Using topographic map interpretation methods to determine Tookany (Tacony) Creek erosion history upstream from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

  •  Eric Clausen    


Topographic map interpretation methods are used to determine erosional landform origins in and adjacent to the Tookany (Tacony) Creek drainage basin, located upstream from and adjacent to Philadelphia, PA. Five wind gaps notched into the Tookany-Wissahickon Creek drainage divide (which is also the Delaware-Schuylkill River drainage divide), a deep through valley crossing the Tookany-Pennypack Creek drainage divide, a Tookany Creek elbow of capture, orientations of Tookany Creek tributary valleys, a narrow valley carved in erosion resistant metamorphic bedrock, and the relationship of a major Tookany Creek direction change with a Pennypack Creek elbow of capture and a Pennypack Creek barbed tributary are used along with other evidence to reconstruct how a deep south oriented Tookany Creek valley eroded headward across massive southwest oriented flood flow. The flood flow origin cannot be determined from Tookany Creek drainage basin evidence, but may have been derived from a melting continental ice sheet, and originally flowed across the Tookany Creek drainage basin region on a low gradient topographic surface equivalent in elevation to or higher than the highest present day Tookany Creek drainage divide elevations with the water flowing in a complex of shallow diverging and converging channels that had formed by scouring of less resistant bedrock units and zones. William Morris Davis, sometimes referred to as the father of North American geomorphology, spent much of his boyhood and several years as a young man living in the Tookany Creek drainage basin and all landforms discussed here were within walking distance of his home and can be identified on a topographic map published while he was developing and promoting his erosion cycle ideas. Davis never published about Tookany Creek drainage basin erosion history, but he developed and promoted uniformitarian and erosion cycle models that failed to recognize the significance of Tookany Creek drainage basin erosional landform features providing evidence of the immense floods that once crossed present day drainage divides and eroded the Tookany Creek drainage basin.

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

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