Waterloo Bay

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Waterloo Bay

Waterloo - geograph.org.uk - 454845.jpg

Tilted mudstones at Waterloo Bay, Larne
Relief Map of Northern Ireland.png
Red pog.svg
Location in Northern Ireland
Location County Antrim, Northern Ireland
OSI/OSNI grid D408037
Coordinates 54°51′07″N5°49′48″W / 54.852°N 5.83°W / 54.852; -5.83 Coordinates: 54°51′07″N5°49′48″W / 54.852°N 5.83°W / 54.852; -5.83
Elevation 0 m
Geology Mercia Mudstone Group, Lias Group
Age Jurassic, Triassic
Topo map OSNI Discoverer 9

Waterloo Bay is an area of foreshore in Larne, Northern Ireland.

Larne Civil parish in County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Larne is a seaport and industrial market town, as well as a civil parish, on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, with a population of 18,323 people in the 2008 Estimate. The Larne Local Government District had a population of 32,180 in 2011. It has been used as a seaport for over 1,000 years, and is today a major passenger and freight roll-on roll-off port. Larne is administered by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. Together with parts of the neighbouring districts of Antrim and Newtownabbey and Causeway Coast and Glens, it forms the East Antrim constituency for elections to the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. The civil parish is situated in the historic barony of Glenarm Upper.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".


The site is of interest to geologists because it provides an unusually clear, complete and accessible example of the sequences from Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic, when the rock types changed from land to marine. [1]

Protected Status

In 1995, Waterloo Bay was designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest for its geological importance. [1]

In 2007, it was a candidate for Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (also known as a GSSP, or 'golden spike') to mark the base of the Jurassic system and Hettangian stage. [2] [3] [4] although the Kujoch in Austria was chosen instead.

Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point

A Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point, abbreviated GSSP, is an internationally agreed upon reference point on a stratigraphic section which defines the lower boundary of a stage on the geologic time scale. The effort to define GSSPs is conducted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, a part of the International Union of Geological Sciences. Most, but not all, GSSPs are based on paleontological changes. Hence GSSPs are usually described in terms of transitions between different faunal stages, though far more faunal stages have been described than GSSPs. The GSSP definition effort commenced in 1977. As of 2012, 64 of the 101 stages that need a GSSP have been formally defined.

The Hettangian is the earliest age and lowest stage of the Jurassic period of the geologic timescale. It spans the time between 201.3 ± 0.2 Ma and 199.3 ± 0.3 Ma. The Hettangian follows the Rhaetian and is followed by the Sinemurian.

Early investigation

Joseph Ellison Portlock studied the Triassic and Jurassic rocks of Ireland in 1843 as part of his engagement by Ordnance Survey Ireland. [3]

Major-General Joseph Ellison Portlock was born at Gosport and was a British geologist and soldier, the only son of Nathaniel Portlock, and a captain in the Royal Navy.

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Ordnance Survey Ireland is the national mapping agency of Ireland. It was established in 2002 as a body corporate. It is the successor to the former Ordnance Survey of Ireland. It and the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) are the ultimate successors to the Irish operations of the British Ordnance Survey. OSI is part of the Irish public service. OSI has made modern and historic maps of the state free to view on its website. OSI is headquartered at Mountjoy House in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Mountjoy House was also the headquarters, until 1922, of the Irish section of the British Ordnance Survey.

In 1864 Ralph Tate made an investigation of the Triassic rocks of Co Antrim, which he reported to the Geological Society of London. [3]

Ralph Tate British botanist

Ralph Tate was a British-born botanist and geologist, who was later active in Australia.

Geological Society of London learned society

The Geological Society of London, known commonly as the Geological Society, is a learned society based in the United Kingdom. It is the oldest national geological society in the world and the largest in Europe with more than 12,000 Fellows. Fellows are entitled to the postnominal FGS, over 2,000 of whom are Chartered Geologists (CGeol). The Society is a Registered Charity, No. 210161. It is also a member of the Science Council, and is licensed to award Chartered Scientist to qualifying members.

The 'Larne Sea Dragon'

In 1999, an ichthyosaur, also popularly known as the 'Larne Sea Dragon' or 'Minnis Monster' [5] was found in the Langport Member strata by Brian McGee. Remains were found of the backbone and rib cage, scattered pieces of the front limbs, the lower jaw, and several teeth. These were uncovered by fossil preparator Andy Cowap and put on display in the Ulster Museum. [6]

From 2007-9, while the Ulster Museum was undergoing refurbishment, the ichthyosaur was exhibited in Larne Tourist Information Centre. [7]

Public right of way

The promenade, a footpath between the foreshore and the low cliffs at Waterloo, is a public right of way. [8]

See also

Geology of Northern Ireland
List of rock formations in the United Kingdom

Related Research Articles

Early Jurassic

The Early Jurassic epoch is the earliest of three epochs of the Jurassic period. The Early Jurassic starts immediately after the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, 201.3 Ma, and ends at the start of the Middle Jurassic 174.1 Ma.

