Palaeo-environmental interpretation of a classic deep-marine outcrop


The modern world is a product of innovations, transformation, and land changing processes. The developments emanate from various disciplines that work together to ensure growth. Similarly, other subjects with the same agenda operate with the same notion in ensuring the prevailing population does not lag behind with reference to their preparedness in case of natural disasters. Geography is the study of earth and its land forming processes and forces (Aberystwyth Grits Group, 2013).  The discipline is vital because it enables humanity to understand their habitat and provide the relevant information that help about survivability (Spurgeon, 2005). At least, one million natural features prevail in the present generation. They indicate various land forming and changing processes that lead to the current situation. Silurian period denotes one of the crucial moments in the geologic calendar. It reveals various forces responsible for some beautification and destruction of the face of the earth (Blatt and Tracy, 2006). The periods tell stories of how the world looked like even before civilization. As a result, the changes between the past and the present can provide a hint of what the next phase or process will look like. Therefore, the paper provides a paleo-environmental interpretation of Aberystwyth outcrop in the UK along the Cardigan Bay (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). It provides an inquiry to the land forming processes responsible for the current view of the land. Additionally, it uses the knowledge of effect of erosion and other faulting and folding forces to explain the age and significance of a marine outcrop. The research utilizes a blend of qualitative and quantitative survey to fulfill the objectives of the research. Moreover, it utilizes architectural sketching and sedimentation to provide a 2D picture revealing the paleo-environmental status of the Aberystwyth (Hiscock, 2006). Nonetheless, the survey, utilizes purposive random sampling to select the ideal respondents for the study. On the other hand, the research has limitations including reliance of secondary data which increases its marginal error (Dunham, 2002).


Natural resources are among the most appealing features to man due to the control that the mechanisms manifest (Spurgeon, 2005). Manmade creations or products relay the manipulation of their maker to survive. On the other hand, the natural endowments can portray survival behavior which enhances their attractiveness. Moreover, they serve as a learning point for the other organisms especially human beings. Geography is a fascinating discipline due to its focus of study. I majors on the earth formation processes and the presence of features. For instance, a river is instrumental to the people within its banks and the adjacent community (Aberystwyth Grits Group, 2013). However, rarely do people question the origin of the river or the series of processes that led to water flowing in that bed. On the other hand, the community will show concern when the river dries up. Since it was useful to the people its loss will affect a significant proportion of the population. Therefore, the study that seeks to understand the origin of a river can help in the explanation of the loss of flow. Additionally, it can isolate symptoms that reveal the impending danger of drying out suppose the appropriate actions are not in place. As a result, the discipline helps in improving the interaction between the natural endowments and the human community. Studies indicate that a majority of the destructions processes to the order of natural features originate from human activities or interference (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). Therefore, enforcing sustainable use will guarantee the perpetuation of both natural and human activities on the face of earth. Nonetheless, natural features are of significance to humanity due to their uniqueness regarding functionality and locality. Some landforms prevail in certain climatic and geographical conditions. Moreover, some of the land forming processes takes centuries to unveil a resultant feature. For instance, the existence of the seven continents emanate from earth tectonic forces that led to the drifting of various landmasses separating from ‘Godwanaland’ (Griffiths, 2001). Different regions around the world have unique features that make them tourist destinations or geographical case studies. The USA has the Great Canyon while the UK has he Aberystwyth Grits outcrop. It is located along the shoreline of Cardigan Bay. It stretches a length of 26 miles in a crescent line. The rocks are located along the Monograptus turriculatas zones and the M. cripus regions. These regions are continuous and visibly inseparable from each other. They create a lithological unit consisting of interbedded greywakes and mudstone parts. These rocks are well exposed running along the cliffs, they are wave- worn and cut through beds expose the internal sedimentary structures. There is a large obscurity between the stratigraphical and structural relationship between the upper Lladoverian rocks and the Aberystwyth grits. The lithological horizons cannot be well mapped and the rocks show high levels of folding (Briggs, 1994). The grits stem from a series of land interruptions engineered by tectonic forces. The folding and the overlaying upper rocks emanate from different land forming processes and periods.

