Sunday, October 09, 2016

Cliffs of Moher

The coast of Ireland has many spectacular seacliffs, but these are probably the best known and the most visited. The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland is in the same category, but the draw there is the textured basalt platform, not the seacliffs themselves!


The southward dipping shale and sandstone layers that make up these cliffs are Carbon-iferous, a little more than 320 million years old, and overlie the slightly older limestones of the Burren (below). Whereas the limestones represent deep water conditions, these sediments reflect shallower deltaic environments.

The vertical cliffs here rise 500-600' from the ocean and there's little opportunity for beaches. On the other hand, if the cliffs and the narrow platform are aligned properly, and the adjacent shoreline creates a confining pocket, one can still get beaches. Just not easy beaches to actually visit.

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