may have contributed to crustal warping responsible for the Black Hills uplift.

Spring Creek-Palmer Creek drainage divide area east of Hill City

Figure 5: Spring Creek-Palmer Creek drainage divide area east of Hill City. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 5 illustrates the northeast oriented Spring Creek valley west of the figure 4 map area and better illustrates the northeast oriented valley complex that eroded headward to capture southeast oriented flood flow. This northeast oriented valley complex is linked by through valleys southwest of figure 5 with the Spring Creek valley (see figure 3) and is evidence of a northeast oriented anastomosing channel complex that eroded headward to capture flood flow moving in a higher level southeast-southeast oriented anastomosing channel complex. The size of the northeast oriented valleys provides some clues as to the amount of flood water captured. The deep Spring Creek valley then eroded headward to behead northeast oriented flood flow routes to the Palmer Creek valley and other parallel northeast oriented valleys. Note evidence of several incised meanders and multiple channels in the Spring Creek valley. These provide further evidence of immense quantities of water flowing northeast in that valley, although probably much less water than was flowing northeast when the northeast oriented anastomosing channel complex was being eroded. Note also how northeast-oriented flood flow captured by headward erosion of the deep Spring Creek valley also would have spilled southeast into the Battle Creek valley using through valleys seen in figure 4. In other words, the Spring Creek valley and the Battle Creek valley were interconnected channels in what was an immense east-oriented anastomosing channel complex eroding headward into the Black Hills region to capture southeast-oriented flood flow and to divert the flood water east. Figure 10 below illustrates how flood water was being diverted to what was then the deep northeast- and east-oriented White River valley prior to headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Cheyenne River, which diverted the flood waters still further to the northeast.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area at Joe Dollar Gulch

Figure 6: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area at Joe Dollar Gulch. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 6 better illustrates the through valley east of Samelias Peak seen earlier in figure 4. Spring Creek flows northeast in the figure 6 northwest corner. Joe Dollar Gulch originates north of Samelias Peak and drains northwest  and north-northwest to Spring Creek in the figure 6 northwest corner. A northwest-southeast oriented through valley east of Samelias Peak links the Joe Dollar Gulch headwaters with headwaters of an unnamed southeast and south oriented Battle Creek tributary. The through valley (and others like it) provides evidence southeast-oriented flood water once crossed the region on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 6 elevations today and deep south oriented valleys eroded headward from what was then probably the newly eroded Battle Creek valley. Southeast-oriented flood flow to these actively eroding south and southeast-oriented deep valleys was beheaded by headward erosion of the deep Spring Creek valley. Flood waters on the northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow northwest to the newly eroded and deeper Spring Creek valley. Numerous other through valleys can be observed on figure 6. While these other through valleys are not as obvious as the through valley east of Samelias Peak, they also provide evidence of flood water movements and erosion. The figure 6 evidence illustrates the depth of flood erosion that was taking place. Erosion on the scale of magnitude observed here would require immense quantities of water, much greater than previously described in human history. Flood waters were not derived from the present day Black Hills uplift area, but came from northwest of the Black Hills region. Black Hills uplift had not yet occurred when flood waters crossed the figure 6 map region and the regional drainage system history strongly suggests Black Hills uplift was occurring as the Black Hills were being eroded.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Harney Peak