The Aberystwyth grit serves as one of the vital geologic references in the UK. Its lithography is unique due to its association with the Silurian period (Dunham, 2002). It characterizes high aesthetic values including the sites of the Niagara Falls in Michigan. They developed as a result of erosion and undercutting of the soft shale. Other features as a result of the period include Pleistocene Epoch and Bruce Peninsula. The Aberystwyth consist of the Cymtydu, Aberarth, and the New Quay. The three form a distinctive region of study that offers insight to the rest of the marine outcrop feature (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). Despite their geologic significance they also have a socio-economic benefit to the people in that region. Therefore, humanity should perceive their geologic deposits are areas for conservation rather than demolition to create more room for settlement. The effects of human activities on the face of the globe outdo the natural compensation rate (Griffiths, 2001).

Therefore, sustainable production and co-existence remains the only sufficient way to fulfill the dreams of mankind and ensure they survive for the longest period possible.  Regardless of the attention that the relevant authorities lay on the geologic importance of natural feature to a society, it continues to ensure balance through its complex relationship in the ecosystem balance (Briggs, 1994). They offer natural habitats to some species that in turn fulfill their roles in the maintenance of the trophic levels to ensure survivability of the biosphere. As a result, ensuring the sites receive the necessary protection and prevail in the desired conditions will avert natural disasters for the longest period possible. Despite the economic and social significance, they have an impact on the geologic timetable and play a vital role in ensuring balance (Aberystwyth Grits Group, 2013). Despite a majority of people visiting the site for excursion purposes, it also has scientific values that geographers study. The values emanate from the interpretations of the geologic or ecological significance of the marine outcrop. The biosphere thrives due the balance that the different organisms and features generate. Therefore, interference to the relationship will lead to the deterioration of survivable conditions leading to the decline in population of some species or the alteration of the arrangement of the physical stature (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004).



Geological Setting/Background

Borth and New Quay are located in the south composing mainly of the lowest beds.  Tectonic forces influence the crescentic outcrop shape and run of the coastal region. Most of the structure is however composed of many periclinical folds consisting of faulted axial planes with axis aligned in an N-S orientation in Borth- Aberystwyth zones and reallignes slowly to NE-SW as one heads to the south (Briggs, 1994). The fold axes begin to plunge towards the south in the northern regions and towards the north of those in the southern regions. There is however a few number of exceptions (Dunham, 2002). There is a possibility of co-relating the faults due to the height of the faults. Normal and tear faults are found in many parts of these zones. At first site, the total thickness may seem great but a closer assessment reveals that this is mainly due to the transverse faults throwing against the dip, this is however not so (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). The southern part of this region may contain as much as 4000-5000 feet of beds. The bedding and the salty cleavages show a general N-S orientation. An interesting occurrence is that one would expect newer rocks to lie in the Aberystwyth  due to the anticline that seemingly runs through it with prevalent dips of up to angles of 45 degrees, but in contradiction there is a reversal of the dips with mudstones  appearing and going down to the Llondiverian regions. According to geological survey the gritty faces die out as one extends eastwards and shows the origin of the change in dip to be a syncline. Putting these factors into consideration, it would be expected that the Aberystwyth is of the same geological age as the upper regions of the mudstones (Hiscock, 2006).

A glance at the rocks would create an impression of a significant difference between the rocks containing the grit bands and those without them (Aberystwyth Grits Group, 2013). There is however very little difference between these rocks as the latter are basically composed of bed alterations.




Main Objective


The main objective of this project is to use modern geological and sedimentary knowledge to provide a Palaeo-environmental interpretation of the Aberystwyth Grits outcrop in the UK.


