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Drought Uncovers Clare’s Geological Past  

15th August 2018
The previously unseen rocks on the shore of Lickeen Lake in North Clare that indicate that the lake may have been formed along a zone of folded and faulted rock that resulted from continental collision almost 300 million years ago The previously unseen rocks on the shore of Lickeen Lake in North Clare that indicate that the lake may have been formed along a zone of folded and faulted rock that resulted from continental collision almost 300 million years ago Photo: Dr. Eamon Doyle

Recent low water levels due to the prolonged drought have revealed previously unseen rocks on the shore of Lickeen Lake that indicates the North Clare lake may have been formed along a zone of folded and faulted rock that resulted from continental collision almost 300 million years ago.

The rocks were discovered by Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark and Clare County Council geologist Dr. Eamon Doyle and his son Alan while fishing on the lake, which is located between Kilfenora and Ennistymon.

Dr. Doyle explained that while folded and faulted rocks are well known from the Loop Head area of West Clare, particularly around the Bridges of Ross, they have not been recorded in the North Clare area before.

Dr. Doyle said “Once Alan had pointed out the outcrop I immediately saw that the rocks were tilted to a vertical position which is completely different to the almost horizontal layers of rock that we typically find in this area.”

He continued, “What is particularly interesting is that the rocks are oriented across the deepest part of the lake. These layers of folded and faulted rock would have weathered easier than the surrounding rock and when the ice sheets covered Clare 20,000 years ago they would have eroded deeper there and left a 20m deep depression which became what we now know as Lickeen Lake after the ice melted. 

“If it hadn’t been for that, the lake would have been shallower and it is unlikely that the water levels in Lickeen would be sufficient to supply most of North Clare. This is a great example of how the 300 million years of geological history has a direct impact on our lives today,” he concluded.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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