Minnesota is largely underlain by Precambrian crystalline bedrock that was weathered to an average depth of 30 m prior to Late Cretaceous time. The fresh-rock-weathered-rock interface is irregular, with as much as 45 m of relief. Weathering exploited joints, locally isolating meter-sized volumes of rock known as corestones. Variable amounts of residuum were removed through glaciation to leave (1) saprolite overlain by an in-situ Late Cretaceous soil profile; (2) partially eroded saprolite; and (3) undulating fresh rock surfaces (commonly mantled by rounded boulders) that display striae and glacial or fluvial polish. Significant subglacial erosion of fresh bedrock is not required to form smoothly undulating bedrock surfaces with closed depressions; they may also form through removal of weathered bedrock and exposure of the weathering front. Large rounded boulders are not always shaped during transport; they may represent chemically rounded corestones resting at or near the bedrock source. Unambiguous evidence for glacial erosion includes striae and streamlining of bedrock parallel to striae. Polish on rock can be created fluvially, and smoothed grooves and ridges in the rock may be chemically produced. Many rounded boulders found in glacial till and strewn on bedrock surfaces probably originated as corestones.
Additional Publication Details
The significance of pre-existing, deeply weathered crystalline rock in interpreting the effects of glaciation in the Minnesota River valley, U.S.A.