The Aalenian is a subdivision of the Middle Jurassic epoch/series of the geologic timescale that extends from about 174.1 Ma to about 170.3 Ma. It was preceded by the Toarcian and succeeded by the Bajocian.

The Rhaetian is, in geochronology, the latest age of the Triassic period or in chronostratigraphy the uppermost stage of the Triassic system. It lasted from 208.5 to 201.3 million years ago. It was preceded by the Norian and succeeded by the Hettangian.

In the geologic timescale, the Anisian is the lower stage or earliest age of the Middle Triassic series or epoch and lasted from 247.2 million years ago until 242 million years ago. The Anisian age succeeds the Olenekian age and precedes the Ladinian age.

In the geologic timescale the Bathonian is an age and stage of the Middle Jurassic. It lasted from approximately 168.3 Ma to around 166.1 Ma. The Bathonian age succeeds the Bajocian age and precedes the Callovian age.

The Carnian is the lowermost stage of the Upper Triassic series. It lasted from 237 to 227 million years ago (Ma). The Carnian is preceded by the Ladinian and is followed by the Norian. Its boundaries are not characterized by major extinctions or biotic turnovers, but a climatic event occurred during the Carnian and seems to be associated with important extinctions or biotic radiations.

In the geologic timescale, the Sinemurian is an age and stage in the Early or Lower Jurassic epoch or series. It spans the time between 199.3 ± 2 Ma and 190.8 ± 1.5 Ma. The Sinemurian is preceded by the Hettangian and is followed by the Pliensbachian.

The Pliensbachian is an age of the geologic timescale and stage in the stratigraphic column. It is part of the Early or Lower Jurassic epoch or series and spans the time between 190.8 ± 1.5 Ma and 182.7 ± 1.5 Ma. The Pliensbachian is preceded by the Sinemurian and followed by the Toarcian.

In the geologic time scale, the Changhsingian or Changxingian is the latest age or uppermost stage of the Permian. It is also the upper or latest of two subdivisions of the Lopingian epoch or series. The Changhsingian lasted from 254.14 to 251.902 million years ago (Ma). It was preceded by the Wuchiapingian and followed by the Induan.

In the geologic timescale, the Olenekian is an age in the Early Triassic epoch or a stage in the Lower Triassic series. It spans the time between 251.2 Ma and 247.2 Ma. The Olenekian follows the Induan and is followed by the Anisian.

The Induan is, in the geologic timescale, the first age of the Early Triassic epoch or the lowest stage of the Lower Triassic series. It spans the time between 251.902 Ma and 251.2 Ma. It is preceded by the Changhsingian and is followed by the Olenekian.

The Ladinian is a stage and age in the Middle Triassic series or epoch. It spans the time between 242 Ma and ~237 Ma. The Ladinian was preceded by the Anisian and succeeded by the Carnian.

Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast SSSI

Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast SSSI is a 742.8 hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest between Blue Anchor and Lilstock in Somerset, notified in 1971.

The geology of Wales is complex and varied; its study has been of considerable historical significance in the development of geology as a science. All geological periods from the Cryogenian to the Jurassic are represented at outcrops, whilst younger sedimentary rocks occur beneath the seas immediately off the Welsh coast. The effects of two mountain-building episodes have left their mark in the faulting and folding of much of the Palaeozoic rock sequence. Superficial deposits and landforms created during the present Quaternary period by water and ice are also plentiful and contribute to a remarkably diverse landscape of mountains, hills and coastal plains.

The Norian is a division of the Triassic geological period. It has the rank of an age (geochronology) or stage (chronostratigraphy). The Norian lasted from ~227 to 208.5 million years ago. It was preceded by the Carnian and succeeded by the Rhaetian.

The Penarth Group is a Rhaetian age (Triassic) lithostratigraphic group which is widespread in Britain. It is named from the seaside town of Penarth near Cardiff in south Wales where strata of this age are exposed in coastal cliffs southwards to Lavernock Point. This sequence of rocks was previously known as the Rhaetic.

Fossil Beach (Sedbury Cliffs)

Fossil Beach, in Sedbury, Gloucestershire, is beneath the Sedbury Cliffs by the River Severn and is known as a rich source of easily discovered fossils. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).