Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area, Black Hills region, Wyoming and South Dakota, USA

Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The drainage divide between Stockade Beaver Creek and Red Canyon Creek originates in the western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming Black Hills and continues southward to the Cheyenne River valley. Although detailed topographic maps of the Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 and northeast Wyoming Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 Stockade Beaver Creek -Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area landform evidence will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area general location map

Figure 1: Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 location map for the Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area. The map illustrates an area in western South Dakota (Rapid City is located in South Dakota) and in northeastern Wyoming (Devils Tower is in Wyoming). South of South Dakota is the state of Nebraska (Chadron is in Nebraska). Red Canyon Creek and Stockade Beaver Creek both originate in the Black Hills and flow south to join the Cheyenne River. Stockade Beaver Creek is the unlabeled stream originating near Four Corners, Wyoming and flowing south along the Wyoming side of the Wyoming-South Dakota border to join southeast-oriented Beaver Creek and then the southeast-oriented Cheyenne River. Red Canyon Creek is the unlabeled stream flowing south from near Custer, South Dakota and joins the Cheyenne River near Edgemont, South Dakota. Red Canyon Creek is the only south-oriented stream in figure 1 flowing from the Black Hills upland region directly to the Cheyenne River south of the Black Hills.

  • Figure 1 shows several streams originating in the Black Hills and flowing southeast to join the northeast oriented Cheyenne River east of the Black Hills. The northernmost of these streams on figure 1 is Elk Creek. Rapid Creek is the unlabeled southeast oriented stream south of Boxelder Creek and flows through Rapid City. Spring Creek is the unlabeled stream immediately south of Rapid Creek and flows through Hill City. Battle Creek is the unlabeled stream south of Spring Creek and flows through Keystone and Hermosa. French Creek flows through Fairburn. Beaver Creek is not shown, but originates near Custer and flows south to Pringle before turning southeast to flow to Buffalo Gap and the Cheyenne River. Fall River is also not shown, but flows from Hot Springs southeast to join the Cheyenne River. Red Canyon Creek flows has drainage divides with French Creek and Beaver Creek, which are discussed in the Red Canyon Creek-Beaver Creek drainage divide essay (other Black Hills region area essays can be found under Black Hills on the sidebar category list). Stockade Beaver Creek originates further north than Red Canyon Creek and has drainage divides with Rapid Creek and Spring Creek, which are discussed in the Spring Creek-Battle Creek drainage divide area and Rapid Creek-Spring Creek drainage divide area essays. Black Hills drainage system evolution is closely related to the evolution of the southeast and northeast oriented Cheyenne River valley and its tributary northeast and southeast oriented Belle Fourche River valley. This essay interprets Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 southeast-oriented flood water source cannot be determined from evidence presented here. However, based on evidence from numerous other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays published on this website the floods occurred while the Black Hills area was being uplifted and the flood waters can be traced headward to the location of a North American ice sheet. 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 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.

Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area detailed location map

Figure 2: Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon 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 map for the Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area. Pennington and Custer Counties are located in western South Dakota. Weston County is located in northeast Wyoming. Stockade Beaver Creek is shown and labeled and flows northwest to the Four Corners, Wyoming area (north of Newcastle) and then turns abruptly to flow south to southeast oriented Beaver Creek, which flows to the southeast oriented Cheyenne River. Red Canyon Creek, which flows south from west of Sanator, South Dakota (south of Custer) to join the Cheyenne River at Edgemont, is also shown and labeled. Green areas represent Black Hills National Forest lands in South Dakota, which are generally located in the Black Hills upland region (although there are Wyoming Black Hills upland areas as well). Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park lands are shown in red. Note how the Cheyenne River flows southeast to the Black Hills south end and then turns northeast. Also note the large number of southeast oriented streams flowing from the Black Hills to the Cheyenne River (figure 1 shows this better than figure 2). Further note in figure 2 northwest-oriented tributaries to the northeast oriented Cheyenne River. This predominance of southeast- and northwest-oriented tributaries to the northeast oriented Cheyenne River is evidence the northeast oriented Cheyenne River valley eroded headward across multiple southeast-oriented flood flow routes, such as might be found in a large-scale anastomosing channel complex, and then captured significant southeast-oriented flood flow moving around the Black Hills south end. Headward erosion of a deep northeast-oriented valley across southeast-oriented flood flow channels would have captured southeast-oriented flood waters and enabled southeast-oriented tributary valleys to erode headward from the newly eroded Cheyenne River valley wall. At the same time capture of southeast-oriented flood flow would have beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes and flood waters on northwest ends of those beheaded flood flow channels would have reversed flow direction to flow northwest into the newly eroded and deeper northeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley. Because 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. Prior to headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley flood waters were flowing to what was then the newly eroded northeast-and east-oriented White River valley. The northeast-oriented White River valley is just barely seen in the figure 2 southeast corner (also see figure 1). The Cheyenne River-White River drainage divide essay describes landform origins southeast of the Cheyenne River and can be found under Cheyenne River or White River on the sidebar category list. Headward erosion of the deep White River valley and then the deep Cheyenne River valley around the Black Hills south end enabled the  Red Canyon Creek valley and subsequently the Stockade Beaver Creek valley to erode north to capture southeast-oriented flood flow that had been flowing across the Black Hills central core and that had been eroding the various southeast-oriented valley systems now draining flood waters to the Cheyenne River east of the Black Hills (see figure 1). This diversion of flood waters south may have been aided by Black Hills uplift and was ended when headward erosion of the deep northeast- and southeast-oriented Belle Fourche River valley captured all of the southeast-oriented flood flow.

