Quarry face in horizontally-bedded sands, cut by a fault


glacial lakes



outwash terraces

kettle holes

meltwater and landforms

Faesheallach Burn

Drop stone. This block was released from an ice berg on the lake and plopped into the muddy lake floor, deforming the surrounding sediment.

Kame terrace

Definition: a flat-topped mound or hill composed of sorted sand and gravel deposited by meltwater in a former glacial lake

Kame terraces form when sediment accumulates in ponds and lakes trapped between lobes of glacier ice or between a glacier and the valley side. Typically, the sediment comprises well-bedded and -sorted sand and gravel.

The advance of Strath Spey ice across the mouth of Gleann Einich at around 14 kyr dammed a large glacial lake. This lake received sediments from the ice masses lying to the north and south and began to fill up. On the lake floor, fine-grained sands accumulated in the still water. Drop stones fell into the sand from floating ice bergs. Lake drainage was sudden and rapid flow left coarse gravels on top of the lake floor. Post-glacial river erosion has cut down into the former lake floor to leave a fine series of kame terraces (streetmap view).

Lake bottom sediments. Horizontally bedded silts and sands. These may represent varves, rhythmic sequences of sediment that reflect the seasonal nature of sedimentation in a glacial lake. During the summer melt, meltwater discharges increase and sands accumulate on the lake floor; during winter, the lake surface freezes and the finest debris settles out from the still water. Each couplet of sand and mud represents a year of deposition.


Kame terraces occur on all flanks of the Cairngorms wherever meltwater has been ponded against hillsides. The kame terraces are often part of an association of landforms - moraines, meltwater channels and outwash fans - that can be used to reconstruct consecutive positions of the retreating ice margin. Some kame terraces have dimpled surfaces - where buried blocks of ice have melted to form kettle holes.