On a nice sunny weekend in England (which doesn't happen a lot!) its always good to get out and about and living so close to the Lake District is always a bonus! There was also an added treat at the top, for the geeky volcanologist in me, where we stumbled across a large amount of obvious volcanic deposits! Now this isn't my particular area of expertise and the deposits were very weathered and quite old, but they looked like a volcanic tuff/pyroclastics with some large clasts (large rocks essentially) entrained inside the ashy deposit. The picture to the right shows one of these clasts very clearly.
The Lake District is geologically very old and these deposits are no different having formed around 470 million years ago in fact, something I found out after bumping into a handy information spot by an excellent pub at the bottom.
A view of one of the many outcrops.
Delving a bit further in to the root cause of these eruptions, it was mostly likely related to volcanism with the closing of the Iapetus ocean, which involved the eventual collision of England and Wales with the Scotland we see today. There are other volcanological spots in the Lake District and the UK and not all of these are as old as the Langdale formations, with the majority of them in stunning locations, especially some which are located in Scotland (Isle of Skye/Mull but to name a few!) and of course not forgetting the lovely Lake District itself. Alfred Wainwright, the man who will never be forgotten for his indispensible guide books and love of the Lakes, stated that one of his favourite spots was the volcanic area of Haystacks and as a result had his ashes scattered near the summit on Innominate tarn.
If you would like to find the Langdale deposits for yourselves, the deposits are most obvious near Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark (in the Langdale Pikes area) in grid location NY275075 using an OS map (I hope i remembered my map reading skills) and are part of the Borrowdale Volcanics.
Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of volcanic related shows on TV and I for one think this is a good thing, (despite what some may say are unscientific and ‘scaremongering’) and here is why:
1. As a young child these shows are what inspired me to study and investigate, so in my opinion these shows encourage the scientists of the future.
2. Its always cool to see amazing images of erupting volcanoes.
3. These shows are very good at explaining things so that everybody can understand them.
4. You get to see things which you may never get to see in real life.
Among other reasons!
It has also been refreshing to see shows which not only just focus on the eruptions themselves but human interest stories and looking at how volcanic eruptions effect the natural environment and animals which get caught up in them. For example I watched a recent show based solely on Octopuses (Octopi?) around Stromboli and how they have learnt/adapted to the hazard of falling blocks from eruptions. Despite the very cheesy opening sequence involving some form of leopard/cheetah jumping into a lava dome that then erupts with Hawaiian 'runny' (or low viscosity) lava, a series of programmes called "Life on Fire" has had some very good filming and fascinating looks at the animals which live around the volcanoes, such as birds who use hot ashed to hatch eggs and the effects of erupting Alaskan volcanoes on Salmon.
Having said this, I do take some exception to some movies, most of them on the budget movie channels, not to be named here but show things with ridiculous titles such as 'Monster Shark vs Giant Octopus' (Syfy channel...cough cough). I have unfortunately had the opportunity to stumble across a couple awful volcano related films. Saying this there are some good dramas, such as the BBC Docudrama 'Supervolcano'.
If you have any comments or disagree in any way, please comment, I am always up for a healthy debate (Keep it clean please).