Cherry Creek drainage basin landform origins, McKenzie County, northwest North Dakota, USA

Authors

A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

Abstract:

The Cherry Creek region of McKenzie County, North Dakota is located between the Little Missouri River to the south, the Yellowstone River to the west and northwest, and the Missouri River to the north and east and had a complex drainage history. Although detailed topographic maps of the Cherry Creek region 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. Based on map evidence the Cherry Creek region was eroded during immense flood events, the first of which flowed on a topographic surface at least as high as the highest points in the present-day Cherry Creek region. Flood erosion ended when headward erosion of the deep northeast-oriented Yellowstone River valley captured the southeast-oriented flood flow that had been eroding the Cherry Creek region landscape.

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 northwest North Dakota Cherry Creek drainage basin 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 northwest North Dakota Cherry Creek drainage basin area landform evidence will be regarded as evidence supporting the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm.

Cherry Creek region map

Figure 1: Cherry Creek location map (select and click on maps to enlarge). United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.  

Figure 1 illustrates the Cherry Creek drainage route and its relationships to adjacent drainage routes. Cherry Creek headwaters flow in a southeast direction before turning northeast at the Cherry Creek south elbow of capture. From its south elbow of capture Cherry Creek flows northeast in a large valley to its north elbow of capture where it makes another abrupt turn this time to flow southeast to the northwest end of a southeast-oriented Little Missouri River segment. Tobacco Garden Creek flows southeast toward the north Cherry Creek elbow of capture, but turns abruptly at the Tobacco Garden Creek elbow of capture and follows the northeast-oriented through valley in a northeast direction to the Missouri River. Red Wing Creek flows southeast toward the northeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley, but turns at the Red Wing Creek north elbow of capture to flow in a southwest direction along the large through valley in which Cherry Creek flows northeast.  Red Wing Creek turns again to leave the large valley at the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture to flow in a southeast direction to the Little Missouri River. Bowline Creek (see figure 2) flows southeast to the same large through valley, although southwest of the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture. Bowline Creek after flowing southeast, turns southwest to flow along the extreme southwest end of the large valley to the elbow of capture where the Little Missouri River turns from being north-oriented to being east-oriented. The southeast-oriented Cherry Creek headwaters are linked by through valleys to northwest-oriented Yellowstone River tributaries and a southeast-oriented Cherry Creek tributary is linked at Arnegard with northwest-oriented Timber Creek headwaters that turn northeast at the Timber Creek elbow of capture to flow to the Missouri River. Northwest-oriented tributaries, including Spring Creek, flow to the northeast-oriented Cherry Creek segment.

Cherry Creek south elbow of capture and drainage divide with Red Wing Creek

Figure 2: Cherry Creek-Red Wing Creek drainage divide area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 2 shows the Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek drainage divide in the large southwest to northeast oriented through valley extending from the Little Missouri valley to the Missouri River valley. Note the Red Wing Creek north elbow of capture which is located southwest of the Cherry Creek south elbow of capture. Southeast and northwest-oriented Red Wing Creek tributaries flow to the same large southwest to northeast oriented through valley in which Cherry Creek flows northeast to its north elbow of capture, yet these Red Wing Creek tributaries turn southwest to flow to the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture. Southeast-oriented tributaries flowing to the southwest-oriented Red Wing Creek and Bowline Creek are linked by through valleys to northwest-oriented Yellowstone River tributary valleys. Figure 2 illustrates the northwest to southeast oriented through valley linking southeast-oriented Docs Draw, a Red Wing Creek tributary, to northwest-oriented Charbonneau Creek, which flows to the north-northeast oriented Yellowstone River. Large volumes of southeast-oriented flood waters flowed across this present day drainage divide before headward erosion of the deep Yellowstone River valley captured the flood flow and diverted it north. Reversal of flood waters on the northwest end of the beheaded flood flow route was responsible for erosion of the present-day Charbonneau Creek valley and for creating the Yellowstone River-Little Missouri River drainage divide. Headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Little Missouri River valley captured and reversed flood flow direction in the northeast-oriented through valley and created first the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture and second the Bowline Creek elbow of capture and the Red Wing Creek-Bowline Creek drainage divide.

