Series: Glacier Landforms

Drumlins

Spectacle and Long Island, in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (MA) are drumlins
Spectacle and Long Islands are two of the drumlins that can be found in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (Massachusetts). Many of these drumlins have the classic drumlin shape, like these two islands.

NPS Photo

Drumlins are hills of sediment (generally a quarter of a mile or more in length) that have been streamlined by glacier flow. Thus, they are often elongated. They often occur together in fields, some with as many as several thousand individuals.

The classic drumlin shapes is a hill that highest on its up-glacier end and tapers gently from there, like a half-buried egg. Not all drumlins taper like this, though.

Because they have been streamlined by flowing ice, scientists often use them to understand past glacier flow directions. They are longest in the direction of flow.

island
Another view of Spectacle Island drumlin in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Massachusetts.

NPS photo by Trista L. Thornberry-Ehrlich

To learn more about glaciers, glacier features, and glacial landforms, see the Glaciers & Glacial Landforms Page.