Depositional Landforms

Outwash Plain:

  • When the glacier reaches its lowest point and melts, it leaves behind a stratified deposition material, consisting of rock debris, clay, sand, gravel etc.
  • This layered surface is called till plain or an outwash plain and a downward extension of the deposited clay material is called valley train.

landforms by glacial deposition



  • Esker is a winding ridge of unassorted depositions of rock, gravel, clay etc. running along a glacier in a till plain.
  • The eskers resemble the features of an embankment and are often used for making roads.
  • If the melting of glacier has been punctuated, it is reflected in a local widening of the esker and here it is called a beaded esker.



  • Kame terraces are the broken ridges or unassorted depositions looking like hummocks in a till plain.



  • Drumlin is an inverted boat-shaped deposition in a till plain caused by deposition. The erosional counterpart is called a roche moutonne.
  • Drumlins are smooth oval shaped ridge-like features composed mainly of glacial till with some masses of gravel and sand.
  • The drumlins form due to the dumping of rock debris beneath heavily loaded ice through fissures in the glacier.
  • The long axes of drumlins are parallel to the direction of ice movement.
  • They may measure up to 1000m in length and 30-35 m or so in height.
  • One end of the drumlins facing the glacier called the stoss


Kettle Holes:

  • Kettle holes can be formed when the deposited material in a till plain gets depressed locally and forms a basin.



  • Moraine is a general term applied to rock fragments, gravel, sand, etc, carried by a glacier.
  • Depending on its position, the moraine can be ground, lateral, medial or terminal moraine.
  • The material dropped at the end of a valley glacier in the form of a ridge is called the terminal moraine.
  • Each time a glacier retreats, a fresh terminal moraine is left at a short distance behind the first one. The material deposited at either of its sides is known as lateral moraine.
  • When two glaciers join, their lateral moraines also join near their confluence and are called medial moraines.
  • Many Alpine pastures in the Himalayas like the Margs of Kashmir occupy the sites of morainic deposits of old river valleys.
  • The excessive load that cannot be carried forward by a glacier is deposited on its own bed or at the base and appears as what is known as ground moraine.

different positions of moraines