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Erratic

Erratics are rocks that were transported inside land ice or glaciers. These rocks can be transported over long distances and are usually rounded during transport. Erratics are usually found in areas where, during the Quarternary, land ice formed during one of the ice-ages (Saalian/Wolstonian or Weichselian/Devensian), mostly in the northern parts of Europe, Russia and Canada. Erratics are mainly found in Glacial till.

In the North of Europe large erratics where used to construct megalithis tombs. The occurrence of certain types of erratics of wich the origins are known, can help in the reconstruction of iceflow patterns and movement during the iceages. 

Land ice isn't the only way an erratic can be transported, it is possible (and it still occurs today) that icebergs transport erratics over glacial lakes, seas and oceans. When the iceberg melts, the erratics fall out and are deposited on the lake- or seafloor.


These erratics have come up during work at a sandquarry in Emmen (the Netherlands) The stones are rounded through the inner workings of a glacier. Photo: Tom Koops


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