  • Also illustrated in figure 2 are northwest-southeast oriented through valleys crossing the Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River drainage divide and leading to southeast-oriented Little Missouri River tributaries. These through valleys are evidence southeast-oriented flood waters crossed the entire region, including the present-day large southwest to northeast oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley to reach what must have an actively eroding deep Little Missouri River valley. This evidence suggests the deep Little Missouri River valley and the large southwest to northeast oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley were eroded by the same flood events and were probably components of a massive northeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex that was capturing flood waters flowing southeast in what was another large-scale anastomosing channel complex. This interpretation differs from frequently published interpretations the southwest-northeast oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley predates the east-oriented Little Missouri River valley segment and represents a former Little Missouri River drainage route.

Red Wing Creek-Little Missouri River confluence

Figure 3: Red Wing Creek-Little Missouri River confluenceUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Red Wing Creek flows southeast toward the northeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley, but turns at the Red Wing Creek north elbow of capture (figure 2) to flow in a southwest direction along the large through valley in which Cherry Creek flows northeast. Red Wing Creek turns again to leave the large valley at the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture (figure 3) to flow in a southeast direction to the Little Missouri River. Bowline Creek flows southeast to the same large through valley, although southwest of the Red Wing Creek south elbow of capture. Figure 3 illustrates the south elbow of capture where Red Wing Creek turns from flowing southwest to flowing southeast to the Little Missouri River and the Bowline Creek-Red Wing Creek drainage divide. Also shown in figure 3 is the Bowline Creek elbow of capture where Bowline Creek changes from flowing southeast to flowing southwest. Bowline Creek turns southwest to flow along the extreme southwest end of the large valley to the elbow of capture where the Little Missouri River turns from being north-oriented to being east-oriented. Originally flood flow in the northeast-oriented Bowline Creek-Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley was to the northeast, but headward erosion of the east-oriented Little Missouri River valley resulted in capture events that reversed flow at the through valley’s southwest end.

Cherry Creek-Yellowstone River drainage divide

Figure 4: A segment of the Cherry Creek-Yellowstone River drainage divide. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

The southeast-oriented Cherry Creek headwaters are linked by through valleys to northwest-oriented Yellowstone River tributaries and a southeast-oriented Cherry Creek tributary is linked at Arnegard with northwest-oriented Timber Creek headwaters that turn northeast at the Timber Creek elbow of capture to flow to the Missouri River. The unnamed northwest-oriented creek in the southwest corner of figure 4 is Charbonneau Creek, which flows to the Yellowstone River. Charbonneau Creek is linked by a well-defined through valley with Docs Draw, a Red Wing Creek tributary (see figure 2). Through valleys linking the southeast-oriented tributary headwaters with headwaters of northwest-oriented streams are evidence flood waters came from northwest of the present day Little Missouri River drainage basin and the present day Little Missouri River-Yellowstone River drainage divide did not exist at that time, but was formed later by headward erosion of the deep Yellowstone River valley. Headward erosion of the deep Yellowstone River valley captured the southeast-oriented floodwaters that were moving to the north Little Missouri River drainage basin and diverted the flood water northeast. However, before being diverted northeast by deep Yellowstone River valley headward erosion the southeast-oriented flood waters were responsible for eroding the Little Missouri River valley (downstream from Bowline Creek) and related through valley network. Through valleys linking southeast-oriented tributary headwaters with headwaters of northwest-oriented streams are evidence flood waters came from northwest of the present day Little Missouri River drainage basin and the Little Missouri River-Yellowstone River drainage divide did not exist at that time, but was formed later by headward erosion of the deep Yellowstone River valley. The source of the flood water cannot be determined from map evidence presented in this essay, although flood waters can be traced headward to a North American ice sheet location and rapid melting of a thick North American ice sheet, which through its weight and erosive actions created a large hole in the North American continent surface and caused crustal warping elsewhere on the continent and by melting fast created immense floods that deeply eroded the continent surface far from the ice sheet margins, would be a logical source.

