There is an unstable bit of “cliff” at the south end of Rhossili beach in Gower. There was a land slip there a couple of years ago. It lies above a fault line. Loose sediments and rocks in various states of conglomeration fall to the seashore from time to time. A small stream running along the valley caused by the fault exacerbates this process, especially after heavy rain. The fault is one of many in the area which cut through several adjacent rock types and sediments including reddish or orange sediments which probably are derived from the red sandstone.

On one occasion that I visited the beach, heavy rain had washed down orange coloured sediment to the beach where it lay in strange configurations. It also trapped a number of different tiny marine invertebrates, such as sand hoppers and small gastropod molluscs, that had been hiding in the underlying sand between tides. Some of these could be seen struggling up to the surface of the wet sediment and trying to crawl away, leaving their miniscule tracks, trails, and footprints.

4 Replies to “Orange Mud with Tracks and Trails”

  1. I probably wasn’t very clear in my description – only the very small narrow trails are made by marine molluscs – with the more complex larger tracks being made by crustacean sand hoppers.

  2. Thank you, Angela. Unlike the pigs that traditionally like to roll in the mud, these little creatures are trying to escape from it with varying degrees of success and would welcome a good wash in the incoming tide.

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