Evolution of the Vermont Drainage Network

Introduction: This essay briefly describes the evolution of the Vermont drainage routes using the “thick ice sheet that melted fast” paradigm developed during the Missouri River drainage basin landform origins research project. Topographic map evidence from which this essay’s interpretations were made is not included here. Detailed topographic map evidence for the Missouri River drainage basin west of the Mississippi River used to develop the fundamentally new geomorphology paradigm is illustrated and discussed in the hundreds of published Missouri River drainage basin landforms origins research project essays (or research notes) on this website’s sidebar. Each essay illustrates and discusses detailed topographic map evidence for a specified Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide area. When completed the essay series will illustrate and describe evidence for all Missouri River drainage basin drainage divide areas.

 

Connecticut River Tributaries:

Deerfield River: The Deerfield River originates in south central Vermont and flows south and east into Massachusetts where it joins the Connecticut River a few miles south of Greenfield, MA. The East Branch is linked by a southeast-oriented through valley to the main Deerfield River valley south of Wilmington, VT. The West Branch is linked by a south-oriented through valley that extends from the main Deerfield River valley at Searsburg, VT south to Heartsville, VT. At Heartsville the through valley splits with the Deerfield River West Branch flowing along the southeast branch while the North Branch of the Hoosic River flows in the southwest branch, indicating that both the Deerfield and Hoosic drainage networks evolved during an immense flood event that eroded a large-scale anastomosing complex of deep valleys in southern Vermont and western Massachusetts.

Flood flow that eroded the Deerfield River drainage network headward had to come from the northwest. Today the source area is northwest of the deep Batten Kill Valley suggesting headward erosion of that valley northward from the Walloomsic Valley near Bennington, VT was responsible for beheading the southeast oriented flood flow moving across a now removed high level surface into what is today the Deerfield River drainage basin. Beheading of that southeast-oriented flood flow stopped erosion of the Deerfield River drainage network and the landscape today is essentially unchanged from that time with the exceptions of relatively minor glacial fluvial sediment deposits and features caused by human impact.

Note how southeast-oriented West Branch Deerfield River is linked by high-level through valley to northwest-oriented City Stream-Stamford Stream flowing through Dunnville Hollow to the northwest-oriented Walloomsic River at Bennington.  Also note how the East Branch Deerfield River is linked by high-level through valleys to northwest-oriented Lye Brook and Bourn Brook both flowing to Batten Kill near Manchester along an alignment that continues northwest along the through valley drained by the northwest-oriented Mettawee River, suggesting flood water first moved southeast to the Deerfield River drainage and then was captured by headward erosion of the deep Batten Kill and Mettawee valleys and finally was reversed by opening up of north-oriented drainage to form the present-day north-oriented Otter Creek and northwest-oriented Mettawee River.

Green River: The Green River with headwaters near Harrisville, VT eroded its drainage network north and east from the Connecticut River Valley just south of Greenfield, MA and cut off southward flow into the Deerfield River East Branch drainage basin. The Green River is also linked by through valleys to the north-oriented Marlboro Branch of the West River—indicating that West River headward erosion cut off and reversed flood flow moving south into the Green River drainage basin and ended Green River drainage basin erosion.

Fall River: The Fall River begins just north of the Vermont border and flows south in a north to south oriented through valley to join the Connecticut River just east of Greenfield, MA. The north end of the north to south oriented through valley is drained by a north oriented Broad Brook tributary that joins the Connecticut River just south of Brattleboro, VT. The north to south oriented through valley is west of the Connecticut River Valley and provides a parallel valley that indicates the Connecticut Valley was eroded as one of several channels in what must have been a large-scale flood formed anastomosing channel complex.

West River: The West River flows in a southeast direction and joins the Connecticut River just north of Brattleboro, VT.  Tributaries flowing south to the eastern West River Valley are linked by through valleys to north oriented Saxtons River tributaries indicating that headward erosion of the Saxtons River Valley beheaded south-oriented flow to the eastern half of the West River drainage basin. For example, south-oriented Grassy Brook flowing to the West River is linked by a through valley at Hedgehog Gulf to the north-oriented Bull Creek flowing to Saxtons River and the south-oriented Turkey Mountain Brook is linked by through valleys to the Saxtons River headwaters.

