Thursday, November 11, 2021

Glacial Polish on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana

Above: Drone photo of me walking across an interesting outcrop - November 2021. Click on photo to enlarge.

The smooth surface of this outcrop of igneous rock in northcentral Montana is a great example of glacial polish. As the Laurentide Ice Sheet flowed across here thousands of years ago, the abrasive action of pebbles and sand stuck to the glacier's underside smoothed the surface and rounded the jagged edges. The outcrop is located near the southwest edge of Snake Butte, an impressive plutonic formation (laccolith) located on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Subtle grooving in the rock prove that the ice moved across here was flowing toward the southeast. Other evidence, including distinct striations on another part of Snake Butte and a 50-mile long boulder train, confirms this. The southeastery flow was due to the influence of the nearby Bears Paw Mountains, which changed the glacier's flow from southward to southeastward.

CLICK HERE to learn much more about Snake Butte, including all about the Snake Butte Boulder Train.

Terms: abrasion, plutonic formation

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