Kettles are depressions left behind after partially-buried ice blocks melt. Many are filled with water, and are then called "kettle lakes".

Most lakes in Michigan could be described as kettle lakes, and the term "kettle lake" describes the way the lake basin was formed. Kettle lake basins were formed as the glaciers receded. While this was happening, a block of ice broke off the glacier, and just sat there. As the glacier continued to melt, the debris from the glacier (soil, rocks, stones, gravel, etc.) filled in around the block of ice. When the block of ice finally melted, all the debris surrounding it fell into the hole, creating the kettle type basin, which when filled with water, became a lake as we know it.

Many of our small, deep lakes in Michigan are kettle lakes. Some have since been infilled with vegetation and plant matter, to form bogs.  Even some of our larger, deep lakes, like Higgins Lake and Walled Lake, are kettles.  In Oakland County there is an excellent example of a glacial kettle just off Grange Hall Road between I-75 and the Dixie Highway. It's deep and steep sided. The road actually goes around it. It's still there, but now it's filled with trees and a lot more difficult to see.

Below are some examples of kettle lakes in Michigan.  The "giveaway" for many of these, as to their ice block origins, lies in their crenulated outline and their undulating bathymetry.

Near Argentine, Michigan.


Near Pontiac, Michigan.


In Oakland County.

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