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The exposed and abandoned Teays Valley has been recognized and studied in south-central Ohio for a century and a half. By 1900, the upper reaches had been traced by bedrock strath up present deeper drainages through West Virginia into Virginia. By 1945, the 1.5-mi-wide main valley had been traced downstream by water/oil wells, under several glacial drifts, northward and westward from Chillicothe, Ohio, to Indiana. The average gradient in this reach is northwest 0.9 ft/mi. Horberg and others carried this valley westward to the Mahomet buried drainage of Illinois.

Discontinuities such as in Madison County, Ohio, have been explored by geophysical profiles and test wells and show a marked narrowing into a canyon cut through resistant dolomites. As late as the 1970s, the largest tributary, which drains most of eastern Kentucky northward and on either side of Cincinnati, has been added.

More and more basal floodplain sands/gravels and northward-inclined crossbeds are found in all these meandering valleys beyond the glacial limit. Near the limit these deposits are covered with lacustrine clay rhythmites, which grade to silty and then into sandy outwash containing glacially derived northern clasts. Clearly, glaciation dammed the valley system westward out of Ohio. This blockage was early Pleistocene, certainly pre-Illinoian, because clays are magnetically reversed. Other blockages took place southwestward from Cincinnati at a later date. The exposed Minford Clays in southcentral Ohio and western West Virginia must have filled to near the present 900-ft contour, because the former, dendritic Teays drainage is criss-crossed by an aimless, superimposed drainage that postdates the Deep Stage.

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