Glaciers / Glacial Features

Moon rise over the hills in Vermont
Moon rise over the hills in Vermont

Ed Sharron

Much of the landscape within and surrounding the park has been shaped by a number of environmental processes and human endeavors but the movement of glaciers thousands of years are responsible for giving Vermont's hills their rounded shape. The movement of glaciers is a slow process that takes thousands of years. Through Vermont's natural history, many different glaciers formed and moved to cover Vermont in ice before the climate warmed and the glaciers retreated. The last glacier to pass through this area was the Wisconsin, which brought the Laurentide Ice Sheet to the region about 11,000 years ago. This ice sheet could be two miles thick in places and would have covered even Vermont's tallest mountains. When the climate warmed, the Wisconsin glacier would retreat and plants and animals would return to the area. As the glaciers moved south they would not only erode the hills of Vermont but would also scrape the soils down to the bedrock, and still today, the soil layers in Vermont are thin and very rocky.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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