Terry Jaspers checks out the peat that has been stacked to dry.

The landscape of the Burren has been shaped by geological forces for hundreds of millions of years. The rocks that make up the Burren were all formed during the Carboniferous period between 359 and 299  million years ago. What makes the Burren landscape different from other glaciated landscapes is the dissolution of the underlying limestones by water. This landscape is termed ‘Karst’ after the Kras region in Slovenia where this type of dissolution-dominated landscape was first described. The Burren is most correctly termed a ‘glaciokarst’ region. This is an area where the development of karst features (karstification) has been influenced by the effects of glacification.

In the Burren are there are two major rock types; the lighter colored limestones to the north and east and the darker siltstones, shales, and sandstones to the southwest. The limestones which make up the typical bare Burren landscape were buried by the slightly younger siltstones and sandstones, which make up the Cliffs of Moher.

Rock fences cross the land, providing a way to corral small herds of sheep and cattle that can thrive in these areas. Michael said the steep parts of the mountain are usually grazed by sheep and often times flocks are run together in an area. Blue or red markings on the animals’ backs indicate ownership. Dogs are used to round up the sheep.

Cattle graze.

 

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