Floodwaters that eroded the western West River drainage network appear to have come from northwest of the Green Mountains using what are today through valleys linking the northwest oriented Mill River (flowing to Otter Creek near Rutland) with the southeast-oriented West River headwaters.  Had this Mill River through valley been eroded deeper across the Green Mountains there might have been a reversal of flow in the western West River drainage system to create a drainage basin similar to the Winooski, Lamoille, and Missisquoi beginning east of the Green Mountains and flowing west across the mountains.

Saxtons River: Saxtons River flows in a southeast direction and joins the Connecticut River at Bellows Falls, VT. Tributaries from the south are linked by through valleys to south-flowing West River tributaries indicating that headward erosion of the Saxtons River Valley beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow moving to the eastern half of the West River drainage basin. Saxtons River tributaries from the north are linked by through valleys to north-oriented tributaries flowing to the Williams River indicating that headward erosion of the Williams River Valley beheaded and reversed south-oriented flood flow moving to the Saxtons River drainage basin. This is a case of progressive development of a tributary system as a south-oriented flood eroded the Connecticut River drainage network headward.

Williams River: Williams River flows in a southeast direction and joins the Connecticut about five miles upstream from Bellows Falls, VT. North-oriented Williams River tributaries are linked by through valleys to south-oriented Saxtons River tributaries and headwaters indicating Williams River headward erosion captured south-oriented flood flow moving into the Saxtons River drainage basin. Williams River headwaters in the north are linked by deep through valleys with the Black River Valley indicating the headward erosion of the Black River Valley beheaded and captured flood flow moving into the Williams River drainage basin. In fact, the Duttonsville Gulf through valley provides a low gradient link between the two river valleys that the former Rutland Railroad used that route for its main line rather than continue southeast along the Black River Valley. Upstream from Duttonsville Gulf the Black River drainage basin probably evolved originally as the upper Williams River drainage before its capture by headward erosion of the Black River Valley.

Black River: The Black River is an east and southeast-oriented drainage system that empties into the Connecticut River a few miles downstream from Springfield, VT (on the Black River). Headward erosion of the deep Black River Valley beheaded and captured southeast-oriented flow in the evolving Williams River drainage network upstream from Duttonsville Gulf just south of Cavendish, VT. As a result the Black River drainage network upstream from Cavendish probably originated as part of anastomosing flood flow using multiple channels southeast of Cavendish, with the Black River channel ultimately succeeding in capturing all of the flow. South-oriented Black River tributaries are linked by through valleys to tributaries flowing to the Ottauquechee River to the north, indicating that headward erosion of the Ottauquechee River Valley beheaded and captured south-oriented flood flow moving into the Black River drainage basin.

A through valley also links the Black River headwaters with the northwest-oriented Mill River flowing into north-oriented Otter Creek near Rutland, VT. Otter Creek eventually flows into Lake Champlain while east of Rutland is a through valley extending to the southern Lake Champlain basin now drained by east and northeast-oriented Castleton River –Mettawee River drainage system.  This evidence suggests that flood water that carved the Black River drainage basin also came from west of the present-day Green Mountain crest and flowed across a high-level topographic surface (now removed) that existed where the present-day deep Otter Creek Valley and Lake Champlain basins now exist. Headward erosion of the deep Otter Creek Valley and the deep Lake Champlain basin (probably initially from the south and later reversed to drain north) cut off flood flow from the east and northeast and left the Black River drainage basin as it is now. Had the flood flow from the west and northwest continued into the Black River drainage until the flood flow reserved direction to flow north, a deeper valley across the Green Mountains might have been eroded, perhaps deep enough that when the drainage reversal took place the upper Black River drainage might have also been reversed to flow east and northeast in a manner similar to what happened with the Winooski River further north. However, the Mill River-Black River through valley was not eroded deep enough to permit such a reversal so the present-day drainage divide is the Green Mountain crest, although the through valley does provide an important transportation used by both rail and highway.