Stockade Beaver Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide area east of Four Corners

Figure 3: Stockade Beaver Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide area east of Four Corners. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 3 illustrates the Stockade Beaver Creek-Rapid Creek drainage divide area east of Four Corners, Wyoming (Castle Creek is a Rapid Creek tributary). Stockade Beaver Creek flows northwest in the figure 3 center from Pennington County, South Dakota to Weston County, Wyoming and then turns abruptly south to flow just west of the South Dakota-Wyoming border to the figure 3 south edge. A short distance north of the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver segment is northwest-oriented Dry Beaver Creek, which once west of the state line turns south to flow to Stockade Beaver Creek. In South Dakota a north-south through valley links the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters with northwest-oriented Dry Beaver Creek headwaters and with northwest-oriented Cold Springs Creek (near the figure 3 north edge). Cold Springs Creek flows northwest and north to eventually reach the southeast-oriented Belle Fourche River north of the Black Hills. Stockade Beaver Creek flows south to the Cheyenne River, which flows around the Black Hills south end. The north-south through valley linking the Cold Springs Creek and Stockade Beaver Creek drainage basins is evidence water once flowed south from what is today the Cold Spring Creek drainage basin to what is today the Stockade Beaver Creek drainage basin. Southeast-oriented Castle Creek located in the figure 3 east center flows to southeast-oriented Rapid Creek, which flows to the northeast-oriented Cheyenne River, east of the Black Hills. A close look at figure 3 reveals Castle Creek headwaters are linked by through valleys with both northwest-oriented Cold Spring Creek headwaters and northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters. South-oriented Redbird Draw located along the figure 3 south edge (east center) eventually joins Stockade Beaver Creek (see figure 8 below) and is linked by a through valley with northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters and also northwest-oriented Cold Spring Creek. This through valley linkage is evidence of a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex that once crossed the figure 3 map area. Northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters are evidence the deep Stockade Beaver Creek valley eroded north to capture southeast-oriented flood flow moving across the figure 3 map area to what was then the actively eroding Rapid Creek drainage system. Flood waters on the northwest ends of the beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes reversed flow direction to flow northwest into the newly eroded and deeper south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek valley. Erosion of the northwest-oriented valleys was aided by capture of yet to be beheaded flood flow on southeast-oriented flood flow routes further to the north.