Figure 7: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Harney Peak. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Before leaving the high Black Hills peaks region a look at the highest Black Hills peaks is needed. Figure 7 illustrates the Harney Peak region. Harney Peak has an elevation of 7242 feet (2207 meters) above sea level. The elevation of Phiney Flat, where Spring Creek joins the Cheyenne River (see figure 10 below) is approximately 5000 feet (1350 meters) lower. Between Harney Peak and Cathedral Spires (south of Harney Peak) is a through valley linking a west, northwest, southwest, and northwest oriented Sunday Gulch tributary valley with the south and southeast-oriented Iron Creek valley. Sunday Gulch flows north and northwest to join northeast oriented Spring Creek. Immediately southwest of Harney Peak is northwest, and northeast oriented Nelson Creek, which flows to Palmer Creek and then to Spring Creek. High level through valleys link the Nelson Creek headwaters area with the Sunday Gulch tributary headwaters area and also with Battle Creek tributary headwaters areas. Iron Creek after flowing southeast turns northeast to join southeast-oriented Battle Creek. The through valley (or pass) across the ridge connecting Harney Peak and the Cathedral Spires is evidence the deep south and southeast-oriented Iron Creek valley was eroded at least in part by flood waters, which flowed from the west and northwest across what is today the ridge connecting Harney Peak and the Cathedral Spires. Other similar through valleys crossing high ridges in the figure 7 region provide evidence a southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex once crossed the region and was dismembered by headward erosion of deeper northeast and east-oriented valleys. In other words, an immense flood eroded what are today the highest Black Hills regions. Southeast-oriented flood waters eroding the deep south and southeast-oriented Iron Creek valley were systematically beheaded by headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Spring Creek valley while reversed flood flow was responsible for eroding the west, northwest, southwest and northwest valley leading to the present day northeast-oriented Spring Creek valley. Through valleys linking the Sunday Gulch tributary headwaters with the Nelson Creek headwaters provide evidence reversed flood flow on the Nelson Creek valley alignment (after southeast-oriented flood flow along that route was beheaded) captured yet to be beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow using the Sunday Gulch tributary valley alignment. Many further details of flood flow and reversed flow movements can probably be worked out, although that will require a separate essay, which I will not attempt to write at this time.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Silver Mountain

Figure 8: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Silver Mountain. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 illustrates the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area in the Silver Mountain area and west and southwest of Rockerville, South Dakota. Spring Creek is the stream flowing southeast and then northeast in the figure 8 north center. Northeast-oriented Coon Hollow drains to that Spring Creek loop. In the figure 8 northwest corner is Johnson Gulch, which also drains to Spring Creek. Southeast of Silver Mountain is southeast oriented Foster Gulch and southwest of Silver Mountain is southeast oriented Tepee Gulch. A southeast oriented Foster Gulch tributary originates in the pass between Silver Mountain and Boulder Hill and is linked by that through valley with a northwest-oriented valley draining to Johnson Gulch. Today a southeast and northeast oriented valley continuing to Rockerville and beyond (named Rockerville Gulch further east) separates the Coon Hollow headwaters from the Foster Gulch tributary valley (Rockerville Gulch is a Spring Creek tributary). Northwest of Silver Mountain the southeast-oriented Tepee Gulch valley is linked by a through valley to a northwest-oriented valley leading to the northeast and north-oriented Johnson Gulch valley. What happened to create the figure 8 drainage pattern? Initially an immense southeast-oriented flood flowed across the figure 8 map area and the two through valleys on either side of Silver Mountain provide evidence of former southeast-oriented anastomosing channels. Deep southeast-oriented valleys began to erode headward into the figure 8 map region (probably from what was then the newly eroded and deep Battle Creek valley) and the Teppe Gulch and Foster Gulch valleys would be examples. Next headward erosion of the deep Spring Creek valley systematically beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the actively eroding southeast-oriented valleys. The deep northeast-oriented Coon Hollow valley eroded southwest to capture southeast-oriented flood flow that was moving between Silver Mountain and Boulder Hill, but headward erosion of the Rockerville Gulch valley succeeded in capturing most of that flood flow. Headward erosion of the Spring Creek-Johnson Gulch valley then beheaded all flood flow to Rockerville Gulch, along with southeast-oriented flood flow to the Tepee Gulch valley. These events took place as the Black Hills region was being uplifted, with the ongoing uplift  probably contributing to the deep erosion of the figure 8 map area and the deep erosion causing crustal unloading, which was contributing to the ongoing uplift.

