Glacier Landforms: Erratics

Glacial erratics are stones and rocks that were transported by a glacier, and then left behind after the glacier melted. Erratics can be carried for hundreds of kilometers, and can range in size from pebbles to large boulders. Scientists sometimes use erratics to help determine ancient glacier movement.

Photograph of erratics near the Beartooth Mountains, Montana
Glacial erratics dot the landscape near the Beartooth Mountains in Montana. —Credit: Brian Washburn
Photograph of Okotoks Erratic, Canada
Big Rock, also known as Okotoks Erratic, is located near the Canadian town of Okotoks, south of Calgary, Alberta. —Credit: Jon Noad
Photograph of Tripod Rock erratic, New Jersey
In this photograph from Pyramid Mountain in New Jersey, a huge glacial erratic remains exactly where the glacier left it—perched on top of three other boulders to create a formation known as Tripod Rock. —Credit: Wally Gobetz

Last updated: 16 March 2020