Rocks at Ferriters Cove 8

Natural abstract design in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Water-worn, soft, and stripey Silurian sedimentary rocks make sporadic appearances through the sandy beach at Ferriters Cove and sometimes they can have a strangely sculptural appearance, or even of a landscape in miniature, depending on the perspective from which they are photographed. I also particularly like the pale blue-green colour contrasting with the muted yellow that contributes to the natural abstract striped designs.

You can click on an image to enlarge it.

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Silurian rocks on the beach at Ferriters Cove

Rocks at Ferriters Cove 7

Natural pattern, shape, and texture in Silurian bedrock at Ferriters Cove

The last part of the Silurian strata exposure of the small rocky promontory at Ferriters Cove, before the wide sandy strip with beach stones, is very abstract…. but not so sculptural in appearance as the patches of water-worn mudstones that emerge here and there through the sand – see the next post!

Beach Stones at Ferriters Cove

View of Ferriters Cove on the Dingle PeninsulaBetween rocky outcrops and promontories at Ferriters Cove lie stretches of sandy beach with patches of water-worn beach stones and smaller pebbles. The stones are derived from a variety of Silurian strata, not only from this cove but also from the coast further to the north which is also composed of Silurian Period rocks.

Rocks at Ferriters Cove 6

The character of the rock changes as I continue my walk around the shoreline at Ferriters Cove in the Dingle Peninsula. Successive Silurian bedrock strata have different textures, colours, shapes, and sculpturings, each layer having originally been laid down on the bottom of an ancient shallow sea in varying environmental conditions that affected the chemical constituents and particle size of the sediments deposited, and the subsequent disturbance of each new layer.

Flat Wrack at Fermoyle

It was tranquil at Fermoyle on the Dingle Peninsula. Hardly a soul on the long sandy part of the beach, and only a solitary angler on the red rocky promontory at the western end. Vast swathes of short fruiting seaweeds clung to the rocks at the water’s edge, where the only sound breaking the stillness was the water gently lapping on the shore, while the seaweed danced slowly to the rhythm of the waves.

Rock Pools at Ferriters Cove

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Location of the rock pools at Ferriters CoveThere are some unusual mini-habitats in the shallow pools that occupy the cracks and crevices between bedding planes of the Silurian strata at Ferriters Cove. Only a few seashore creatures are seen grazing within them. A few common periwinkles (Littorina littorea) and limpets (Patella sp.) are the most frequent inhabitants. The pools have a few isolated branching seaweeds – some miniscule fine branching greens but mostly tiny clumps of Coral Weed (Corallina officinalis).

However, the rock surfaces beneath the water are also covered with a continuous coating, or small individual patches, of a variety of coloured algae such as the chalky red encrusting seaweeds like Pink Paint Weeds (Corallinaceae crusts); dark red non-calcareous encrusting seaweeds (Hildenbrandia rubra and Peyssonnelia sp. are examples in this group but not necessarily present at this location); encrusting brown seaweeds (Aglaozonia sp. and Ralfsia verrucosa would be examples of the type algae in this group); and the commonly occurring bright green algal films. Less obvious to the naked eye but probably also present in this kind of habitat would be the biofilms created by microscopic cyanobacteria, fungi, and lichens.

It is difficult to identify the species or even genera without taking samples to section and examine under the microscope. A complication with the identification or classification of these encrusting seaweeds, particularly the dark reds, is that the crustal form may represent a true species in its own right, or it may simply be only one life stage (tetrasporophyte phase) in the life cycle of a more familiar-looking foliose (branching) seaweed, or even an extensive attachment disc for a foliose alga.

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Close-up of rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with calcareous encrusting and foliose algae

Rock pool with calcareous encrusting and foliose algae

 Rock pool with encrusting algae

RocRock pool with encrusting algae

Close-up of rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Rock pool with encrusting algae

Close-up of rock pool with encrusting algae

Fossils at Ferriters Cove 1

Fossil brachiopod Leptaena in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

The Silurian rocks at Ferriters Cove are well known for their fossils. I found a few easily recognisable ones as I walked round the cove, such as the brachiopod Leptaena and Favosites coral. The fossils can be seen on the surface of the exposed bedrock and also in the numerous broken pieces of rock that lie on the beach.

Some features I am not sure whether they are fossils or not – they look as if they might be trace fossils – evidence of animal activity in the original sediments rather than the remains of the animal itself. These included some some fairly obvious branching linear features that could conceivably be evidence for crab burrows; each “burrow” is a couple of centimetres wide. The other features are more obscure and much smaller and occur as a pair of parallel curving lines rather like miniature army tank tracks. I thought they might be trace fossils of trilobite tracks. You’ll need to click on the images to view the features close-up and make up your own mind.

Fossil brachiopod Leptaena in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Fossil brachiopod Leptaena in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Fossil brachiopod Leptaena in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Fossil coral in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Fossil coral in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove

Could this be a trace fossil of animal burrows in the Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove?

Could this be a trace fossil of animal burrows in the Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove?

Could this be a trace fossil of animal burrows in the Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove?

Could these be trilobite tracks in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove?

Could these be trilobite tracks in Silurian rock at Ferriters Cove?