Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kiss Me! I’m 320 Million Years Old…and I’m Irish! A St. Patrick’s Day Tribute

Everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. To celebrate this historical holiday, let’s take a visit to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most precious lucky charms. Soaring over 200 meters (≈650 ft) above the Atlantic, the Cliffs of Moher were made from the sediments of sandstone and siltstone that were deposi...ted by an ancient river delta into a seabed around 320 million years ago. Over time, the sediments hardened into rock layers which make up the current visible strata on the cliffs’ edges today.

Not only do the strata tell the story of these ancient cliffs, but they also offer a timeline of evolutionary and geological events that took place over millions of years. The uppermost layers of the strata are the youngest rock layers and the bottommost layers are the oldest. Hidden within the bedding are tons of fossils of goniatites and other extinct surface-dwelling / near-surface-dwelling critters. From these fossils, scientists have been able to calculate some of the atmospheric conditions on earth millions years ago, specifically near Ireland in this case.

So when you’re dining on your corn beef and cabbage and drinking dark beer in a local pub, imagine yourself at the Cliffs of Moher and consider its rich history. You can only wish to be so lucky to have a rainbow backdrop during your stay at the cliffs, as in the featured picture, but who knows? When you’re lucky, you’re lucky.

Photo Credit:
Rutger, Deviant Art


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