A group of GEG-105 students visited Glacial Lakes State Park in west-central Minnesota this week. The park showcases some lovely glacial depositional landforms–kames, kettles, and eskers–all created when the last glacier of the Pleistocene Ice Age retreated about 11,000 years ago.
Gustavus students sit on a boulder left by a retreating glacier thousands of years ago. The students are atop an esker, a long, snake-like hill created from sediment that once filled a channel through the glacial ice.
The park is situated on the Alexandria moraine, which at one time was the edge of the Wadena ice lobe. Sediment and rocks transported by the glacier were deposited here as the ice melted and retreated. Today the glacial ice is gone but much of the deposited "glacial till" remains and creates the hummocky terrain typical of a kame and kettle complex. Kames are conical-shaped hills that once were sediment-filled depressions on stagnant ice. Kettles, which often containing lakes, were created by sediment-covered blocks of glacial ice that melted and left a depression.