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A 'little' ice, gravel, and water - Kettles

Gleann Dhé - 29th July 2010

Kettles are holes often near river banks, or river terraces, and usually filled with water.

Kettles are formed at the tail-end of a de-glaciation flood carrying ice-blocks.  When the flood subsides the ice-blocks among the gravel are 'gravel locked' - the gravel is now dotted with ice-blocks.  These ice-blocks melt leaving holes in the gravel that slowly fill with water to form pools - thereby disguising the kettles, and making them difficult to identify.

Among the most obvious kettles in the upland of Mar is in Gleann Dhé a little downstream from Clais Mhadaidh - an untypical kettle - it sits on the edge of the river terrace.  On the river-side, the kettle was cut away by the floods that created the river terrace leaving the kettle incapable of holding water, and looking like a small amphitheatre