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Ipswich Audubon Walk by Ananda Corum '23


"We walk through the brightly colored forest–the classic New England fall scene with its bright foliage and beech trees bordering a wetland seized by cattails..."

Members of Group 1 hiked the Esker Trail in Ipswich during an earth science/geology class with John Wigglesworth. They searched the area for evidence that glaciers had receded through the region and wrote short reflections on their findings.


Read more from Ananda's journal below.

This landscape is bordered by rough stone walls–most likely first built by farmers, who unearthed these stones when they cleared their fields. It’s however, evident that these walls have had some upkeep in recent years. The stones themselves don’t contain any orthoclase feldspar, and are a consistent dull grey. We mount an esker–a ridge of glacial till that, in this case, borders another wetland. The word ‘esker’ roots from the Irish word "eiscir" - meaning "divide" or "ridge of gravel."

Across the wetland we can see a tree covered landform that slopes sharply on one side and tapers off on the other, also know as a drumlin. This word also has Irish roots, as well as Gaelic, probably originating from their word "druimin: - meaning "back" or "ridge." Drumlins are formed by glaciers, in fact, the steep side is composed of dirt that’s been pushed up by the glaciers’ progression.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of prevalent glacial erratics in this riverside forest. I’m wondering if this means that this area is made up of basal till rather than residual till. Meandering through this knob and kettle landscape really helps give a perspective on how much glaciers affected our modern landscapes.

The word glacier has roots in both Latin - "glacies" - and french and Italian - "glace" (French) and "glacca" (Italian) - though the French and Italian words came after (and because of) the Latin word. All three words mean "ice," which makes sense because glaciers were 2-mile high ice formations.

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