Stockade Beaver Creek-Redbird Creek drainage divide area

Figure 4: Stockade Beaver Creek-Redbird Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 4 illustrates the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters area. Northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek flows from the figure 4 center to the figure 4 northwest quadrant and north edge. Southeast-oriented South Fork Castle Creek flows to the figure 4 southeast corner and eventually to southeast-oriented Rapid Creek and the northeast-oriented Cheyenne River east of the Black Hills. Note high-level through valleys linking the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters with the southeast-oriented South Fork Castle Creek headwaters. These high-level through valleys provide evidence water once flowed in multiple channels southeast from what is today the Stockade Beaver Creek drainage basin to what is today the Rapid Creek drainage basin. South-oriented Redbird Draw and its tributary Jenks Draw are located in the figure 4 south center. These south-oriented valleys eventually drain to Stockade Beaver Creek and the through valleys linking their headwaters with the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters provide evidence water once flowed south in multiple channels from the figure 4 map area to the Stockade Beaver Creek valley further to the south (see figure 8 below). Bear Creek flowing southwest and west through Bear Canyon in the figure 4 west center also flows to south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek and is linked by a through valley with the northwest-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek headwaters. Note how a northwest-southeast oriented through valley in which the Beaver Creek Camp is located connects the west-oriented Bear Creek valley with the south-oriented Jenks Draw valley. The Bear Creek through valley and the Beaver Creek Camp through valley provide additional evidence of the south-oriented anastomosing channel complex that once crossed the figure 4 map area. Many other higher level through valleys can also be identified in the figure 4 map area. Briefly the figure 4 map evidence describes a southeast-oriented flood that eroded a southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex, which was captured by headward erosion of the deeper south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek valley and Stockade Beaver Creek tributary valleys. Headward erosion of the Stockade Beaver Creek valley west of the figure 4 map area beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow into the figure 4 map area, causing flood waters on the northwest ends of beheaded flood flow routes to reverse flow direction and to flow west and northwest to the south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek valley.

Redbird Creek-Gillette Canyon drainage divide area

Figure 5: Redbird Creek-Gillette Canyon drainage divide areaUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 5 illustrates the Redbird Creek-Gillette Canyon drainage divide area southeast of the figure 4 map area (there is no overlap). Redbird Draw drains southeast from the figure 5 northwest corner area to join southwest and south-oriented Redbird Canyon and eventually flow to south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek. Note the high-level through valley northeast of the Howell Ranch in the figure 5 northwest corner linking an unnamed southeast-oriented Redbird Canyon tributary with the southeast-oriented Redbird Draw valley. This through valley is further evidence of the south-oriented anastomosing channel complex that once crossed what is now the Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon drainage divide area. Southwest-oriented Gillette Canyon located in the figure 5 southeast quadrant drains eventually to Redbird Canyon and then to Stockade Beaver Creek (see figure 8 below). Note the northwest-southeast oriented through valley (north of Rogers Lake in the figure 5 south center) linking southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon with southwest-oriented Gillette Canyon. Today that valley is drained by a southeast-oriented Gillette Canyon tributary and a northwest-oriented Redbird Canyon tributary. However, the existence of a through valley is evidence that water once flowed southeast through the valley to what was probably a newly eroded Gillette Canyon valley and then was captured by headward erosion of the southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon valley. The northwest-oriented tributary valley was probably eroded by yet to be beheaded (by southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon valley headward erosion) southeast-oriented flood flow that moved southwest on the southwest-oriented valley located by Rogers Spring in the figure 5 center. Further east and northeast another easy to identify north-northwest to south-southeast oriented through valley extending from the figure 5 north edge connects southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon with southwest-oriented Gillette Canyon. This through valley is also evidence of the anastomosing channel complex that once crossed what is now the Stockade Beaver Creek-Red Canyon Creek drainage divide area.

Bear Spring Creek-Sourdough Draw drainage divide area

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

The figure 6 map area is located southeast of the figure 5 map area and there is no overlap. Bear Springs Creek, which flows southeast from the figure 6 north center edge to Alkali Spring and then turns south-southwest and jogs east and then south-southwest in the figure 6 southeast quadrant where the valley south of figure 6 is named Hell Canyon. Hell Canyon drains south through Jewel Cave National Monument (see figure 7 below) to Pass Creek and to southeast-oriented Beaver Creek and the southeast-oriented Cheyenne River (see figure 10 below). Sourdough Draw is the southwest oriented Bear Springs Creek tributary valley draining from the figure 6 northeast corner. Sourdough Draw headwaters located north of the figure 6 map area are linked by a high-level through valley with the Bear Springs Creek valley. Note just south of Alkali Springs in the figure 6 northeast quadrant a through valley linking the Sourdough Draw valley with the Bear Springs Creek valley. Following the ridge between the two valleys further south another high-level through valley can also be identified. These through valleys provide further evidence of the anastomosing channel complex that once crossed the region. Another easy to identify through valley begins in the figure 6 north center where a southwest oriented valley links the southeast-oriented Bear Springs Creek valley with a southwest and south-oriented stream that flows to Hell Canyon south of the figure 6 map area. This southwest and south-oriented through valley was eroded as another channel in the south-oriented anastomosing channel complex that once crossed the region. Several additional higher level and less obvious through valleys can also be located in the figure 6 map area and each one provides further evidence of the previous anastomosing channel complex..