Ottauquechee River: The Ottauquechee River drains an east and southeast-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River near North Hartland, VT. North-oriented Ottauquechee tributaries are linked by through valleys to south-oriented Black River tributaries indicating that headward erosion of the deep Ottauquechee River Valley beheaded and captured south-oriented flood flow moving into the Black River drainage basin. South-oriented Ottauquechee River tributaries are linked by through valleys to north-oriented White River (and Winooski River) tributaries indicating that headward erosion of the deep White River and related Winooski River valleys beheaded and captured south-oriented flood flow moving into the Ottauquechee River drainage basin.

White River: The White River drains a southeast-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River at White River Junction, VT.  North-oriented White River tributaries are linked by through valleys to south-oriented Ottauquechee River tributaries. In the eastern White River drainage basin south-oriented White River tributaries are linked by high-level through valleys to tributaries flowing to the West Branch of the Ompompanoosuc River suggesting south-oriented flood flow moving parallel to the Connecticut River alignment into the eastern White River drainage was beheaded and captured by headward erosion of the Ompompanoosuc and West Branch Ompompanoosuc River valley system. Much deeper through valleys link headwaters of major White River tributaries with headwaters of major north and northwest-oriented Winooski River tributaries suggesting that much of the flood water that carved the deep White River drainage system valleys came from the Winooski River drainage basin. This southeast-oriented flood flow must have subsequently been reversed to flow northwest across the Green Mountains to Lake Champlain. This reversal could only have occurred if the deep valley across the Green Mountains had already been eroded by southeast-oriented flood water moving from the Lake Champlain area to the headward eroding Connecticut River-White River drainage system. Further, present-day Winooski River northwest-oriented gradients can only be explained if following the Winooski River reversal massive amounts of flood water continued to move south, east of the Green Mountains, into the Winooski River drainage basin so as to further deepen the Winooski River Valley. Today, the White River-Winooski River through valley system provides a low-level major transportation route used by both railroad and highway traffic that cuts across the Green Mountains.

Ompompanoosuc River: The Ompompanoosuc River is a relatively small southeast-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River drainage basin about ten miles upstream from White River Junction, VT. The Ompompanoosuc drainage network is linked by high-level through valleys to adjacent drainage basins indicating that floodwaters moving parallel to the Connecticut River alignment were beheaded and captured by Ompompanoosuc River headward erosion and subsequently cut off by headward erosion of up-flood drainage networks.

Waits River: The Waits River is a relatively small southeast-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River drainage basin near Bradford, VT. The Waits River drainage network is linked by high-level through valleys to Winooski River headwaters indicating that floodwaters moving southeast to the evolving Connecticut River Valley were beheaded and captured by a deepening of the Winooski-White River through valley network and subsequently by the Winooski River reversal.

Wells River: The Wells River is a relatively small southeast-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River drainage basin near Wells River, VT. The Wells River drainage network is linked by a well-defined through valleys to Winooski River headwaters that are also linked to Lamoille River headwaters indicating that floodwaters moving southeast to the evolving Connecticut River Valley from east of the Green Mountains were beheaded and captured by events in the Winooski River and the Lamoille River in those drainage basins, including the reversals of flow through the deep Green Mountain valleys.

Passumpsic River: The Passumpsic River drains a south-oriented drainage basin that empties into the Connecticut River south of St. Johnsbury, VT at a place where the southwest-flowing Connecticut River turns to flow south. As the northward extension of the downstream Connecticut River south-orientation the Passumpsic might be considered to have eroded north along the true Connecticut River alignment and may lead to the source area of the south-oriented floods that eroded the south-oriented Connecticut River Valley.  As such each of the major Passumpsic tributaries will be looked at separately.