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area east of Black Hills

Figure 9: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area east of Black Hills. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 illustrates the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area east of the Black Hills upland region. Battle Creek is the southeast-oriented stream flowing through Hermosa, South Dakota. Spring Creek is the southeast-oriented stream flowing from the figure 9 north edge to the figure 9 east edge. Drainage in the figure 9 northeast corner flows to southeast-oriented Rapid Creek, which flows in a valley similar to the Spring Creek and Battle Creek valleys (see Rapid Creek-Spring Creek drainage divide essay). North of Rapid Creek is southeast-oriented Boxelder Creek, which flows in a valley similar to the Rapid Creek and Spring Creek valleys (see Boxelder Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide essay). North of the Boxelder Creek valley is the Elk Creek valley, which also is similar to the Rapid Creek and Spring Creek valleys (see Elk Creek-Boxelder Creek drainage divide essay). This series of large and broad east and southeast-oriented valleys leading from the Black Hills uplift area to the present day northeast oriented Cheyenne River valley provides evidence immense quantities of flood water flowed from what is now the Black Hills uplift area to some newly eroded valley to east. Figure 10 below provides evidence this immense flood flow originally was moving to the northeast and east oriented White River valley, but was captured by headward erosion of the northeast oriented Cheyenne River valley. A flood capable of eroding this series of large east and southeast-oriented valleys could not have originated in the Black Hills uplift area, but instead flowed across what is now the Black Hills uplift area, which could not have occurred if the Black Hills had stood above the surrounding region as it does today. Headward erosion of the deep east and northeast oriented White River valley toward the Black Hills south end, headward erosion of the northeast and southeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley around the Black Hills south end, and headward erosion of the northeast and southeast-oriented Belle Fourche River valley around the Black Hills north end, combined with evidence such as this series of large flood eroded valleys east of the Black Hills, provides evidence the Black Hills uplift occurred as flood waters were deeply eroding the uplift area and also eroding the surrounding region (see figure 1 and also other essays under Black Hills region, White River, Cheyenne River, and Belle Fourche River on sidebar category list).

Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Cheyenne River

Figure 10: Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area near Cheyenne River. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates (using reduced size maps) the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area immediately west of the Cheyenne River. The Cheyenne River is in the large northeast-oriented valley draining from the figure 10 south (east half) edge to the figure 10 northeast corner. Spring Creek is in the southeast and northeast-oriented valley flowing from the figure 10 northwest quadrant to the figure 10 northeast corner. Battle Creek flows southeast from the figure 10 west edge to the Cheyenne River. The Cheyenne River-White River drainage divide essay describes the area east of the Cheyenne River valley and can be found under White River on sidebar category list. Flats and tables east of the Cheyenne River (and also between the northeast-oriented Spring Creek valley and the Cheyenne River valley) are erosion surfaces developed prior to headward erosion of the present day northeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley. Prior to Cheyenne River valley headward erosion large volumes of flood water moved southeast in the large Spring Creek and Battle Creek valleys to what was then the actively eroding deep White River valley (southeast of figure 10). Southeast-oriented flood waters flowed across the entire the figure 10 map area and eroded the erosion surfaces now preserved in the form of flats and tables standing above the deeper Cheyenne River valley. Headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley captured the southeast-oriented flood flow and diverted the flood waters northeast. Headward erosion of the deep Cheyenne River valley also lowered base level causing flood waters in the Spring Creek and Battle Creek valleys (and in what are today other Cheyenne River tributary valleys) to erode deeper inner valleys within their broad earlier valleys. Headward erosion of the deep Cheyenne River valley captured southeast-oriented flood flow moving to the White River valley, and flood waters on the northwest ends of those beheaded flood flow routes reversed flow direction to erode what are today northwest-oriented Cheyenne River tributary valleys. Erosion of those northwest-oriented valleys was aided by flood flow from not yet captured (by headward erosion of the deep Cheyenne River valley) southeast-oriented flood flow further to the south and southwest, which was captured and then flowed northeast along what is today the northeast-oriented White River valley, and some of which spilled to the northwest into the newly eroded northeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley.

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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