Hell Canyon-Tepee Canyon drainage divide area

Figure 7: Hell Canyon-Tepee Canyon drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 7 illustrates the Hell Canyon-Tepee Canyon drainage divide area at Jewel Cave National Monument. East Hell Canyon (the one Bear Springs Creek in figure 6 flowed to) drains southwest from the figure 7 north edge to join south-oriented West Hell Canyon just north of Jewel Cave National Monument and then to flow south to the figure 7 south edge. West of West Hell Canyon Tepee Canyon drains south-southeast in Jewel Cave National Monument and then southwest to the figure 7 west edge. West Tepee Canyon drains south from the figure 7 northwest corner to join the southwest-oriented Tepee Canyon valley. Tepee Canyon eventually drains to Hell Canyon and high-level though valleys in the Jewel Cave National Monument area linking the Hell Canyon and Tepee Canyon valleys provide evidence that at one time the Hell Canyon valley and the Tepee Canyon valley were components of a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Southwest oriented Schenk Canyon drains the figure 7 southeast quadrant and eventually drains to Tepee Canyon, which drains to Hell Canyon. East and southeast of Jewel Cave National Monument Lithograph Canyon extends east and southeast from the figure 7 east edge to join Hell Canyon in the figure 7 south center. Note how two well-defined through valleys extend east from the Jewel Cave National Monument area and are linked to a south-oriented stream that originates north of the Wolf Ranch near the figure 7 east edge. Also note a well-defined northwest, southeast and northwest-oriented Hell Canyon tributary valley that is also linked to that stream flowing south from the Wolf Ranch area to the figure 7 southeast corner. That south-oriented stream flows to Pleasant Valley, which drains to Red Canyon Creek. The through valleys east and southeast of Jewel Cave National Monument linking the south-oriented Hell Canyon valley with the south-oriented Red Canyon Creek tributary provide evidence that before the Hell Canyon valley eroded north multiple channels carries flood water east across the Jewel Cave National Monument region to what was then probably the actively eroding south-oriented Red Canyon Creek drainage system. Headward erosion of the deep Hell Canyon valley beheaded the east-oriented flood flow routes causing flood waters on east ends of those flood flow routes to reverse flow direction and to flow west to the newly eroded and deeper south-oriented Hell Canyon valley. Headward erosion of the southwest-oriented Tepee Canyon valley, probably at about the same time, captured southeast and east-oriented flood waters moving to the newly eroded Hell Canyon valley.

Schenk Canyon-Hell Canyon drainage divide area

Figure 8: Schenk Canyon- Hell Canyon drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 8 illustrates some remarkable flood eroded landscape located south of the figure 7 map area (there is no overlap). Southwest-oriented Schenk Canyon drains the figure 8 northwest quadrant to the figure 8 west edge (center) and eventually drains to Tepee Canyon, which turns from being southwest-oriented to being southeast-oriented and drains to Hell Canyon south of the figure 8 map area (southwest-oriented Tepee Canyon is located northwest of the figure 8 map area). South and southwest-oriented Hell Canyon flows across the figure 8 center from the figure 8 north edge to the south edge. In the figure 8 northeast quadrant Water Draw drains northwest and then southwest to south-oriented Hell Canyon. Note how a southwest-oriented through valley extends from the Water Draw headwaters area (along the figure 8 east edge) to the figure 8 south edge. Most of that valley is the Lyman Draw valley, which joins the Hell Canyon valley south of the figure 8 map area. Note how much of the area northwest of Schenk Canyon, between Schenk Canyon and Hell Canyon, and between Hell Canyon and the Lyman Draw valley has been eroded into labyrinth of valleys. These labyrinths of valleys are evidence of intense erosion as the southwest-oriented Lyman Draw valley eroded headward to capture southeast-oriented flood flow, followed by headward erosion of the Hell Canyon valley to capture the same southeast-oriented flood flow, followed by headward erosion of the Schenk Canyon valley to capture the same southeast-oriented flood flow. Headward erosion of the Tepee Canyon valley next beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow to the figure 8 map area.

