Tuesday, July 20, 2004

On the mountain -- Part 2

Here's another pic from the ice-carved corrie on the flank of Mount Brandon. The parallel grooves you see running from lower right to upper left are surface scratches from the glacier that harbored here just 10,000 years ago.

A careful observer will find these scratches all along the valley, invariably pointing down hill.

In the mid-nineteenth century, John Ball, an Alpine mountaineer, visited these steep-sided, bowl-shaped valleys on the Dingle Peninsula and noticed their similarities to mountain valleys in Switzerland where living glaciers reside today. He was among the first to suggest that much of northern Europe was fairly recently covered with ice.

The idea of an ice age in Ireland was no less fabulous in the first telling than stories of the magical god-hero Finn Mac Cool, who was also supposed to have inhabited these slopes. The ice, however, left behind far more persuasive evidence.