Glacial deposition landforms

Drumlins and erratics

Unlike river deposits that are often sorted into different sizes, all glacial deposits are angular and mixed up (unsorted). The extreme of this can be seen in erratics. These are large rocks or boulders that are often found on their own, rather than in piles. They are unusual shapes, unusually large and of a rock type uncommon to the area they have been dumped, eg the Norber erratic.

An erratic in the centre of a field
An erratic

Drumlins are elongated hills of glacial deposits. They can be 1 km long and 500 m wide, often occurring in groups. A group of drumlins is called a drumlin swarm or a basket of eggs, eg Vale of Eden.

The Vale of Eden in the Lake District
Vale of Eden in the Lake District

These would have been part of the debris that was carried along and then accumulated under the ancient glacier. The long axis of the drumlin indicates the direction in which the glacier was moving. The drumlin would have been deposited when the glacier became overloaded with sediment. However, glaciologists still disagree as to exactly how drumlins were formed.

Formation of a drumlin