Glacial erratic

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Glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.
Glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.

Glacial erratic is a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.

"Erratics" take their name from the Latin word errare, and are carried by glacial ice, often over distances of hundreds of kilometres.

Erratics can range in size from pebbles to large boulders such as Big Rock (16,500 tons) in Alberta.

The term “erratic” is commonly used to refer to erratic blocks, which Geikie describes as: “are large masses of rock, often as big as a house, what have been transport by glacier-ice, and have been lodged in a prominent position in the glacier valleys or have been scattered over hills and plains. And examination of their mineralogical character leads the identification of their sources…”.

In geology, an erratic is material moved by geologic forces from one location to another, usually by a glacier.

Erratics are formed by glacial ice erosion resulting from the movement of ice. Glaciers erode by multiple processes: abrasion/scouring, plucking, ice thrusting and glacially-induced spalling. Glaciers crack pieces of bedrock off in the process of plucking, producing the larger erratics.

In an abrasion process, debris in the basal ice scrapes along the bed, polishing and gouging the underlying rocks, similar to sandpaper on wood, producing smaller glacial till. In ice thrusting, the glacier freezes to its bed, then as it surges forward, it moves large sheets of frozen sediment at the base along with the glacier. Glacially-induced spalling occurs when ice lens formation with the rocks below the glacier spall off layers of rock, providing smaller debris which is ground into the glacial basal material to become till.

Also See


Reference

  1. Royal Alberta Museum Airdrie erratic [1]
  2. Wikipedia Glacial erratic [2]

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