Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand (Glacial Potholes!)

For this week’s photo challenge, I’m taking you back to the summer of 2008 in my home state of Massachuestts. Our destination is Shelburne Falls, a quintessential New England town along the Mohawk Trail and Deerfield River.  Isn’t it grand?


At the end of the last Ice Age, glaciers covering this area began to recede, swirling silt and granite in a scouring motion that drilled holes in the bedrock below.


Shelburne Falls pothole overview 1

As a result of the constant whirling of granite stones, the potholes (known geologically as “kettles”) took on a remarkably symmetrical and round shape.

Shelburne Falls pothole with waterfall

Shelburne Falls round pothole

Shelburne Falls round pothole closeup

Since 2002, access to the potholes is prohibited due to hazardous conditions and numerous injuries.

Shelburne Falls Dam Signage

However, because this is Massachusetts, no one pays attention to the law, and the police know it’s useless to enforce…especially on hot August days! 😉

Shelburne Falls potholes with people

Shelburne Falls potholes with people 2

There are more than 50 potholes to explore, ranging in size from 6″ to 39′ in diameter.

Young explorers among the Shelburne Falls potholes

The shadings and striations in the ancient granite are a grand geological sight.

Shelburne Falls color striations

Shelburne Falls color striations 2

I hope you enjoyed this testament to the grand power of time, ice, and rock!   All glacial pothole photos taken on 8/17/08, copyright Terrence Mulhern,

Shelburne Falls color striations in rock with flower

Be sure to check out other interpretations of this week’s challenge at the Zemanta related links below!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

20 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand (Glacial Potholes!)

  1. I know where that is! There’s the Lamson Knife factory and store at the top of the falls. I wasn’t able to get very good photos of the potholes when we were there though.

  2. Grand indeed! I got sad there when I read that access was prohibited (that’s crazy!), but then rejoiced when you said that everyone ignores the laws. It looks like a wonderful place to visit and spend a day.

    • Hi Giulia!
      You’re obviously doing something REALLY right because your brand new blog popped up via the Zemanta links as one to which I should link.
      In fact, I’m heading over to check out your work when I finish replying to comments. 🙂 more later!

  3. Ah, glacial landscapes. They left Illinois the flat pancake that it is. It’s so different living in an unglaciated area now with real topography—as long as I’m not on the Coastal Plain. 🙂 Looks like you had a fun place to hang out when you weren’t on the beach!

    • the craziest thing is where these are located–down a tiny street right in the center of this tiny New England town. There’s great Indian History to the place, too, as evidenced by this signon the observation deck overlooking the falls

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