Interpreting Topographic Map Evidence Related to Northeast Nebraska Barbed Tributaries and Drainage Routes, USA

  •  Eric Clausen    


Northeast Nebraska barbed tributaries include north-oriented streams flowing to the south-oriented Missouri River and south-oriented streams flowing to the north-oriented Missouri River tributaries. Detailed topographic maps were used to determine how these northeast Nebraska drainage routes originated. A giant south-oriented supra-glacial melt water river is interpreted to have sliced an ice-walled and bedrock-floored canyon into a decaying ice sheet’s surface where eastern South Dakota’s east-facing Missouri Escarpment and west-facing Prairie Coteau escarpment are now located and to have flowed from that canyon’s mouth across northeast Nebraska while South Dakota’s north-facing Pine Ridge Escarpment is interpreted to be the south wall of a large east-oriented valley that was eroded headward across immense southeast-oriented ice-marginal melt water floods which had originally flowed across northeast Nebraska. Prior to Missouri River valley headward erosion these two different immense melt water floods created and then flowed across a low relief and low gradient northeast Nebraska topographic surface. Present day northeast Nebraska topography developed when the deep south-oriented Missouri River valley and its south-oriented tributary valleys eroded headward into this low relief and low gradient topographic surface. As the deep Missouri River valley eroded headward it beheaded shallow south-oriented flood flow channels supplying water to new and actively eroding south-oriented Missouri River tributary valleys and water on north ends of the beheaded channels reversed flow direction to move toward the much deeper Missouri River valley. Water still moving in south directions adjacent to these reversed flow channels was then captured leading to development of south-oriented tributaries to the north-oriented streams.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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