Moose River: the Moose River flows in a south and then west-oriented direction to reach the south-oriented Passumpsic River at St. Johnsbury. Headward erosion of the Moose River valley beheaded and captured southeast-oriented flood flow to the southwest-oriented Connecticut River Valley as indicated by through valleys linking headwaters of southeast-oriented Connecticut River tributaries (such as Jones Brook, Catbow Brook, Miles Stream, Halls Brook, and Chandler Brook) with the Moose River Valley. South-oriented flood flow to the Moose River was beheaded by headward erosion of the Nulhegan River drainage basin and southeast-oriented flood flow to the Moose River drainage basin was beheaded by headward erosion of the Passumpsic River East Branch.

East Branch Passumpsic River: The East Branch Passumpsic River flows in a generally south direction from just south of Island Pond, VT to where it joins the West Branch Passumpsic River. Headward erosion of the East Branch Passumpsic River Valley did capture southeast-oriented flood flow moving to the Moose River drainage basin, but far more significant is the through valley connecting the south-oriented East Branch Passumpsic River headwaters with the northwest-oriented Clyde River near the point where southeast-south-oriented Pherrins River joins the Clyde River just east of Island Pond. This evidence suggests the Clyde River today represents a reversal of flow on one of several south-oriented flood routes that supplied water to the evolving East Branch Passumpsic River drainage system. Reversal of flow on the Clyde River route captured the Pherrins River flow and probably occurred when southward flow through the Lake Memphremagog basin was reversed to flow north to the St. Francis River flowing to the St. Lawrence.

West Branch Passumpsic River:  The West Branch of the Passumpsic River flows in a roughly south-oriented direction to its confluence with the East Branch. Most notable is the deep through valley that connects headwaters of the West Branch and Lake Willoughby, which serves as the headwaters of the Willoughby River that flows in a northwest direction to join the north-oriented Barton River flowing to Lake Memphremagog. This through valley indicates floodwaters moved south through the Lake Memphremagog drainage basin and eroded the West Branch Passumpsic River-Lake Willoughby through valley before being reversed to flow north. The West Branch Passumpsic River headwaters are at a higher elevation than Lake Willoughby suggesting that for a time the reversed flood water may have gone north along the West Branch Passumpsic River Valley to erode the deeper Lake Willoughby basin southward before floodwaters were completely beheaded.

Sutton River: Sutton River flows southeast in a well-defined deep valley to join the West Branch Passumpsic River. Sutton River headwaters begin in the through valley near Crystal Lake, also in the through valley, which drains northwest to the north-oriented Barton River flowing to Lake Memphremagog. Again, flood water moved south through the Lake Memphremagog basin along the Barton River-Crystal Lake-Sutton River through valley before being reversed when headward erosion of the north-oriented St. Francis River reversed flow in the present-day Lake Memphremagog drainage basin. Again this reversal may have been gradual so some flood water was able to circulate around and flow north through the Sutton River valley to erode the step between Sutton River headwaters and Crystal Lake.

Miller Run: Miller Run flows in a southeast direction to join the Passumpsic River near Lyndonville, VT. The southeast-oriented through valley is linked to the north-oriented Barton River and must have been used by south-oriented flood water prior to the Barton River reversal to flow north.

Nulhegan River: The Nulhegan River begins in a well-defined northwest southeast oriented through valley at Spectacle Pond, just east of Island Pond (drained by the northwest-oriented Clyde River to Lake Memphremagog) and flows in a southeast direction to join the Connecticut River at Bloomfield, VT. The Nulhegan River-Clyde River through valley in the Island Pond area suggests flood water first moved southeast through the region to the evolving Connecticut River Valley and then was subsequently reversed to create the present-day Saint Lawrence-Connecticut River drainage divide located between Island Pond and Spectacle Pond. This reversal took place when the north-oriented St. Francis River segment reversed direction to flow into the Saint Lawrence River and captured southeast-oriented flood water moving through the Sherbrooke, QB area into the Lake Memphremagog basin and then south and southeast to the evolving Nulhegan, Passumpsic and Connecticut Rivers.

