Keweenaw Peninsula EarthCaches 

Copper City Moraine 

Connection to the Earth Science Curriculum

Essential Lessons:

What evidence suggests that this area is a terminal moraine and not a lateral moraine?

Earth Science Literacy Principles

Big Idea 3: Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air and life

Common misconceptions

All features in Michigan are caused by glaciers

Only sand and gravel are residual effects of glaciers.

Glaciers move backwards

Michigan State Science Content Expectations Addressed

E3.3pa Describe how glaciers have affected the Michigan landscape and how the resulting landforms affect the state economy


Moraines: layers or ridges of till left by glaciers melting

Terminal moraines: result from glaciers being in a stationary period for a long period of time

Lateral moraine: sides of a valley glacier gather large amounts of debris from the valley walls

Till: the unsorted material deposited directly by glacial ice and showing no stratification

This EarthCache site features a terminal moraine landscape. The area is privately owned and managed for its timber, a common land use in the Keweenaw for the rocky deposits left behind by the retreating glaciers.

Coordinates: N 47° 16′ 957″ W 88° 22′ 909″

Content explanation and images: Terminal moraines are depositional features formed by glaciers. The primary energy source for the production of the deposited rocks is gravity. Terminal moraines are the remnants of glaciers that had stopped for a long period of time. In addition, ice deposited tills are not sorted. Boulders as large as semi trucks along with sand, dust, cobbles, pebbles – in short everything is deposited! It is impossible to farm there because of the boulders. As with much of the UP, that is why this land is managed for timber and never turned into a farm.

Figure 1: moraine till in Svalbard, Norway

Photo by Dr. Karen Kleinspehn

Logging questions:

Is the till sorted?

Are the rocks more angular or rounded?

References and Citations:

Figure 1- Kleinspehn, K. Moraine till in Svalbard, Norway.
Retrieved August 9, 2011, from:

Tarbuck, E. J. & Lutgens, F. K: 2006.
Prentice Hall Earth Science. Needham, MA. Pearson. Page 195