Shut your eyes. Imagine that it's a sunny summer day 14,000 years ago. What do you see? In most of Minnesota, the scene looks a lot like winter.
All around you stretches a glacier—a vast sheet of ice a mile thick. It seems to be frozen in time and place. But in reality, it is on the move. Inch by inch, the ice is flowing across what we now know as Minnesota, pushed down from the north as snow piles up and turns to ice in huge amounts during this cold period in the Earth's history. Far beneath, where ice meets land, some amazing things are happening. Rocks and boulders are being dragged along as though they were bits of sand. Gravel and sand are being plowed and scraped as if by a giant bulldozer. Rivers and streams flow through openings in the ice, tumbling pebbles and sand together as though they were in a giant rock-polishing machine.
Now fast-forward to today. You'll see things have changed. The ice has melted. Left in its place, like cups and plates and food after a party, are remnants of the glacier's activity: gravel piles, massive rocks, water-filled basins, and more. In fact, there's a good chance that some of these features are around you! Let's take a look at a few reminders of our state's Ice Age.