I am on a two week holiday staying in Ireland, one week in Crosshaven, Co Cork where I spent holidays as a child and the second week in Kilkee, Co Clare. The weather is nothing to rave about nor does it give you a tan or even a freckle or two! It does however get you out and about on walks and adventures no time to sun bathe.
I am an Earth Scientist which is comprised not only of geology but lots of other sciences. On my first week a lecturer named Betty Higgs announced to us that when we have completed this course we will “never look at the world in the same way again” – this is true! I have become nosy, how rocks ended up in that position and why we are having colder winters and wetter summers. Geology for those unsure is the study of rocks and the processes that shaped the earths solid core. It is a useful science seeing as we all place or feet on the ground every day of our lives and it lends itself as an amazing hobby because every where in the world has rocks!!
On the first leg of my holiday we stayed in my parents summer home where the beach is a stone throw away. I have walked this beach thousands of times always noticing its geology, this time I took pictures and decided to write a piece on it, as many of you who will read this might learn a thing or two about a very familiar place, but those of you who don’t know this place it doesn’t matter because you will learn how to notice things you may have only passed by.
Graball Bay, Crosshaven, Co Cork has a number of different rock types most notably Old Red Sandstone but also mudstones and silt stones. The old red sandstone was laid down first during the Devonian period (geology has its own time scale) and at the time the land was a continental landmass not an ocean in sight! More particularly the sandstones found here were laid down in a deepening hollow known as the Munster Basin.
The first trees, seed bearing plants and ferns were beginning to evolve around this time and corals were abundant in the oceans. These rocks are pretty old as the Devonian period started around 400 million years ago!!
When you think of how sediments were deposited, which over time go on to form rocks, they would have been layered like a sandwich in a horizontal 180 degree angle. Then ask yourself how do we see such twisted and angled rock like the picture above of sandstone in a 40 degree angle?
Stresses and strains cause rock to buckle and brake (fracture) and crumple into folds. To learn more about physical geology you can locate a well explained site here I don’t want to overwhelm you with the technical jargon so if it is something that interests you well that is brilliant and go explore the internet and beyond. The fold you see here is tucked away under a cliff, very close to an area we call pegs. Not sure where the name comes from but as children we used to swim here all day every day. The fold is a syncline fold where the fold layers are warped downwards as a result of stresses known as compressional stress.
For those of you who never knew much about geology or ever gave it a second thought, knowing where and how our earth was formed is a very worthwhile hobby. I hope this piece has aroused even the smallest interest. It is a great hobby lots of places to see and so many people to meet through day trips and even excursions to amazing places such as the Grand Canyon a place where I plan on visiting one day!
So here is to Geology and how much I think it rocks!!