About The Hondsrug Area - Geological Overview

Rock profile Donderen Rock profile Donderen In the last but one Ice Age, the distinctive boulders so often found in Drenthe were carried here by enormous glaciers well over a kilometre thick. The Hondsrug and the nearby Hunze region were formed during the last part of this Ice Age, about 150,000 years ago. In the period between the last two Ice Ages it was relatively warm and Neanderthal people, rhinoceroses and mammoths lived in the area. Then the last Ice Age brought a new cold period.

Borger pingo remains Borger pingo remains This time the ice did not extend as far as Drenthe but the extreme cold brought other changes. For instance pingos (dome-shaped hills of ice) were formed from the upheaval of a layer of the earth by frozen groundwater. When the ice melted, the ground settled as a raised circular rim with a lower-lying middle filled with a pool of water. We call these pools vennetjes. Similarly, many other typical features of today’s landscape are a result of events during the Ice Ages.

Early humans gratefully made use of the legacy left by the Ice Ages. For instance, the Hunebed builders used the enormous erratic boulders which remained after the ice withdrew and made them a part of their culture. Indeed the Hondsrug region conceals many traces of the past as silent witnesses of the earlier presence of people and cultures. Examples are the medieval cart tracks on the Balloërveld and the Archaeological Reserve at Kniphorstbos in the Drentsche Aa National Park.