Specific Objectives


  1. Identify a well exposed section of the rock
  2. Use sediment logging and architectural sketching to develop 2d and 3D picture of the outcrops
  3. Compare the data with analogous systems
  4. Develop a paleo-environmental picture of the facies in 3D geometry, dimensions and facies distribution














Literature Review



            The word Aberystwyth Grit was first used by a scholar Keeping, who first made a detailed study of these region in the year 1881 (Dunham, 2002). The next publication in the area did not occur until the year 1912 when Jones studied their ages and their comparison to grits located in the Teifi anticline. He did further research in the area in 1938 and concluded that the greywakes originated in the west. Jones concluded that the course sediments must have been deposited during the shallow winter (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). In 1956, William Smith gave a lecture to the Geological Society and stated that there was strong evidence to suggest that there was no great depth during the grey wakes formation. An opposing opinion was introduced by Rich in 1950 and Kuenen in 1953. According to Rich, the sediments were as a result of density currents which created a deposition on the continental slope. He identified the ridges alignment on the lower side of the grit elements which he concluded were due to the infilling of the eroded grooves by currents. He noticed convolutions of laminae inside the bands of grit and deduced that they were caused by the motion of the overlying beds downwards towards the continental slope (Briggs, 1994). Kuenen`s work supported Rich and stated the bands of grit must have been deposited in deep waters by either turbidity currents or density currents. He further stated the currents originated from the S-S-W during his discussions concerning the bed grading. It is however important to note that Rich and Kuenen only spent a couple of days at the site.

Lewis who was a professor of Geology described a couple of bedding faults and built relations between some minor structures that were present in 1946. In 1929, Williams identified a couple of scratches which were curios, similar scratches were further identified in 1929 (Houlder, 1994).  The year 1930 saw the identification of graded beddings by Bailey leading to the discovery of various minor scratches. The grit bands are composed of many curley beddings and some contorted small scale bedding (Aberystwyth Grits Group, 2013).

Delving into the paleontological bit of research in this region, Ollivant, a professor in Lampeter College discovered worm tracks which have so far been discovered in other areas. In 1847, Sedwig published a paper releasing 15 fossil specimens, 2 trilobites and brachiopods in the Devil`s bridge region and some near the Dyfyrn Castel (Price, 2011). Graptolites are however the major fossil which Cardingashire is well known for, Ramsey in his 1886 paper states that Sir Henry was the first to identify them. There are however records that show that Hopkins was the first to successfully classify them in the year 1869 (Houlder, 1994).

The works done by Wood and Smith in 1959 is a good show of the turbidite system composing of proximal to near distal facies changes. It also contains specific turbidite beds showing Bourna structural sequence as was published in 1962 by Walker. Cave and Hains, 1986 showed that the system conformed to simle constructional fans when run under modern fan modelling systems. The system showed the expected inner-outer fan transitions (Houlder, 1994). Work conducted by Cave and Haines in 1986 showed that the grit covered a wide periclinal syncline that was under layerd by the Boorth Mudstones together with the Devils bridge in the N-E. Anktell and Lovell showed that Grogal sandstones also covered this region in the S-W direction. This work was further confirmed by Smith and Anktell in 1992. Loydell, 1991 stated that the base of the group is majorly diachronus. These rocks are mainly located in the gemmatus subzone which is found in the S-W together with the renaudi subzone mainly in the N-E hence alluding to a local coeval deposition. The synclinal interpretations were supported by te Loydell faunas in the subzones (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). The core of the structure was mainly occupied by the youngest strata.

Publications by Wilson et al in the British Geological survey have caused significant changes in the sedimentology and structural set –up of the Aberystwyth Grits (Price, 2011). The paper shows that the Aberystwyth Grits do not conform to the Bouma type when analysed over a wide area. A complex belt consisting of folding and fracturing defines the eastern boundaries. It also denotes the southern extension composed of the Glandyfi lineament and the most recently discovered Bronnant Fault (Lewis, 2000). Facies development was mainly affected by the syndepositional motion on the Bronnant fault leading to the development of lateral faults instead of the expected down current facies. The paper hence argues that a simple turbidite fan model can be convincingly used to describe the Aberystwyth grit turbidite (Ellis and Levy, 2008).

