As glaciers move along the surface of the earth, rocks are slowly mixed in with the ice. Rocks may reach the bottom of the glacier and begin to scrape along the earth. As a result, a cavity is formed by the boulder and a long smooth polished line can be left by the rubbing rock. It is the same process as a rock tumbler but is elongated rather than circular. This cavity is then often filled with sediments such as till and outwash, or can be left bare such as these.
These mounds are usually only a couple of metres high and tens of metres long. They are named flutes as their long and narrow shape resembles the musical instrument. If you run your hands along the flutes, you can tell which direction the ice moved as the direction the ice moved is smoother than the other. Think of the weight of a mile high ice sheet pushing a boulder along a bedrock surface and what a great job of polishing that would do. This is a fantastic example and it is possibly the most accessible and clearly seen example in the world.
There is ample parking beside the flutes and they are easily accessible beautiful examples of glacial flutes in bedrock. If you feel inclined, climb up beside them on the trail and look along the flutes.
The bedrock is the Coast Range granitic batholith which is prevalent along most of the BC shoreline. If you look closely you can see flutes on the face of the Chieftan across the road.
Flutes are sometimes called drumlins or striations, although striations are usually smaller than these flutes and drumlins often form in soils and rock and are often larger and like hills
The local first nation lore recognized the cold and ice of the glaciation and there is a historical sign at the flutes.
To log this earthcache, you must e-mail me the answer to these questions: (If possible, please use the e-mail option rather than the messenger option)You can log this cache and send the answers after. Logs for which answers have not been received by a few days will be deleted.
1. The direction you thought the ice was moving (north or south). You can determine this by sliding your hand along the rock surface and checking which direction is smoother.
2. The thickness of the polish (veneer) which you can see where the rock has been blasted by the road cut into the flutes on the face of the flutes.
3. The type of rock in the flutes.
Optional to post of picture of you and your GPS at the flutes.