Till is unsorted glacial sediment. Glacial drift is a general term for the coarsely graded and extremely heterogeneous sediments of glacial origin. Glacial till is that part of glacial drift which was deposited directly by the glacier. It may vary from clays to mixtures of clay, sand, gravel and boulders. Clay in till may form in spherical shapes called till balls. If a till ball rolls around in a stream, it may pick up rocks from the streambed and become covered by rocks; thence it is known as an armored till ball.
Till is deposited at the terminal moraine, along the lateral and medial moraines and in the ground moraine of a glacier. As a glacier melts, especially a continental glacier, large amounts of till are washed away and deposited as outwash in sandurs by the rivers flowing from the glacier and as varves in any proglacial lakes which may form. Till may contain alluvial deposits of gems or other valuable ore minerals picked up by the glacier during its advance, for example the diamonds found in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Canada. Prospectors use trace minerals in tills as clues to follow the glacier upstream to find kimberlite diamond deposits and other types of ore deposits.
Traditionally (e.g. Dreimanis, 1988) a further set of divisions has been made to primary deposits, based upon the method of deposition.
Van der Meer et al. 2003 have suggested that these till classifications are outdated and should instead be replaced with only one classification, that of deformation till. The reasons behind this are largely down to the difficulties in accurately classifying different tills, which are often classified based on inferences of the physical setting of the till rather than till fabric or particle size analysis data.