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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Devensian till at Freshwater West?


This just could be something important.  I saw these two photos on Facebook today -- taken by somebody who has been wandering on the beach at Freshwater West following the recent storms.  It looks as if a lot of sand has been shifted out to sea, exposing an expansive bed of what looks like black clay.  But beneath the black surface we see a weirdly coloured bed of something that looks as if it might be clay till -- if you enlarge the top photo you can see that there are many stones of all sorts of shapes and sizes.  I'm trying to find out what these stones are like in close-up -- since I'm in Marrakech just now, it's a bit difficult to pop over and have a look.......

Let's assume that the topmost layer here has something to do with the submerged forest, which has been frequently described from Freshwater West.  In Newport Bay the submerged forest overlies a clay-rich till, and if this is also confirmed from Freshwater West, it will show that the Devensian ice was in contact with the Pembrokeshire coast well to the south of Milford Haven.  We already know that there is Devensian till at West Angle bay, on the south side of Milford Haven.   In turn, this will tie in with my suspicion that Devensian ice affected Caldey Island........

Watch this space.....

PS -- all photos are from Ivan Wooll.  Here is another, fresh from Facebook.  It looks more and more like till.



4 comments:

chris johnson said...

Every time I visit Freshwater West I am amazing by the colourful beauty of the pebbles on the beach. You can find these pebbles around the coast to Manorbier but they seem to my untutored eyes to be rare and special. It would seem simple to identify a source and I doubt it is local, as I do not know of any inland rocks with this type of brittle clayish substance and diverse colours.

The pebbles are not shown in Brian's photo unfortunately but anyone who has visited will know what I am talking about.

BRIAN JOHN said...

The geology at Freshwater West is indeed fascinating -- I used to take field trips here to do geological map exercises. The ORS series is mostly responsible for the wonderful colours of the pebbles found on the beach -- but it looks as if these colours have translated themselves to some degree into these interesting stony clays.

chris johnson said...

Indeed. This is one of the NOT questions the archaeologists ought to have answers for. Why is it that these wondrous stones are NOT found in Wessex, and are NOT found in the Holy Ground between Goedog and Rhosyfelin? Surely a culture interested in stones and monumental construction would have found a place for colours and special stones? Or was the culture simply interested in white quartz and fragmenting bluestones?

It does not look like we can get a discussion going on this. Are all the professionals intimidated or off in a huff?

It seems to me that the points raised by Brian and his "team" do deserve an answer even if everybody is free to ignore me :))

BRIAN JOHN said...

Very sound point, Chris. If I had been a Neolithic architecht charged with designing and then building a rather interesting monument at Stonehenge, there is no way I would have chosen Rhosyfelin rhyolite as one of my preferred rock types. Spotted dolerite is rather pretty, and I might have chosen that, but my preferences would have been the Cambrian basal conglomerate from near St Nons, the halleflinta from near St David's, the red, purple and green Cambrian sandstones from near Caerfai (they break up nicely into pillars too.....) and the red conglomerates and sandstones from the ORS series, which outcrop in many places on the S Pembs coast. Those would also have been far easier to load onto boats or rafts, if you are a seafaring sort of person. And you could have shipped them off to Stonehenge without encountering the hazards of Dinas Head, Strumble Head, Ramsey Sound and Jack Sound. But all of those rather splendid rock types were, according to the prevailing archaeological view, completely ignored. Why?