National Park sites among country’s top 100
Two natural features of the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been ranked among the top 100 geological sites in the UK and Ireland.
Malham Cove and Gaping Gill have been included in a list compiled by the Geological Society and partner organisations to celebrate Earth Science Week 2014, which ends on Sunday (October 19).
The 70m high Malham Cove has won a place in the top 10 features in the ‘Landscape’ while Gaping Gill, the huge pothole below Ingleborough that could house St Paul’s Cathedral, was listed among the 10 best in the ‘adventurous’ category.
Robert White, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Historic Environment officer, said: “The geology of the National Park is often an underappreciated part of the scenery but it forms the skeleton of the Yorkshire Dales landscape, having been eroded by wind, rain, ice and snow, clothed in vegetation and transformed by human activity.
“It is good to see that two of the classic limestone features of the Yorkshire Dales have been have been recognised by the Geological Society.”
Malham Cove has been visited by generations of school parties studying the landscape of the Dales and its origins are complex. It was formed mainly by an ice stream trapped beneath an ice sheet, the rock face plucked out by ice slowly descending a natural cliff which had originally been created by a series of major earthquakes which created the North Craven Fault over 300 million years ago.
Gaping Gill is the most famous of all the Yorkshire Dales potholes. The small stream of Fell Beck drains off the slopes of Ingleborough and falls as a waterfall some 98m into a massive chamber below. The water then disappears, only to eventually emerge by Ingleborough Cave.
Access to Gaping Gill is normally restricted to experienced cavers but the Bradford Pothole Club and the Craven Pothole Club each stage a week-long event every year at which members of the public can be lowered into it.
Photo by Phil Catterall [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.