Geology on the Emerald Isle, 2014

GLASGOW – There are few things more satisfying than finishing up a good field season… plenty of hard work & sore feet, but we covered a lot of ground, did some great science, and had a great time in Ireland. I arrived in Shannon on May 9th, hired a car, and drove up to Doonbeg in County Clare (the site of one of Donald Trumps newest ventures) and met up with a great group of students led by Dr. Jeff Nittrouer (Rice University) and Dr. Matthew Carter (Eriksfiord Inc). Most of students departed the next morning, but Jeff, Matt, and I stuck around to help Stacy Dwyer (Graduate Student) and Maya Stokes (Undergraduate researcher) with the fieldwork they were conducting in support of Stacy’s Master’s thesis. 
 
We relocated to a house in Killkee and over the following week, the five of us worked our way through the bulk of the coastline along the Loop Head Peninsula. We were mapping exposures of the various Carboniferous sedimentary units deposited in the Namurian Basin. In particular, we paid particular attention to the locations of contacts among the Ross Formation and a series of overlying cyclothems. We also collected careful measurements and oriented rock samples from geologic structures (folds & faults) as part of an effort to better understand how much the layers of rock in the Namurian Basin had been laterally shortened when they were buckled up by continental collisions associated with the Variscan orogeny.
 
Our long week in Ireland culminated in a trip to the ancient city of Dublin yesterday, where the group shared a fantastic Indian food dinner at Jewel in the Crown and made a couple obligatory stops at a few old favorites (Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Ireland, Darkey Kelly’s, & Cassidy’s). While at the Brazen Head, I had the awesome good fortune of bumping into my old friend, Brian Farrell (owner, Burren Coaches) who was in town running a tour for another group… just another example of the wonderful coincidences that those of us living in the very small world of geosciences enjoy all the time!
 
Matt and I headed for the airport this morning – he returned to Texas and I continued on to Glasgow. Stacy, Maya, and Jeff are heading back to County Clare for another week of fieldwork & we wish them luck… and many more field data & samples! Needless to say, a number of large rock samples are currently on their way back to Pacific and will be ready and waiting for student resaerch projects!  On a similar note, Jeff and I are exploring the possiblity of running a joint Pacific-Rice field trip to western Ireland in the near future... any takers? If you are interested in a field trip to Ireland and/or helping with this research, please let me know!
 
Bright an early tomorrow morning, I will be meeting a group from the University of Illinois and embark on a field trip I've been dreaming of since I started in geology… an overview of the geology of northern Scotland & the Moine thrust belt!
 
Oh yeah… just for the record, both Matt Carter and Stacy Dwyer are excellent field geologists... and graduates of the Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp (classes of 2005 and 2012, respectively).
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