Letter | Published:

Early Tertiary Pollen Deposits in Ireland

Naturevolume 193page600 (1962) | Download Citation



VERY little work has been published on pollen-analysis of Tertiary fresh-water deposits in the British Isles, although there is a considerable literature dealing with Continental work. Recently I attempted to date three Tertiary sites in Ireland by their fossil pollen content. They are: (1) a small deposit of lignitic clay at Ballymacadam, County Tipperary1; (2) the Lough Neagh Clays, an extensive deposit of clays, sands and lignites, about 400 metres thick in the borehole described by Wright2; (3) interbasaltic lignites of the Antrim basalt series3. The Lough Neagh Clays and underlying Antrim basalts occupy a very large area in north-east Ireland. None of the three deposits has been dated satisfactorily. Wright2 tentatively suggested an early Tertiary date for the Lough Neagh Clays; Simpson4 proposed a late Miocene or early Pliocene date for the interbasaltic lignites and an early Tertiary, perhaps late Eocene, age has been tentatively put forward for Ballymacadam1. I examined samples from Ballymacadam, from the interbasaltic beds at several sites, but especially from Craigahulliar quarry near Portrush, and from the Lough Neagh Clays from exposures at Thistleborough near Glenavy, County Antrim, and from boreholes at Washing Bay and Mire House, County Tyrone, which penetrated to the base of the clays. The Lough Neagh Clay samples, especially from Thistleborough, and the Ballymacadam samples contained abundant well-preserved pollen. The interbasaltic pollen was in poor condition.

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  1. 1

    Watts, W. A., Sci. Proc. Roy. Dublin Soc., 27, 309 (1957).

  2. 2

    Wright, W. B., Quart. J. Geol. Soc. Lond., 80, 468 (1924).

  3. 3

    Cole, G. A. J., et al., “Interbasaltic Rocks of North-East Ireland”, Mem. Geol. Surv. Ireland (H.M.S.O., 1912).

  4. 4

    In Eyles, V. A., “Composition and Origin of Antrim Laterites and Bauxites”, Mem. Geol. Surv. Belfast (H.M.S.O., 1952).

  5. 5

    Krutzsch, W., Z. angew. Geol., 11/12, 509 (1957).

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  1. Department of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin

    • W. A. WATTS


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