Cherry Creek-Tobacco Garden Creek drainage divide

Figure 5: Cherry Creek-Tobacco Garden Creek drainage divide. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Tobacco Garden Creek today flows southeast toward the Cherry Creek north elbow of capture, but turns northeast at the Tobacco Garden Creek elbow of capture to flow to the present day Missouri River valley. Timber Prong Creek begins as a northwest-oriented stream, turns to flow southwest and then turns to flow northwest to the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek. Cherry Creek, which has been flowing as a underfit stream in a well-defined northeast-oriented through valley, abruptly turns to flow in a south-southeast direction. The northwest-oriented Timber Prong segment is linked by an even better-defined through valley with the south-southeast oriented Cherry Creek segment. How can the drainage history defined by these elbows of capture be deciphered, and what can we learn from it about the regional drainage pattern evolution?

  • First, the Tobacco Garden Creek elbow of capture is evidence a deep northeast-oriented valley eroded headward to capture a southeast-oriented flood. The multiple southeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek tributaries are evidence multiple flow routes were captured, probably as the northeast-oriented valley eroded across a complex of southeast-oriented anastomosing channels. Similar evidence is found all along the present day southwest to northeast oriented through valley from the Little Missouri valley at its southwest end to the Missouri valley at its northeast end and includes Bowline Creek and Red Wing Creek headwaters and Cherry Creek headwaters. As noted previously flood waters came from the northwest and were captured and diverted north-northeast by Yellowstone River valley headward erosion.
  • Prior to their capture by headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek-Tobacco Garden Creek through valley these anastomosing channels continued southeast across the region. That means headward erosion of the present day through valley beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes that were flowing to what is today the deep “east” oriented Little Missouri River valley. Flood flow on the northwest ends of these beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow channels reversed direction and flowed in a northwest direction to erode what are today northwest-oriented Red Wing Creek, Cherry Creek and Tobacco Garden Creek tributary valleys. At the same time flood waters on what must have already been a deep southeast-oriented Cherry Creek channel were not reversed but continued to erode a deep valley northwest from the deep southeast-oriented Little Missouri River valley. The Cherry Creek north elbow of capture is evidence this southeast-oriented valley was able to capture flood flow moving northeast in the northeast-oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley (before flow was reversed at the southwest end).
  • Also figure 5 shows how west of Watford City a through valley links the northeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley with the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley. In other words, Watford City is located on an erosional residual between two north-northeast oriented valleys. The eastern valley is used by Cherry Creek as it flows to its north elbow of capture while the western valley leads to the Tobacco Garden Creek elbow of capture. This evidence suggests the parallel valleys served as north-northeast oriented anastomosing channels moving captured flood flow north and northeast. At least for a period of time flood water flowed north and northeast in multiple valleys and probably at the same time flowed southeast to the deep Little Missouri River valley along the present-day southeast-oriented Cherry Creek and possibly other routes. Evidence for north-oriented anastomosing channels can also be seen in figure 8 where north-oriented dry channels are located west of the present day Tobacco Garden Creek route. These anastomosing channels formed because the volume of flood water moving north could not be contained within a single channel.

Tobacco Garden Creek northeast-oriented drainage route

Figure 6: Tobacco Garden Creek northeast-oriented drainage route. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

The through valley linking the northwest-oriented Timber Prong with the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley segment is evidence headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley not only captured flood waters moving northeast along the present day Cherry Creek routes, but also started to capture northeast-oriented flood flow along the present day Tobacco Garden Creek route. However, this capture of the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek flood flow was not successful. One probable reason why the Tobacco Garden Creek capture failed was the deep Missouri River valley eroded north and west at about the same time the southeast-oriented Little Missouri River-Cherry Creek valley was eroding northwest. Headward erosion of a deeper northeast-oriented valley from the newly eroded deep Missouri River valley along the present day Tobacco Garden Creek northeast-oriented drainage route probably captured flood waters that were in the process of being captured by headward erosion of the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley. The Timber Prong Creek route records the sequence of events. The upstream northwest-oriented segment valley was eroded by the reversal of flood flow when a southeast-oriented flood flow was beheaded. The southwest-oriented segment reflects the capture of the reversed flood flow by the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley. The downstream northwest-oriented segment reflects the capture and reversal of flow by the deeper northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley. The contest between the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek route and the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River route to capture the flood waters ended when the deep east-oriented Little Missouri River valley captured flood waters moving northeast to Cherry Creek (and capturing Bowline and Red Wing Creeks)