Hudson River Tributaries:

Hoosic River: The Hoosic River flows north in western Massachusetts to North Adams where it turns northwest to flow across the southwest corner of Vermont before entering New York State and turning west and southwest to join the south-oriented Hudson River. To the south, a through valley provides a link between the north-oriented Hoosic River drainage basin and the south-oriented Housatonic River drainage basin suggesting that the Hoosic River drainage basin was carved by south-oriented flood water that was subsequently captured and reversed to flow north by headward erosion of the deep Hudson River Valley. The south-oriented North Branch of the Hoosic River is linked by a through valley to the south-oriented Deerfield River Valley on the east side of the Green Mountains suggesting that flood water responsible for initiating the Hoosic River drainage network came south from both east and west of the Green Mountains and perhaps also from along the Green Mountain crest (at least until the flood waters had eroded the landscape sufficiently to the east and west to create the landscape features visible today).

Walloomsic River: The primary Hoosic River tributary draining southeast Vermont is the Walloomsic River that begins along the Green Mountain crest as a south-flowing stream, but that turns west and northwest near Bennington, VT to join the Hoosic River downstream from Hoosic Falls, NY. North-oriented tributaries flowing into the Walloomsic near Bennington are linked by through valleys to south-oriented Hoosic River tributaries. A major north south oriented through valley links south-oriented Walloomsic tributaries with north-oriented tributaries to Batten Kill and to Otter Creek further north. Floodwater moving south along this major north south oriented through valley route first went to the Hoosic Valley and then was captured by headward erosion of the Walloomsic River Valley only to be captured again by headward erosion of the Batten Kill Valley and finally to be reversed, so as to drain north to create the present-day Otter Creek.

Batten Kill: Batten Kill flows south from its headwaters in a through valley east of Dorset Mountain with the through valley’s north end drained by the north-oriented Otter Creek.  Near Arlington, VT Batten Kill turns east and northeast to flow in a deep valley through the eastern mountains and to eventually reach the south-oriented Hudson River. North-oriented tributaries join the east-oriented Batten Kill near Arlington and are linked by a deep north south oriented through valley with south-oriented tributaries flowing to the Walloomsic River near Bennington. This evidence suggests floodwaters that carved the deep north-south through valley connecting the Otter Creek, Batten Kill, and Walloomsic River systems originally flowed south and the valley was formed by headward erosion resulting from that south oriented water flow. Originally that south-oriented flood flow went to the Hoosic River drainage and then south to the Housatonic River drainage basin. However the south-oriented flood water was captured and reversed by headward erosion of the deep Hudson-Hoosic Valley, then by headward erosion of the Walloomsic Valley, next by headward erosion of the Hudson-Batten Kill Valley, and finally reversed when flood water moving south through the Lake Champlain basin was reversed to flow north creating the north-oriented Otter Creek drainage basin.

Lake Champlain Tributaries:

 

Mettawee River: The Mettawee River begins as a south-oriented drainage on Dorset Mountain and then makes a U-turn and flows in a northwest direction to the Lake Champlain basin. The U-turn is made in a southeast northwest oriented through valley linking the Batten Kill headwaters with the Lake Champlain basin. The West Branch Batten Kill drains the southeast end of the through valley in a southeast direction to the south-oriented Batten Kill Valley near Manchester, VT. The northwest southeast oriented through valley was apparently eroded by south-oriented flood water coming from the Lake Champlain basin and then moving south through the Batten Kill-Walloomsic through valley. The fact that the Mettawee River begins on the high south slope of Dorset Mountain suggests floodwaters eroded the regional landscape from a high-level topographic surface at least equivalent to the present-day Dorset Mountain level. If so, the floodwaters lowered the landscape to the north and west to produce the present-day Lake Champlain lowland.

Poultney River: Today is a northwest-oriented drainage flowing to the Lake Champlain lowland and is linked by through valleys to the Mettawee River system, the Castleton River system, and the Otter Creek Valley network. Probably began as a south and southeast-oriented flood flow route and was reversed and deepened by a series of captures to flow north when flood flow in the Lake Champlain lowland reversed flow direction to go north. The Poultney River region is honeycombed with through valleys indicating a complex series of reversal steps but also difficult to explain by any other mechanism.

