Sculpted By Ice

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jul 25, 2011 3:30 PM
This esker is from the Strange Lake area in Northern Labrador. (Photo courtesy Dept. Natural Resources)

In the August 2011 issue of Downhome, Jim Cornish sheds light on how glaciers helped shape the landscape features found all over Newfoundland and Labrador. Here are four unique formations to keep an eye out for during your travels around the province.

As glaciers melt, streams often tunnel their way under the ice and deposit sediment along the way. When the glaciers completely melt, these sediments form long, sinuous ridges called eskers (see photo, right). Eskers are good sources of sand and gravel, and have been used as transportation routes. They are more recognizable from the air.


As glaciers move, they often pile sediment underneath and along their margins and leading edges. When the glacier melts, these deposits form ridges and are called moraines. They are quite distinct, especially when seen from the air. These moraines in the Ocean Pond area are used to route the TCH and the old railway bed through this part of the central Avalon. (Photo courtesy Dept. Natural Resources)

Ancient Riverbeds

The gravel quarries that exist throughout this province are all cut into sedimentary deposits left directly or indirectly by glaciers. This pit shows layers of sand and well-rounded gravel that were formed in the beds of the meltwater streams and rivers. (Photo courtesy Jim Cornish)

Rounded Hills

The hills and mountains in Newfoundland are not peaked like the Rockies but rounded like the area around Butter Pot Park shown in this photo. The erratic, now split in three pieces by repeated freezing and thawing, sits on a ledge also rounded by glacial ice. (Photo courtesy Jim Cornish)

For information regarding several other unique formations, including erratics, sea stacks and raised wave-cut platforms, see the August 2011 issue of Downhome.