Weathered limestone rock layers on the Worms Head Causeway in Gower, South Wales.

The limestone further east along the Worms Head Causeway shore, towards Tears Point, displays the results of a number of erosion agents leading to some curious formations. The clean, smooth surfaces of mounded and hollowed shapes result from mechanical abrasion where the rock is pounded by stones carried in the waves; by chemical and physical erosion caused by micro-organisms and marine invertebrates (bio-karst surfaces made by such organisms as lichens, limpets, and sea urchins); and acid dissolution by rainwater when the tide is out, especially around the edges of pools, in natural fissures like joints and bedding planes, and areas where water constantly drains – resulting in what is called karst topography. Small circular pits (image 48) of dissolved limestone readily connect with each other, soon enlarging into bigger pools that are known as kamenitzas – which in turn can interconnect with other pools as seen in the images below (particularly images 49, 50, and 51).

8 Replies to “Water-worn Limestone 2”

  1. Is it just me? But some of the formations look like rows of mumified bodies uncovered by the receding tide.
    Very interesting nevertheless.

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  2. Dear Jessica, I love these and must come and see the place for myself. I will send you an image of some beach rocks you may like. Best wishes Angela Gladwell

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  3. Thank you, Adrian. I first learnt about karst scenery when visiting the Burren in Ireland a few years ago and places on the Wild West Coast like Doolin Quay. I also saw it on a mega-scale in outback Queensland (Australia). Then I realised that karst features could be seen closer to home in locations such as Gower where there are even palaeokarst surfaces preserved in the rocks from millions of years ago ( as at Caswell Bay).

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  4. I think it might be just you, Coleshed! But now you mention it, I see what you mean. A spooky thought. These are just the sort of rock shapes to stimulate the imagination.

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  5. Thank you, Angela. The Worms Head Causeway is certainly well worth visiting. You need to be aware of the tides for making the crossing to the Worms Head itself but the area where I took these photographs is accessible for the greatest amount of time being on the landward shore. A certain degree of rock clambering is required to get to the right spot.
    Thank you for your offer; I would like to see an image of beach rocks – is it something that is on your website?

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