Universal Journal of Geoscience Vol. 7(2), pp. 56 - 67
DOI: 10.13189/ujg.2019.070202
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Topographic Map Interpretation of Bighorn River-Wind River Drainage Divide Located East of Wyoming's Wind River Canyon, USA

Eric Clausen *
Independent Researcher, United States


Detailed topographic map evidence is used to test the ability of two fundamentally different regional geomorphology paradigms to explain Bighorn-Wind River drainage divide evidence in the Copper and Lysite Mountain areas between Wind River Canyon and the Bighorn Mountains. Identified divide crossings were interpreted to be places where water had once flowed across what is now a major drainage divide. More than 20 such divide crossings were identified and ranged in elevation from 1924 to 2485 meters and could all be linked to north-oriented Bighorn River tributaries and also to south-oriented streams flowing to west-oriented Badwater Creek (a Wind River tributary). Lowest elevation divide crossings were located to the north of both Copper Mountain and Lysite Mountain. An attempt was first made to explain each identified divide crossing or group of divide crossings from the accepted paradigm's perspective, which requires drainage routes to have originated on the surface of a hypothesized Oligocene and Miocene sediment cover that buried the drainage divide area with the drainage routes eroding down through the sediment cover as the drainage divide was exhumed. Next the same evidence was interpreted from a recently proposed paradigm's perspective, which requires massive south- and southeast-oriented floods to have flowed across the Missouri River drainage basin as mountain ranges and plateau areas were being uplifted. The accepted paradigm could not easily explain the large number of observed divide crossings, many divide crossing details, and why geologic maps show few or no hypothesized sediment cover remnants. The new paradigm explained the large number of observed divide crossing and most observed divide crossing details and did not require an Oligocene and Miocene sedimentary cover.

Birdseye Pass, Copper Mountain, Drainage Divide Crossing, Lysite Mountain, Paradigm Comparison, Regional Geomorphology Paradigm, Sioux Pass

Cite this paper
Eric Clausen . "Topographic Map Interpretation of Bighorn River-Wind River Drainage Divide Located East of Wyoming's Wind River Canyon, USA." Universal Journal of Geoscience 7.2 (2019) 56 - 67. doi: 10.13189/ujg.2019.070202.