Scientists believe this pattern of gliding, melting and receding ice happened at least three times in Indiana’s ancient past. It is almost entirely responsible for the landscape of the northern two-thirds of the state. The geography of southern Indiana is due to bedrock, not glaciers.
Vestiges of the Ice Age can be seen all around, from the Dunes of northern Indiana to a large granite boulder at Potato Creek State Park to central Indiana’s sandstone cliffs.
A striking example is Pine Hills Nature Preserve near Crawfordsville adjacent to Shades State Park. Glacial melt water there formed two meandering streams – Clifty and Indian creeks – which carved a deep gorge through bedrock and left four narrow ridges rising almost 100 feet. Over one ridge, the pathway is treacherous with sheer drop-off on both sides.
A short distance away, there’s a massive wall of sandstone where the two creeks meet.
It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it proves there’s more to Indiana than flat farmland. Just look around. The Ice Age formed Indiana’s landscape and our identity.
Andrea Neal is a teacher at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis and adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.