Castleton River: The Castleton River begins as a south-southeast oriented river in Whipple Hollow and then makes a sharp turn to flow west in a through valley connecting the north-oriented Otter Creek Valley with the north-oriented Lake Champlain lowland and basin to the west. The north end of Whipple Hollow is connected by through valleys with the north-oriented Otter Creek Valley suggesting that both valleys were eroded by vast quantities of south-oriented flood water and that floodwaters also moved east along the deep through valley now used by the Castleton River connecting the Lake Champlain lowland with the north-oriented Otter Creek Valley at Rutland. The south-southeast oriented Castleton River headwaters in Whipple Hollow then represent remnant of the original drainage direction while the west-oriented Castleton River segment probably originated as an east-oriented flood route. Reversal of flow to produce the west-oriented Castleton River segment probably occurred when flood flow in the Lake Champlain reversed direction to go north.

Otter Creek: Today Otter Creek drains the north end of a north south through valley that stretches from near Vergennes, VT in the north to the southern Vermont border in the south. The Walloomsic River and Batten Kill drain more southern segments of the western Vermont north south through valley. The through valley was eroded by south-oriented flood water and reversed flow on the north end to create the north-oriented Otter Creek drainage network occurred late in the valley’s erosional history when south-oriented floodwaters in the Lake Champlain basin reversed direction and began to flow north.

Mill River: Mill River begins near the Green Mountain crest and flows in a northwest direction to join the north-flowing Otter Creek near Rutland, VT.  The headwaters are linked by a high-level through valley with the southeast-oriented West River headwaters flowing to the south-oriented Connecticut River. A major west-oriented Mill River tributary is linked by a high-level through valley (used by the former Rutland Railroad) with the east and southeast-oriented Black River also flowing to the Connecticut River. This evidence strongly suggests that the Mill River alignment was first used by southeast and east-oriented floodwaters coming from west and northwest of the Green Mountain crest (meaning at that time the area to the west and northwest was topographic higher than the present-day Green Mountain crest). Headward erosion of what must have been the deep south-oriented Otter Creek – Walloomsic through valley captured southeast-oriented flow that was going over the Green Mountain crest along the Mill River route to the developing West and Black River drainage basins and diverted that flow directly south to the Hoosic and Housatonic River basins and later to the Walloomsic-Hoosic-Hudson River route.  That diversion caused to Mill River to reverse flow direction. Still later reversal of flow in the Lake Champlain basin reversed flow in the Otter Creek Valley and also captured and reversed in the Castleton River Valley.

New Haven River: The New Haven River begins as a northwest-oriented drainage basin in the Green Mountains but at Bristol, VT where it enters the Lake Champlain lowland it turns to become a southwest-oriented stream before entering the north-oriented Otter Creek to flow to Lake Champlain. The northwest-oriented segment probably originated as a southeast-oriented flood route that was reversed when the Lake Champlain lowland was created by headward erosion by the south-oriented flood water. The north-oriented Otter Creek was formed as a reversal of the south-oriented flood flow when flood flow in the Lake Champlain basin ceased to flow south and began to flow north.

Winooski River: The Winooski River begins east of the Green Mountains and flows in a generally northwest direction through a deep valley cut across the Green Mountains to Lake Champlain. Winooski River headwaters in the southeast are linked by deep through valleys to southeast-oriented White River and other Connecticut River headwaters. The White River – Winooski River provides one of the best east-west transportation routes across Vermont and is used by the former Central Vermont Railroad and modern Interstate highways. The Winooski water gap through the Green Mountains originated as a southeast-oriented flood flow route moving flood water from west of the Green Mountains (on a topographic surface at least equivalent to the crest of the present-day Green Mountains) to the evolving Connecticut River Valley. This southeast flood flow began to reverse when the Lake Champlain basin was lowered faster than the southeast-oriented flood flow could cut the Winooski-White River valley system. When the reversal began flood water moving south-east of the Green Mountain crest continued to move from what is now the Lamoille drainage basin to the Winooski drainage basin and the Winooski River Valley was further deepened as the main Winooski eroded northeast towards its present source area near Cabot, VT where it is linked by through valleys to the Lamoille and other northern drainage basins. In time the south flow became concentrated in the through valley linking the Lamoille and Winooski now occupied by the Waterbury River and finally the south flow into the Winooski drainage basin was completely captured by the reversed Lamoille River.

