Summer drought unveils unseen rock land in Co Clare

The previously unseen rocks on the shore of Lickeen Lake. Picture: Dr Eamon Doyle

Unseen rock land has been discovered in Clare as a result of the summer drought.

The rock was discovered on the shore of Lickeen Lake in the north of the county.

The finding shows that the lake was formed 300 million years ago by continents colliding.

The rocks were discovered by Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark and Clare County Council geologist Dr Eamon Doyle.

The geologist was with his son, Alan, while fishing on the lake - which is located between Kilfenora and Ennistymon - when the discovery was made.

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

"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," said Dr Doyle.

"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."

- Digital Desk

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