earth pillar

As rainfall gullies a glacial moraine, columns of loose till may be left standing, each with a boulder hat that protects it from erosion. These earth pillars, among the most transient of landforms, typically taper outward toward the bottom. In the French Alps they are called demoiselles, perhaps for their delicacy or the winsomeness of their headwear in the eyes of mountaineers long afoot. When the capstone falls, the column quickly follows. Earth pillars also form in badlands, where sandstone slabs of various sizes cap columns of unconsolidated sand. It is possible to watch generations of miniature pillars form and die within the course of a single rainstorm.

John Daniel