Mad River:  The Mad River flows north in a deep valley along the east side of the Green Mountains to join the Winooski and is linked by a deep through valley at Granville Notch to the south and east-oriented White River Valley. Water originally flowed south along the Mad River Valley into the White River and was reversed to flow north when water flowing through the Winooski water gap (through the Green Mountains) reversed direction to flow northwest.

Dog River: The Dog River flows north in a deep valley to join the Winooski near Montpelier and is linked by a deep through valley at Roxbury to the south-oriented Third Branch of the White River. Water originally flowed south along the Dog River Valley into the White River drainage basin and was reversed to flow north when the Winooski River reversed direction to flow northwest.

Stevens Branch: Stevens Branch flows north in a deep valley to join the Winooski near Barre and is linked by a deep through valley to the south-oriented Second Branch White River. Water originally flowed south along the Stevens Branch Valley into the White River drainage basin and was reversed to flow north when the Winooski River reversed direction to flow northwest.

North Branch: The North Branch of the Winooski River flows south to join the Winooski River at Montpelier and is linked by a through valley to north-oriented drainage to the Lamoille River. Floodwaters moving south through the Lamoille River drainage basin eroded the North Branch Valley and were captured and diverted northwest when the Lamoille River evolved as a northwest-oriented drainage after southeast-oriented flow through the Lamoille water gap (through the Green Mountains) was reversed to become northwest-oriented flow.

Waterbury River: The Waterbury River flows south to join the Winooski east of Waterbury and is linked by a large through valley to north-oriented Ryder Brook flowing to the northwest-oriented Lamoille River. South-oriented flood water moving east of the Green Mountain crest carved the north-south Ryder Brook-Waterbury River through valley with water first going south and east to the Connecticut River Valley, but later captured to flow northwest through the Winooski River water gap through the Green Mountains and finally captured to flow northwest by the reversal of flow through the Lamoille River water gap through the Green Mountains.

Lamoille River: The Lamoille River begins as a south-oriented drainage linked by a through valley to the north-oriented Baron River flowing to Lake Memphremagog. Downstream near Hardwick, the Lamoille turns to become a northwest-oriented drainage route. To the south of the turn a through valley links the Lamoille Valley with Winooski River headwaters and high level through valleys in the turn region link the Lamoille Valley with headwaters of southeast-oriented Connecticut River tributaries. The northwest-oriented Lamoille River has cut a deep water gap through the Green Mountains and flows to Lake Champlain. Through valleys south of the Lamoille link the Lamoille River Valley with the Winooski River and through valleys north of the Lamoille Valley link it in the east with north-oriented Lake Memphremagog drainage routes, further west but east of the Green Mountains with the north-oriented Missisquoi River, and west of the Green Mountains with north-oriented Missisquoi tributaries. Floodwaters from north and west of the Lamoille River drainage basin flowing to the evolving Connecticut River Valley were responsible for initiating the Lamoille River drainage basin landscape and further modified that landscape when southeast flow through the Lamoille River water gap (through the Green Mountains) reversed direction to flow northwest and capture south-oriented floodwaters that had previously moved into the Winooski River drainage network.

Gihon River: The Gihon River flows south-southwest along the east side of the Green Mountains and joins the Lamoille River at Johnson, VT. The Gihon River is linked by through valleys at Eden Notch and between Hadley Mountain and Belvidere Mountain to the north-oriented Missisquoi River that flows north along the east side of the Green Mountains to where the south-oriented North Branch of the Missisquoi joins the main river and the two turn west to flow through the deep Missisquoi water gap through the mountains. The Gihon River Valley was eroded by south-oriented floods that were captured and diverted northwest by the Lamoille River and then were captured and diverted west by the Missisquoi River, causing south-oriented flood flow in what is now the north-oriented Missisquoi River segment to reverse flow direction and flow north (cutting off further flood flow into the Gihon River drainage basin).