Missouri River-Tobacco Garden Creek drainage divide

Figure 7: Missouri River-Tobacco Garden Creek drainage divideUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figures 6 and 7 show multiple southeast-oriented tributaries flowing to the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley suggesting large volumes of southeast-oriented flood waters were captured by headward erosion of the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley. These through valleys suggest flood waters that were eroding the northeast-oriented valley segment (and also flowing southeast to the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River valley segment) were coming from the northwest and that the present-day deep Missouri River valley did not exist. Flood water routes to the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley segment were systematically beheaded as the deep Missouri River valley eroded west. Reversals of flow on the beheaded southeast-oriented flood flow routes were responsible for eroding the northwest-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys. These reversals of flow on the behead flood flow routes may have been fed by flood waters still moving southeast west of the actively eroding Missouri River valley head and then being diverted back toward the newly eroded deep Missouri valley.

Tobacco Garden Creek confluence with Missouri River

Figure 8: Tobacco Garden Creek confluence with Missouri River. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

From its elbow of capture (figure 5) Tobacco Garden Creek flows northeast along the northeast end of the large northeast oriented through valley linking the present day deep Little Missouri River valley with the present day deep Missouri River valley. At its northeast end the through valley narrows and deepens where the present day Tobacco Garden Creek joins the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley (the Missouri River valley has been flooded by Garrison Dam to produce Lake Sakakawea so the full valley depth is not evident). Figure 8 shows where Tobacco Garden Creek flows into Lake Sakakawea and also the large incised meander immediately north of the Tobacco Garden Creek mouth. This evidence supports the previously stated hypothesis that headward erosion of the deep east-oriented Missouri River valley enabled a deep northeast-oriented valley to erode southwest along the present day Tobacco Garden Creek route. Further the deep northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley and the related incised meander support the hypothesis that large volumes of flood water moved northeast along this route and were captured by the newly eroded and deep east-oriented Missouri River valley.

  • The large incised meander opposite the Tobacco Garden Creek mouth suggests a large north oriented flood was captured by a deep southeast-oriented Missouri River valley to create an elbow of capture and then a deep east-oriented valley was eroded across the narrow drainage divide between the north- and southeast-oriented channels. North-oriented flood water probably continued to supply flood water surges that flowed around the northern loop and eroded the northern semicircular Hofflund Flats valley around the present day Red Mike Hill. The north-oriented flood surges ended when the deep Little Missouri River valley captured all northeast oriented flood flow to the Tobacco Garden Creek valley and the deep Missouri River valley and Yellowstone River valley eroded west and southwest to capture all southeast-oriented floodwaters moving to the northeast-oriented Tobacco Garden Creek valley. Subsequent east-oriented Missouri River valley flood waters deeply eroded the east-oriented Missouri River valley south of Red Mike Hill, which resulted in the Hofflund Flats meander route being abandoned.
  • While the north-northeast oriented Bowline Creek-Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek-Tobacco Garden Creek through valley has sometimes been cited as the original Little Missouri River valley, the easy to identify through valley does not continue north of Hofflund Flats, although there are routes by which floodwaters may have flowed north to a north-northeast oriented through valley sometimes referred to as an early Yellowstone River valley. However, such simplistic valley interpretations do not explain evidence described here such as the anastomosing channels, the incised meander, the elbows of capture, and many of the present day through valley routes. This detailed evidence is best explained by headward erosion of a progression of deep north and northeast oriented valley and their tributary valleys to capture flood waters moving across in an immense southeast-oriented anastomosing channel complex and to divert the captured flood water in a north direction.

Downstream Cherry Creek drainage basin

Figure 9: Downstream Cherry Creek drainage basin. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.  

The southeast-oriented Cherry Creek valley, downstream from the north Cherry Creek elbow of capture, is aligned with the southeast-oriented Little Missouri River valley downstream from the Cherry Creek mouth. Cherry Creek from its north elbow of capture (figure 5) flows to a deep southeast-oriented valley to join the Little Missouri River. In other words the southeast-oriented Little Missouri River-Cherry Creek valley eroded headward along a major southeast-oriented flood flow route. As noted previously headward erosion of this southeast-oriented Little Missouri River-Cherry Creek valley captured northeast-oriented floodwaters at the Cherry Creek north elbow of capture. Evidence previously submitted makes the case for large volumes of flood waters moving southeast along the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River route.

