Tuesday 26 June 2007

Seabed survey highlights Kerry’s Ice Age history

A MAJOR survey of the Kerry seabed, conducted by a leading research institute, has discovered previously unknown underwater formations off the Dingle Peninsula.
The research vessel Celtic Explorer examined the seabed to the north of the Dingle Peninsula and west of Kerry Head using hi-tech sonar mapping technology and it was working between the Three Sisters by Smerwick Harbour and Brandon Head up until early June.
Initial results have identified a series of previously unknown seafloor features, including an offshore ridge extending in a north westerly direction off the north shore of the Dingle peninsula.
The ridge is five metres high and one kilometre wide with a traceable length of over 10 kilometres. The notable discovery believed to be a glacial feature and possibly a terminal moraine, marks the front of a glacier where rock debris, which was carried along by glacial melt water, was deposited.
The ridge has been dubbed the Slava Ridge after the scientist on the survey who first noted it.
Another prominent feature of the area, according to the researchers, is a 500m to 600m wide trench-like feature, dubbed the Brendan Trench, which orientated east-west and parallel with the shore stretching over 40km. The trench is between 15 and 25m deep and located only 300 to 400m off the coast.
It has been interpreted by the geologists onboard as the seafloor traces of a major geological fault zone. The survey also identified 10 seafloor sediment regions which suggests the presence of a variety of different seafloor ecosystems and the researchers also located six possible wrecks which they are comparing against a list of know wrecks in the area.
This survey was the first such programme since the area was first mapped in the 1800s.

Alan Healy
©The Kingdom

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