Use of Wyoming Southern Bighorn Mountains Topographic Map Evidence to Test a Recently Proposed Regional Geomorphology Paradigm: USA

  •  Eric Clausen    


Detailed topographic maps covering a high elevation Bighorn-Powder River drainage divide segment in the southern Bighorn Mountains are used to test a recently proposed regional geomorphology paradigm. Fundamentally different from the commonly accepted paradigm the new paradigm predicts immense south-oriented continental ice sheet melt water floods once flowed across what is now the entire Missouri River drainage basin, in which the high Bighorn Mountains are located. Such a possibility is incompatible with commonly accepted paradigm expectations and previous investigators have interpreted Bighorn Mountains geomorphic history quite differently. The paradigm test began in the high glaciated Bighorn Mountains core area where numerous passes, or divide crossings, indicate multiple and sometimes closely spaced streams of water once flowed across what is now the Bighorn-Powder River drainage divide. To the south of the glaciated area, but still in a Precambrian bedrock region, the test found the roughly adjacent and parallel south-oriented North Fork Powder River and Canyon Creek headwaters located on opposite sides of the Bighorn-Powder River drainage divide with North Fork Powder River headwaters closely linked to a 300-meter deep pass through which south-oriented water had probably flowed. Shallower divide crossings located further to the south suggest diverging and converging streams of water once flowed not only across the Bighorn-Powder River drainage divide, but also across Powder River and Bighorn River tributary drainage divides. The paradigm test also found published geologic maps and reports showing the presence of possible flood transported and deposited alluvium. While unable to determine the water source, the new paradigm test did find evidence that large south-oriented floods had crossed what was probably a rising Bighorn Mountains mountain range.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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