North Branch Lamoille River: The North Branch of the Lamoille River flows in a southwest direction to join the west-northwest oriented Lamoille River. The South Branch is linked by a through valley to the north-oriented South Branch of the northwest-oriented Trout River flowing to the west-oriented Missisquoi River. This through valley and others indicate the valley systems were first carved by south-oriented floodwaters and then flow to the South Branch Lamoille River was cut off and reversed when the Missisquoi River captured the flood flow.

Missisquoi River: The Missisquoi River starts near Eden Notch and flows north into Quebec where it is joined by the south-oriented North Branch Missisquoi and then turns west to flow through a deep water gap through the mountains and then turns southwest and finally west to flow to Lake Champlain. The north-flowing headwaters are linked by through valleys to the south-oriented Gihon River flowing to the Lamoille River and represent a reversal of flow from the direction of floodwaters that originally carved the valley. The floodwaters came south along the North Branch Missisquoi Valley route and were captured and diverted west through the water gap when flood flow in the Lake Champlain basin eroded that basin lower than areas east of the Green Mountains. This reversal of flow cut off flood flow to the Lamoille River drainage basin.

Trout River:  Trout River flows northwest from Hazen’s Notch to join the southwest and west oriented Missisquoi River at East Berkshire, VT. The South Branch Trout River flows north from a through valley linking it with the North Branch of the Lamoille River to join Trout River at Montgomery Center. The South Branch is also linked by through valleys with the south-oriented Gihon River flowing also to the Lamoille River on the east side of the Green Mountains. Trout River was originated as a south and southeast oriented flood route that was beheaded and diverted west by headward erosion of the Missisquoi River Valley.

Lake Memphremagog Tributaries:

Clyde River: The Clyde River flows northwest from Island Pond, VT where it is linked by a large through valley with headwaters of the southeast-oriented Nulhegan River flowing to the Connecticut River. A through valley also links the Clyde River headwaters with headwaters of the south-oriented East Passumpsic River Valley. The Clyde River drainage routes were initially carved by south and southeast-oriented flood water moving to the Connecticut River Valley and then south-oriented flood flow was beheaded and reversed when the present-day north-oriented Saint Francis River segment reversed flow direction and diverted the south-oriented flood flow into the Saint Lawrence River creating the present-day north-oriented Lake Memphremagog drainage basin.

Pherrins River: Pherrins River flows south to join the northwest-oriented Clyde River near Island Pond, VT and is linked by a through valley near Norton Pond to the north-oriented Coaticook River flowing to the Saint Francis River. South of the confluence of the south-oriented Pherrins River and the northwest-oriented Clyde River is a north south through valley linking the two north-oriented drainages with the south-oriented East Passumpsic River Valley draining to the Connecticut River Valley. The Pherrins River Valley originated as south-oriented flood flow from Quebec flowed south to the evolving Connecticut River Valley. That flood flow was captured and diverted northwest when flow in the Lake Memphremagog basin reversed direction and began to go north, creating the northwest-oriented Clyde River which captured south-oriented flow moving in the Pherrins River Valley.

Barton River: Barton River flows north to Lake Memphremagog and is linked by a through valley to the south-oriented Lamoille River headwaters. The Barton River Valley was initially carved by south and southeast-oriented flood water moving to the Connecticut River Valley and subsequently captured by the northwest-oriented Lamoille River and then south-oriented flood flow was beheaded and reversed when the present-day north-oriented Saint Francis River segment reversed flow direction and diverted the south-oriented flood flow into the Saint Lawrence River creating the present-day north-oriented Lake Memphremagog drainage basin.

Black River: Black River flows north to Lake Memphremagog and is linked by a through valley to south-oriented Alder Brook that flows to the northwest-oriented Lamoille River near Hardwick, VT. The Black River Valley was initially carved by south and southeast-oriented flood water moving to the Connecticut River Valley and subsequently captured by the northwest-oriented Lamoille River and then south-oriented flood flow was beheaded and reversed when the present-day north-oriented Saint Francis River segment reversed flow direction and diverted the south-oriented flood flow into the Saint Lawrence River creating the present-day north-oriented Lake Memphremagog drainage basin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: