AskDefine | Define drumlin

Dictionary Definition

drumlin n : a mound of glacial drift

User Contributed Dictionary



GenAm [ˈdɹʌmlɪn]


droim 'back, ridge' + English dim. suffix -lin (variant of -ling)


  1. An elongated hill or ridge of glacial drift

Extensive Definition

A drumlin (Irish droimnín, a little hill ridge) is an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial action. Its long axis is parallel with the movement of the ice, with the blunter end facing into the glacial movement. Drumlins may be more than 45 m (150 ft) high and more than 0.8 km (½ mile) long, and are often in drumlin fields of similarly shaped, sized and oriented hills. Drumlins usually have layers indicating that the material was repeatedly added to a core, which may be of rock or glacial till.
There are many theories as to the exact mode of origin and plenty of controversy among geologists interested in geomorphology. Some consider them a direct formation of the ice, while a theory proposed since the 1980s by John Shaw and others postulates creation by a catastrophic flooding release of highly pressurized water flowing underneath the glacial ice. Either way, they are thought to be a waveform (similar to ripples of sand at the bottom of a stream). It is also poorly understood why drumlins form in some glaciated areas and not in others. They are often associated with ribbed moraines.
Drumlins are common in New York, the lower Connecticut River valley, eastern Massachusetts, the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, Poland, Estonia, around Lake Constance north of the Alps, Ireland, Finland and Patagonia. Those in North America are regarded as a creation of the last Wisconsin ice age.
The islands of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area are drumlins that became islands when sea levels rose as the glaciers melted. Clew Bay in Ireland is a good example of a 'drowned drumlin' landscape where the drumlins appear as islands in the sea, forming a 'basket of eggs' topography. Drumlins are typically aligned parallel to one another, usually clustered together in numbers reaching the hundreds or even thousands.
Drumlin formation has recently been observed for the first time in Antarctica in the Rutford Ice Stream.
A similar formation, with a more resilient (generally composed of igneous or metamorphic rock) core, is a crag.
Drumlin soil classification consists of a thin A soil horizon and a thin Bw horizon. The C horizon is close to the surface, allowing parent material to emerge to the surface through weathering


drumlin in Danish: Drumlin
drumlin in German: Drumlin
drumlin in Estonian: Voor
drumlin in Spanish: Drumlin
drumlin in French: Drumlin
drumlin in Galician: Drumlin
drumlin in Hindi: ड्रमलिन
drumlin in Italian: Drumlin
drumlin in Lithuanian: Drumlinas
drumlin in Hungarian: Drumlin
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drumlin in Norwegian: Drumlin
drumlin in Norwegian Nynorsk: Drumlin
drumlin in Polish: Drumlin
drumlin in Portuguese: Drumlin
drumlin in Russian: Друмлин
drumlin in Slovak: Drumlin
drumlin in Finnish: Drumliini
drumlin in Swedish: Drumlin
drumlin in Turkish: Drumlin
drumlin in Ukrainian: Друмлін
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