Kettle/Kettle hole


Lake, Valley, Wetland

Area of origin


Area of use


Related terms


Formed when large blocks of ice become isolated from retreating glaciers and remain in place becoming buried in meltwater sediments. When these blocks then melt they leave a depression in the ground which can become filled with water to form a kettle hole lake. This landform is closely associated with kames and forms what is known as kame and kettle topography.


Old English cetil (Mercian), from Latin catillus “deep pan or dish for cooking,” diminutive of catinus “bowl, dish, pot.” A general Germanic borrowing (compare Old Saxon ketel, Old Frisian zetel, Middle Dutch ketel, Old High German kezzil, German Kessel). Spelling with a -k- (c.1300) probably is from influence of Old Norse cognate ketill. The smaller sense of “tea-kettle” is attested by 1769.

Example locations

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