Cherry Creek-Missouri River drainage divide

Figure 10: Cherry Creek-Missouri River drainage divideUnited States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Evidence of a massive flood-eroded anastomosing channel complex can be found on the upland surface east of the Cherry Creek drainage route, which today represents the Cherry Creek-Missouri River drainage divide. Northfork Creek is a northwest and west-oriented Cherry Creek tributary and figure 10 illustrates how the Northfork Creek headwaters are linked by a well-defined through valley with the headwaters of southeast and northeast-oriented Bear Den Creek. Bear Den Creek flows in a generally east direction to join the south oriented Missouri River (see figure 1). Dry Creek is a Bear Den Creek tributary and north of the figure 10 area is linked by a well-defined through valley complex with Demicks Lake and Timber Prong Creek (see figure 6). Inspection of more detailed maps demonstrates many additional through valleys crossing the region.

Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River confluence area

Figure 11: Cherry Creek-Little Missouri River confluence area. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 11 illustrates the east-oriented Little Missouri River valley in extreme northwest Dunn County, North Dakota. Two prominent elbows of capture can be seen. The Crosby Creek elbow of capture is at the north-oriented Crosby Creek mouth (north-oriented stream entering Little Missouri just east of the county line) and is where the east-oriented Little Missouri River turns to flow north-northeast and north. The second elbow of capture is at the southeast-oriented Cherry Creek mouth and is where the north-oriented Little Missouri River turns to flow in a southeast direction. The north-oriented Little Missouri River segment probably began as large volumes of flood water moved north on the Crosby Creek route to flow to a newly eroded southeast-oriented Cherry Creek-Littlle Missouri River southeast valley. Why would large volumes of flood water move north on the Crosby Creek route? The discussion of Crosby Creek evidence below will explain why.

Crosby Creek evidence

Figure 12: Crosby Creek tributaries from the west. United States Geological Survey map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

Figure 12 illustrates several present day Crosby Creek tributaries. Note in particular how Lone Butte Creek and Russian Creek, which begin today on the upland surface, flow east and southeast to join north-oriented Crosby Creek. Further note how Lone Butte Creek and Russian Creek have eroded deep valleys. These deep valleys are evidence the deep north-oriented Crosby Creek valley eroded south to capture southeast-oriented flood flow routes and to divert those floodwaters north. Flood flow routes captured by the deep north-oriented Crosby Creek valley came from northwest of what is now the deep Little Missouri River valley location and the Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley headcut location, which means the western Little Missouri River valley (west of Crosby Creek) and the Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley did not exist when the deep Crosby Creek valley was eroded south.

  • The sequence of events established here is the deep north-oriented Crosby Creek valley eroded south to capture southeast-oriented floodwaters flowing on the upland surface southeast of the present day deep Little Missouri River valley before Little Missouri River-Cherry Creek headcut headward erosion established the north Cherry Creek elbow of capture and before the Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley even existed. The entire deep Crosby Creek drainage basin was eroded before headward erosion of the deep Little Missouri River valley captured southeast-oriented floodwaters from the northwest. And headward erosion of the east-oriented deep Little Missouri River valley had to occur before the Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek through valley was completely eroded.
  • Headward erosion of the deep Little Missouri River valley west of the present day Crosby Creek mouth progressively captured and beheaded the anastomosing southeast-oriented flood flow channels. Flood waters on the northwest ends of the beheaded flood flow channels reversed direction and flowed northwest to erode deep northwest-oriented tributary valleys from the newly eroded and deep Little Missouri River valley south and southeast wall. Southeast-oriented floodwaters on yet to be reversed flood flow routes probably were captured by the newly reversed northwest-oriented flood flow routes and aided in the erosion of larger northwest-oriented valleys. Present day southeast-oriented Little Missouri River valley segments were eroded as the deep Little Missouri River valley eroded northwest along one of the southeast-oriented flood channels. North and northeast-oriented Little Missouri River valley segments probably represent routes the deep Little Missouri River valley eroded to capture flood flow in channels further to the southwest. In this manner the deep Little Missouri River valley eroded west until it captured north and northeast-oriented floodwaters moving to the shallower northeast-oriented Red Wing Creek-Cherry Creek 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 the detailed 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 were created using National Geographic 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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