Significance of marine outcrop

Marine outcrop especially linked to the Silurian period are not common in the word. They occur in distinctive parts of the world due to the alignment of the period. Also, their uniqueness emanates from the increased effect of human activities leading to increased erosion and encroachment. As a result, the presence of a marine outcrop is rare and essential for humanity. Based on their essentiality they act as sites of attractions to different people pursing various agenda (Howells, 2007). Additionally, their scenic beauty facilitates their attractive aspect. Conversely, regions that host them are fortunate to an array of benefits and challenges that the other locations around the world do not face. The marine outcrop serves as a point of interest for geologic study and attracts scholars on the field from different parts of the world. As a result, it generates both an economic and academic significance to the region. Just like literature, geography as disciplines has its fan base and a series of benefits that help in understanding the landforms and processes responsible for these actions (Lewis, 2000). Therefore, both scholars and people that visit the region to fulfill their aesthetic desire; they contribute to the economic development and sound reputation of the place. Since they require accommodation during their stay, the building of restaurants serves as an opportunity for the locals and the country. Consequently, it contributes in the shaping of their hospitality industry. It will lead in the creation of employment opportunities thus improving the living standards of the people in the region and the country.

Similarly, it will enhance the geographical knowledge of the people interested in the marine outcrops and other features present in the region.  Also, it has a sociological impact since the people that visit the region regardless of their intent end up interacting with the locals. Moreover, people from different regions might meet due to a common interest (geological or excursion) and share resources (Hunter and Easterbrook, 2004). As a result, it will generate a cultural effect because of the dilution of both the local and the foreign cultures represented in the region. Therefore, the presence of a geographical feature might serve to meet more than the academic needs of the population interested in the region. On the other hand, they comprise of other unique features in different parts of the world that tell the story of the evolution and the Silurian period. Conversely, it appends a cultural sense to the locals and other people from different parts of the world that manifest the same characteristic. Subsequently, they serve as an indicator of both identity and heritage to the people living in the region (Howells, 2007). The study of geologic features to reveal their origin and the various processes undergone to reach the current status explain the earth’s transformation pattern. The latter is vital in predicting natural disasters and provision of proof that sustainable development is the appropriate course of actions. Therefore, the appropriate utilization of the geographic feature serves to benefit not only the locals around the place but the entire fate of humanity (Ricardo and Robert, 2003).





The determinant of a research is its manner or order of operation. Survey is fundamental in the society and in the field of science (Johnson and Christensen, 2008). Its relevance hinges on the accuracy of the results and the proficiency of the methods applied. Different audiences of problem require varying tactics to unveil the cause of the problem and fulfill the objectives of the research (Lewis, 2000). For instance, a sociological issue will require a different approach from that of an experimental problem. Therefore, the section outlines and discusses the participants, method, procedure, data analysis and the data quality and verification.


It involves the people that contribute in the provision of the results of the study. Conversely, the interpretation of the Aberystwyth outcrop will not only necessitate the input from the people in the surrounding community but scientists from different disciplines to show the relevance of the feature. The research will seek contribution from 50 locals within the feature based on the extent of the outcrop (Ceredigion, 2012). Additionally, to obtain the scientific interpretation of the outcrop, five professional bodies including the geographical society of the region will attend to the study. The selection of the participants was based in purposive random sampling. However, gender and age were not issues of concern provided the respondent was sane and could comprehend the questions or points of inquiry of the study (Toghill, 2010). Nonetheless, the documentation of their ages and sexual orientations were necessary to fulfill the protocol of the study. Since the feature is a tourist attraction site, it was necessary to document the origin of the participant to separate the perspective of the locals and that of tourists. Some of the participants revealed that the area or feature is of interest to various professional bodies. According to them, they respond to, at least, 11 questionnaires per annum from different organization that seeks information about the marine outcrop.


