Glacier National Park is home to many geologic formations. The park is named after the remnants of 10,000-year-old glaciers and anywhere you look, you see a different example of how nature carved these massifs. Whether you're traveling on the Going-to-the-Sun Road or hiking the 700 miles of trails in the park, different types of formations can be seen everywhere.
Imagine a massive piece of ice grinding away at a layer of bedrock. This is what a glacier does to form a cirque. When it has finished working, a semi-circular bowl is left that resembles an amphitheatre. This is a cirque.
If you've ever seen a sharp-edged ridge, you've seen an arete. An arete forms when a glacier wears away its sides, sculpting a knife-edged ridge. The summit of Mount Oberlin is a perfect example of a prominent arete in Glacier National Park.
Below the arete on Mount Oberlin's summit is a hanging valley that overlooks the actual valley floor below. A hanging valley is created when a small glacier erodes a mountain. The one on Mount Oberlin resembles a large bowl, perched high above the park.
Lakes formed by glaciers form in U-shaped valleys and form in chains called paternoster lakes. Glacier National Park has great examples of these formations. A popular example is the chain formed by Grinnell, Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lakes.
Boulders, rocks, silts and other residues left behind by a glacier are called a moraine. Moraines are sub-categorized as end, ground, lateral, and medial moraines. These categories refer to the location where the residue is deposited; for example, a lateral moraine has residue deposited on the sides of the glacier.