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esker

[es-ker] /ˈɛs kər/
noun, Geology
1.
a serpentine ridge of gravelly and sandy drift, believed to have been formed by streams under or in glacial ice.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55; < Irish eiscir ridge of mountains
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for esker
  • Several large angular fragments are found neat the top of the esker.
  • Part of an esker, a ridge formed by a glacial stream, extends into the preserve.
British Dictionary definitions for esker

esker

/ˈɛskə/
noun
1.
a long winding ridge of gravel, sand, etc, originally deposited by a meltwater stream running under a glacier Also called os
Word Origin
C19: from Old Irish escir ridge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for esker
n.

"deposit left by a glacial stream," 1852, from Irish eiscir "ridge of gravel."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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esker in Science
esker
  (ěs'kər)   
A long, narrow, steep-sided ridge of coarse sand and gravel deposited by a stream flowing in or under a melting sheet of glacial ice. Eskers range in height from 3 m (9.8 ft) to more than 200 m (656 ft) and in length from less than 100 m (328 ft) to more than 500 km (310 mi).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for esker

a long, narrow, winding ridge composed of stratified sand and gravel deposited by a subglacial or englacial meltwater stream. Eskers may range from 16 to 160 feet (5 to 50 m) in height, from 160 to 1,600 feet (500 m) in width, and a few hundred feet to tens of miles in length. They may occur unbroken or as detached segments. The sediment is sorted according to grain size, and cross-laminations that show only one flow direction commonly occur. Thus eskers are considered to be channel deposits (left by streams that flowed through tunnels in and below the ice) that were let down onto the ground surface as the glacier retreated. Esker formation presumably takes place after a glacier stagnates, because movement of the ice would likely spread the material and produce ground moraine. Notable areas of eskers are found in Maine, U.S.; Canada; Ireland; and Sweden. Because of ease of access, esker deposits often are quarried for their sand and gravel for construction purposes.

Learn more about esker with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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