Saturday, February 16, 2013

Glacial Erratics: Gifts from the last Ice Age

A glacial erratic at Independence Oaks County Park in Oakland County, Michigan
photo by Jonathan Schechter  Feb/2013

You might call them landscape boulders.  But the proper name of these beautiful,
 often multi-colored boulders of ancient rock ripped from the Canadian Shield and 
carried south by the last great glacier some 11,000 years  ago is glacial erratic.  
Definition of glacial erratic:   A glacial erratic is a boulder transported and deposited
 by a glacier  having a lithology different than the bedrock upon which it is sitting.

I look at one particular glacial erratic as a friend, a very old friend. It is found along
 the  Lakeshore Trail of Independence Oaks County Park  in Oakland County, Michigan 
just six miles from my house.  I always stop to admire the boulder when hiking or 
cross country skiing the trail.  And this slab of glacial history and geology serves as
 a reminder of the ability of nature to  adapt to harsh environments; for even
 in winter  one can see primitive lichens and mosses that have  establish a foothold.



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