This beautiful cove situated along the Copper coast could qualify as an earth cache by itself but I have placed a traditional cache here. Believe it or not this piece of Waterford coast has been around a bit, in time and space!! Evidence exists here of:
(1) A volcano on a deep ocean floor near the South Pole:
Can you spot green coloured basalt in the cliffs? This erupted from submarine volcanoes on an ancient sea floor about 460 million years ago. Ireland did not exist as a land mass then – it was part of an ocean floor near the south pole.
(2) A desert near the Equator:
Green basalt boulders and blocks in red sandstone mark the surface of an ancient desert. The desert soil surface probably formed by a combination of alternating freezing at night time and heating during the day, much as the desert surface is currently forming today in the Sahara desert, as well as erosion by first river flows across the arid rock surface. The ocean floor basalt had been converted into land near the equator by a continental collision about 400 million years ago.
(3) Part of two mountain belts created during two continental collision events, one about 400 million years ago, the other 300 million years ago:
Watch out for layered reddish brown coloured, pebble rich sandstones which were originally deposited as horizontal sheets on the bed of an ancient river bed which flowed across the desert of southern Ireland some 360 million years ago. There rocks were upended during a continental collision event 290 million years ago. The layering is particularly well displayed in the lower left part of the cliff face. I advise not to sit for long or sunbath directly below the cliffs as they overhang slightly and are actively being eroded. Apparently, a fracture has been spotted and if I see it I will include a photo. Yes - if you look at the "sticky out bit" of the cliff in the upper left hand side of the photo above - this is the bit which is due to fall off. A crack is visible just about in the photo and fairly obvious at the site. Don't spend too long underneath it looking up!! Any way it's best viewed from a distance.
(4) A land shaped by ice sheets and glaciers:
Look out for the boulder clays, and layered sands and gravels which cap off the cliffs in various places. These were deposited here at the end of the last ice age, approx 12,000 years ago.
(5) The site of an 18th century lead & silver mine:
The narrow angular, sea stack located towards the east end of the cove is a very obvious, although not an immediately significant looking feature. But take a closer look. Close inspection reveals the top of a mine shaft roughly at the top of the bottom third of the column. This is a ventilation shaft constructed in 1740-1760 by Thomas “Bullocks” Wyse to provide an air intake into the underground workings of his lead and silver mine. The workings extend out under the bay, although the exact orientation and extent is now unknown. It is advisable not to the climb the sea stack.
Most of this information has been sourced from publications produced by the Geological survey of Ireland. Further information here http://www.copper-coast.com/copper/web.At the entrance to the beach there is an excellent display highlighting where the various features can be seen. Have fun.
Safety - Note 3 *** Terrain: Although this site is a beach, it is part of a dynamic coastline and can be intimidating at full tide with high waves. The cliffs are being actively eroded. Rip currents are also present off shore.