After writing about my fortuitous find at the Langdale Pikes, it brought back memories of several trips to the Haystacks. Of which many were performed in the howling wind and rain, not uncommon for the Lake District. On one very memorable day I was helping a friend with his dissertation fieldwork and the wind was so strong that at one point he actually had to catch me to stop me blowing away! Suffice to say we didnt spend too much more time on the hill.
Anyhow, the Haystacks (pictured below) are another part of the Borrowdale volcanics and make for a very interesting walk (on a good day you can see Scafell Pike and Great Gable for example). In the area are a number of volcanic features including pyroclastic tuff deposits at an area called little round how (if I remember correctly) and the site of a pepperitic contact (something I shall discuss in a later post). One of the most intriguing deposits is littered across the summit of the haystacks itself and can be described as a series of andesitic folds which are thought to have been part of a doming formation. Although detailed research has yet to be completed, to my knowledge anyway. These folds are pictured in the image above where the banding of the folds can be clearly seen.
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.