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Barafundle Bay & Stackpole Quay

Pembrokeshire, Wales

""Unsung Heroes ""Geotourism
Barafundle Bay

The coast at Stackpole is formed of Visean limestones which contain classic deformation structures. These include a dramatically exposed syncline – a structure first published by Murchison in his Silurian System (sic) in 1839. It subsequently formed the cover to the first issue of the Journal of Structural Geology (1979). 

In the quay area itself is an equally stunning fault zone which has excellent examples of a highly disaggregragated and shattered fault core and an excellent 'damage zone' of shattered by largely unmoved blocks. 

Barafundle Bay

Further south along the coast path is the stunning beach at Barafundle Bay. The strange breccias on the north wall of the bay include slickensided surfaces indicative of fault motion. 

Woodock et al. (2014, J Struct Geol) interpret these as fault collapse breccias – essentially collapsed caves formed along faults, which were active close to the Earth’s surface in Triassic times. There are many other examples, though generally far less accessible, elsewhere in the limestone cliffs in this part of Pembrokeshire.

This area forms part of the National Trust’s Stackpole Estate, and lies on the Pembrokeshire Coast long distance footpath. 

Text courtesy of Prof Rob Butler

100 Great Geosites

Images (top to bottom):

  • Syncline at Stackpole Quay © Rob Butler
  • Barafundle Bay - Credit Iain and Sarah (Source: Flickr)
Earth Science Week

ESW no date badge 2018
October 13 - 21
Theme: 'Earth Science in our lives'