Stockade Beaver Creek-Redbird Creek drainage divide southeast of Newcastle, Wyoming

Figure 9: Stockade Beaver Creek-Redbird Creek drainage divide southeast of Newcastle, Wyoming. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 9 illustrates the Stockade Beaver Creek-Redbird Creek drainage divide area southeast of Newcastle, Wyoming. Newcastle is the town located in the figure 9 northwest corner. Weston County is in Wyoming and Pennington and Custer Counties are in South Dakota. Stockade Beaver Creek is the first stream flowing south from the figure 9 north edge west of the state line and jogs southwest and then south-southeast to the figure 9 south edge. West of Stockade Beaver Creek south-southeast oriented Salt Creek flows from the figure 9 north edge to join Stockade Beaver Creek. East of the state line Boles Canyon drains south to southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon, which drains south from the figure 9 north edge east of Boles Canyon. Gillette Canyon drains southwest across the figure 9 southeast corner and then northeast to the southwest-oriented Redbird Canyon Creek. Redbird Canyon Creek flows to south-oriented Whoopup Creek, which flows to south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek south of the figure 9 map area. Figures 3 and 4 above illustrated how the Stockade Beaver Creek valley and the Redbird Canyon valley are linked by through valleys in the Four Corner area further to the north. Figure 8 illustrates how the two valleys are linked in the Newcastle area. These linkages could only develop if water was flowing from one drainage basin to the other and flowing south in both drainage basins at the same time. In other words, figures 3, 4, and 9 document a south-oriented anastomosing channel complex of which the Stockade Beaver Creek valley and the Redbird Canyon valley were significant channels. Figure 5 above illustrated linkages between the Redbird Canyon valley and the Gillette Canyon further to the northeast. These linkages combined with the figure 8 evidence document that the Gillette Canyon valley was also a component of the south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. While not shown Boles Canyon headwaters are linked by high-level through valleys with both the south-oriented Stockade Beaver Creek valley and the south-oriented Redbird Canyon valley, meaning the Boles Canyon valley was eroded as another component of the south-oriented anastomosing channel complex. Also, while not shown the south-oriented Salt Creek valley is linked by through valleys with the Stockade Beaver Creek valley.

Craven Canyon-Red Canyon drainage divide area

Figure 10: Craven Canyon-Red Canyon drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

Figure 10 illustrates the Craven Canyon-Red Canyon drainage divide area and also where Pass Creek drains to the southeast-oriented Cheyenne River valley. The Cheyenne River flows southeast across the figure 10 southwest quadrant. Hell Canyon drains to southwest and south-oriented Pass Creek north of the figure 10 map area and Pass Creek is located in the figure 10 northwest corner. Southwest-oriented Red Canyon drains from the figure 10 northeast corner and then turns south to join the Cheyenne River near Edgemont, South Dakota (located south of the figure 10 map area). Southeast-oriented Craven Canyon drains the figure 10 north center to Red Canyon and is linked by through valleys to northwest-oriented tributary valleys to southwest oriented Pass Creek north of the figure 10 map area. East of the southeast-oriented Craven Canyon headwaters is southeast-oriented Hawkwright Creek, which drains to the southwest and south-oriented Red Canyon. Hawkwright Creek headwaters are also linked by through valleys north of the figure 10 map area to northwest-oriented tributaries to southwest-oriented Pass Creek. Figure 10a below illustrates through valleys linking East Pass Creek with the Hawkwright Creek headwaters. Note how Craven Canyon has eroded a deep valley into what must be a resistant rock mass while further to the north the Craven Canyon-Red Canyon drainage divide area is much lower. Erosion of the deep Craven Canyon is evidence flood water flowed southeast on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest figure 10 elevations today. The existence of both the Craven Canyon drainage route and the Hawkwright Creek drainage route is evidence the southeast-oriented flood flow used multiple channels, such as found in an anastomosing channel complex. While not seen in figure 10, but illustrates in figure 10 a below, headward erosion of the southwest-oriented Pass Creek valley captured flood flow to southeast-oriented Craven Canyon and southeast-oriented Hawkwright Creek and diverted water southwest and south to the Cheyenne River valley. That sequence of events would make sense if the deep Cheyenne River valley was eroding headward around the Black Hills south end and then northwest along the Black Hills southwest flank. The capture may have been aided by Black Hills uplift, which would have been diverting flood waters from flowing across the Black Hills uplift area to flowing around the uplift area.

Figure 10a:  East Pass Creek-Hawkwright Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software. 

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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