Geologist finds evidence of Connemara drowning at sea

Geologist finds evidence of Connemara drowning at sea
A file photo of Connemara.

A geologist has claimed that Connemara is slowly slipping into the sea, according to the Connacht Tribune.

Geologist Jonathon Wilkins says that the north and east of Ireland are rising while south and western parts of the country are going down, as Ireland's crust is tilting in what is technically known as an "isostatic rebound".

The geologist, who is based in Wales, made the findings while on two recent holidays on the West Coast of Ireland.

In the two fortnightly breaks, Mr Wilkins noticed that something strange was happening in the landscape while he was travelling along a road in the area.

He said: "Close to the laboratory of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute the tide was flooding sinuous channels in a peat bog, not a salt marsh as I had first supposed, and peat bogs don’t accumulate in salt water."

He examined the area and found lots of tree stumps buried beneath peat, up to two metres in one place.

Mr Wilkins wrote in the online magazine Earth Science Ireland: “The level of the stumps is below the highest tide level, and it has to be assumed that they didn’t grow with their roots in the sea.

“So here is very powerful evidence that sea level, to my surprise, is rising in this area, and demonstrably over quite a short time scale.”

The Earth's crust underneath the north and east of Ireland is going up, because the land mass that was depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period is rising. This “isostatic rebound” is levering the south and west of Ireland downwards.

In Connemara, where a lot of the land is made up of peat, this means that when the sea encroaches onto land, it takes the peat away and leaves only rocks behind that will eventually become rocky islands.

The geologist wrote: “Erratic boulders are everywhere on the South Connemara shore, but I had not expected that they were mostly surrounded by a blanket bog until it was claimed by the sea, and that the strange, watery landscape is indeed being shaped by a slow drowning.”


More in this Section

More than 6,000 assaults on staff in Irish health service last yearMore than 6,000 assaults on staff in Irish health service last year

Boy, 6, dies in tragic drowning accident in Co MayoBoy, 6, dies in tragic drowning accident in Co Mayo

Gardaí appeal for help finding missing Meath teenGardaí appeal for help finding missing Meath teen

Coronavirus: Irish tourists in Peru on way homeCoronavirus: Irish tourists in Peru on way home


Lifestyle

It’s 25 years since Toy Story first stunned us with its brilliance. Esther McCarthy looks back onJohn Lasseter’s masterpiece and why it’s regarded as a milestone of modern cinemaInfinity and beyond: How Toy Story altered movie history

All the wines recommended this week are available for delivery.Wine with Leslie Williams: Looking for a wine delivery service? Here are a few ...

Cystic Fibrosis is a difficult condition to manage at the best of times. Helen O’Callaghan talks to Jade Needham about managing it in lockdownCoping with Cystic Fibrosis during a crisis

Consumer advice with  Gráinne McGuinnessMaking Cents: Switching makes sense for all your household bills

More From The Irish Examiner