The morphometry of 85 gnammas (weathering pits) from Big Stone County in western Minnesota allows the assessment of the relative ages of the gnamma population. The ratio between maximum and minimum depths is independent of the initial size of the cavity and only depends on the weathering evolution. Therefore, the distribution of depth ratios can be used to assess the gnamma population age and the history of weathering. The asymmetrical distribution of depth ratios measured in Big Stone County forms three distinct populations. When these sets are analyzed independently, the correlation (r2) between maximum and minimum depths is greater than 0-95. Each single population has a normal distribution of depth ratios and the average depth ratios (??-value) for each population are ??1 = 1.60 ?? 0-05, ??2 = 2.09 + 0.04 and ??3 = 2.42 ?? 0.08. The initiation of gnamma formation followed the exhumation of the granite in the region. This granite was till and saprolite covered upon retreat of the ice from the Last Glacial Maximum. Nearby outcrops are striated, but the study site remained buried until it was exhumed by paleofloods issuing from a proglacial lake. These Holocene-aged gnammas in western Minnesota were compared with gnammas of other ages from around the world. Our new results are in accordance with the hypothesis that ??-values represent the evolution of gnammas with time under temperate- to cold-climate dynamics. Phases of the formation of new gnammas may result from changes in weathering processes related to climate changes. Copyright ?? 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Multi-phase evolution of gnammas (weathering pits) in a Holocene deglacial granite landscape, Minnesota (USA)