Missouri River drainage basin landform origins between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri, overview essay

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A geomorphic history based on topographic map evidence

  • This essay is an overview of more detailed essays using topographic map evidence to illustrate and interpret landform origins in the Missouri River drainage basin segment between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri. The detailed essays can be found under IA Missouri River, KS Missouri River, and NE Missouri River on this website’s sidebar category list. Other Missouri River drainage basin segments addressed by separate collections are the Montana Missouri River drainage basin, the North Dakota Missouri River drainage basin, the South Dakota Missouri River drainage basin, and the Missouri River drainage basin downstream from Kansas City, Missouri. Landform origins for major Missouri River tributaries including the Niobrara River,  (Nebraska) Platte River and Kansas River are described by separate overview essays and related detailed essays found under those river names on the sidebar category list.  All interpretations are based on topographic map evidence and no effort has been made to introduce evidence from other sources.

Missouri River between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri location map

Figure 1: Missouri River between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri location map. National Geographic Society map digitally presented using National Geographic Society TOPO software.

 

The Missouri River between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri is oriented in a south-southeast direction and has a relatively narrow drainage area in Iowa, while the east-oriented Niobrara, Platte and Kansas Rivers drain extensive regions to the west not only in Nebraska and Kansas, but also in Wyoming and Colorado. Detailed essays illustrate topographic map evidence to demonstrate the south-southeast oriented Missouri River valley eroded headward during an immense southeast-oriented flood. The Kansas River valley, Platte River valley and the Niobrara River valley all eroded headward (or to the west) from what was then the newly eroded Missouri River valley to capture south- and southeast-oriented flood flow west of the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Other Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project essays for Montana and Wyoming demonstrate southeast-oriented flood waters not only flowed across the Great Plains, but also flowed across the present day Rocky Mountain region and were captured by Kansas River tributary valleys and later by Platte River tributary valleys, which eroded headward across the south and southeast oriented flood flow from the newly eroded Missouri River valley. Topographic map evidence illustrated in detailed essays published on this website can be used to trace flood waters headward to what was probably a rapidly melting thick North American ice sheet.

Introduction to Missouri River drainage basin research project essay series

This Missouri River drainage basin between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri landform origins overview essay and its related detailed essays is one of a series of overview essays and related detailed essays in the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project. The research project goal is to use topographic map evidence to describe the evolution of drainage divides separating each significant present day Missouri River tributary valley and also to describe the evolution of drainage divides separating the present day Missouri River drainage basin from adjacent drainage basins. Each overview essay and its related detailed essays pertains to a specific Missouri River tributary, tributary to a present day Missouri River tributary, or a present day Missouri River valley segment. Each detailed essay illustrates and discusses detailed topographic map evidence describing the evolution of a secondary drainage divide separating specified Missouri River tributary valleys.

  • The Missouri River drainage basin research project introduces a new regional geomorphology paradigm. An essay titled “About the ‘thick ice sheet that melted fast’ geomorphology paradigm” provides a brief introduction to the new paradigm and how the new paradigm emerged. Detailed evidence illustrated and discussed in the Missouri River drainage basin research project builds a strong case for (1) deep glacial erosion of the North American continent by a thick North American ice sheet that created and occupied a deep “hole”, (2) rapid melting of that thick North American ice sheet, (3) immense floods of south-oriented melt water, (4) headward erosion of deep east, northeast and north-oriented valley systems to capture the south-oriented melt water floods and to divert the melt water further and further northeast into space the ice sheet had once occupied, (5) deep flood water erosion of the North American continent surface, and (6) crustal warping that resulted in uplift of mountain ranges as flood waters were deeply eroding what are now high mountain regions. This interpretation is fundamentally different from most previous interpretations. The Missouri River drainage basin between Sioux City, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri landform origins evidence in this overview essay and its related detailed essays is presented for review and discussion by qualified research geomorphologists and geologists.

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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