Discussion from McGrain and Currens (1978)

McCracken County is in the northern part of the Mississippi Embayment Region of western Kentucky. The Ohio River marks the northern boundary of the county, and the lowest elevations are found here. Normal pool elevation of the Ohio at Paducah on the upstream side of navigation dam No. 52 is 302 feet; the normal pool elevation below the dam is 290 feet, the lowest elevation in the county.

Topographically, McCracken County is a gently rolling plain. The surface of the upland is rolling, but large areas of level land are present between some of the streams and their headwaters, particularly in the western part of the county. Large areas of nearly level land also occur along the floodplains of the Ohio, Tennessee, and Clarks Rivers.

Highest elevations in the county are found along the Tennessee Valley divide near St. Johns in the southern part of the county, where ridgetops have elevations of 500 feet. Other high elevations are present in the uplands between Mayfield Creek and West Fork of Massac Creek in the southwestern part of the county, where ridges and knolls attain elevations of 490 feet, and near the headwaters of Massac Creek, where similar elevations occur. Greatest local reliefs occur in the vicinity of the Clarks River and Mayfield Creek, where hills commonly rise 100 feet or more above the broad valley flats. There are no bluffs on the McCracken County shore of the Ohio River.

The elevation of Paducah, at the courthouse, is 341 feet. Other elevations are Barkley Field, 400 feet; Freemont, 367 feet; Future City, 405 feet; Hardmoney, 350 feet; Heath, 385 feet; Krebs, 363 feet; Lone Oak, 475 feet; Melber, 375 feet; and Reidland, 400 feet.

The 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle maps that cover McCracken County are shown, by name and by index code (Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet) on the index map.

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