Gletschertopf Innsbruck-südliches Mittelgebirge, Austria
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member luzzi-reloaded
N 47° 13.692 E 011° 25.535
32T E 683615 N 5233377
Gletschertopf Innsbruck-südliches Mittelgebirge, Austria
Waymark Code: WMDP35
Location: Tirol, Austria
Date Posted: 02/08/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
Views: 8

Giant's kettles, also known as giant's cauldrons or potholes, are cavities or holes which appear to have been drilled in the surrounding rocks by eddying currents of water-bearing stones, gravel and other detrital matter.
The size of giant's kettles varies from a few inches to several feet in depth and diameter. The most common occurrence is in shields, where there are ancient rocks (granite, gneiss) with different resistance to erosion, so strong pebbles fall in a small cavity and swirl making this cavity wider and deeper. In areas where there are diamonds and quartz rocks, the hardness of these rocks cave potholes and sometimes remain trapped in the bottom of them. Hardness of pebbles must be the same or higher than the bottom of stream where the kettle is forming. That is why these potholes are a good place to find diamonds (the hardest rock in Earth) and also explains the name of some potholes in the Blyde River Canyon of South Africa.
They are also common in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and in the United States. It appears that water, produced by the thawing of the ice and snow, forms streams on the surface of the glacier, which, having gathered into their courses a certain amount of morainic debris, are finally cast down a crevasse as a swirling cascade or moulin. The sides of the crevasse are abraded, and a vertical shaft is formed in the ice. The erosion may be continued into the bed of the glacier; and, the ice having left the district, the giants kettle so formed is seen as an empty shaft, or as a pipe filled with gravel, sand or boulders. Such cavities and pipes afford valuable evidence as to the former extent of glaciers (from Wikipedia).
The here mentioned giant's kettle is situated at a height of 1000m a.s.l. between the villages Igls and Lans in the so called southern Mittelgebirge above Innsbruck. Here the pleistocene ice masses of the Inn valley glacier and the Wipp valley glacier met, thus forming huge ice walls covering mount Patscherkofel and creating strong erosion. The round shape of Patscherkofel peak is easily recognized as a result of these forces.
The here introduced giant kettle is situated in the Paleozoic greywacke zone situated between the Central Alps and the Mesozoic Northern Calcareous Alps. These relatively hard metamorphic rocks are a variety of sandstone consisting of quartz, feldspar (plagioclase), siliceous and argillaceous slates and rock debris in a clay matrix. It may be cut or ground by some harder gneiss and quartzite pebbles and gravel transported by the pleistocene glaciers coming from the central Alps. Thus, the forming of giant kettles can be easily explained.
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