The research utilizes both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of surveying. The resultant study design is a blend of the two authoritative methods. The qualitative aspect seeks to investigate the personal view of the outcrop to succinct an interpretation. People can only interpret a feature based on their sociological, political, and economic experience (Ricardo and Robert, 2003). Additionally, the qualitative components investigate the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction that the feature solicits in their view. The opinion of the community is relevant in the provision of a scientific or sociological interpretation of an aspect. The qualitative method utilizes questionnaires to obtain the information of interest from the community.  They are open-ended to accommodate the vast description of the people concerning the features. Also, it helps in the derivation of the feeling (positive or negative) of the locale regarding the natural endowments. Additionally, it aids in revealing the level of knowledge that the community possess about the Aberystwyth outcrop.  The latter is essential in the determination of the quantity of outreach required to create awareness on the essence of the feature. On the other hand, the quantitative component helps in the provision of details about the feature (Morgan, 2007). They include the geologic period, land forming process, and the forces or contributing factor to its current state. The insight to the unique components does not require the input of the community because it borrows from scientific methods. It utilizes evidence to estimate the ages and the land processes that lead to its formation. For instance, the alignment of rocks can reveal the age of the upper layer thus help in the estimation of the layer of interest. Nonetheless, the quantitative components help in the application of various methods to reveal the essence and its varied interpretation.

The quantitative aspect is broad, and is prudent to highlight the exact method of study to portray the strengths and limitations of the survey (Howells, 2007). The study utilizes an experimental design to fulfill the requirements of the study. It involves obtaining samples from the sediments or layers of interest. Additionally, it utilizes photographs to reveal the pictorial representation of the outcrop. Furthermore, the variables of interest are not useful to the researcher without prior knowledge about the feature. As a result, literature review is necessary. Since the research involves the interpretation of a feature it should compare it to other feature either of the same geologic period or similar land forming processes (Morgan, 2007). Therefore, the study has components of comparison study. The information aids in the description of the origin of the feature, its age, and the future of the feature based on its timeline. Moreover, the comparison also helped in the identification of tools that made the research successful. For instance, the information from Keeping that estimate the origin of the formation process in the 18th century assist in the profiling and the geologic background of the study. Moreover, the geologic setting information is a product of literature. Suppose the research was to indulge in another study to investigate the geologic background of the location it would incur additional cost and time making the research both expensive and irrelevant. Therefore, utilization of information from the previous scholars helps the study in fulfilling its objective and adhering to the deadline (Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, 2006). Conversely, the research was successful due to the blending of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of survey designs.


Science is a generous discipline because it is not holistic. Therefore, a single component is not capable of fulfilling the entire expectation of the study (Creswell, 2013). Therefore, researchers provide details about their survey revealing their results, methods, and limitations to aid other researchers in the same field of study. The research has six main components including the literature review, collecting information via questionnaire, identification of exposed sections of the outcrop, utilization of architectural sketching to develop a 2D picture, comparison of the data with other systems and development of a paleo-environmental picture of the facies of the outcrop.

Phase 1

The first stage involves literature review, collecting of information and the identification of the exposed sections (Creswell, 2013). Each study begins with prior information concerning the subject to avail a better problem statements and background of the feature. The literature review utilizes secondary data to aid in time management and provides an informed decision basis regarding the research method. The information originates from geographic studies, research methods, and sociological skills. After the attainment of access to relevant information and ensuring the selection of the research design adheres to the data, primary collection of information follows. It utilizes the distribution of questionnaires to the participants based on the sampling method. The survey utilizes purposive random sampling to identify the ideal sample to obtain respondents. The method involves random selection with a unique attribute of interest. For instance, the respondents of interest are those from the region and not tourists. Provided the person is from the region they have an equal chance of responding to the questions of the research (Toghill, 2010). The final activity of the first phase involves identification of an appropriately exposed section of the rock for investigation. Research methods should not erode or affect the integrity of a landform. Therefore, the study should investigate and leave while the feature is intact. As a result, the final activity of the first phase involves the survey of the outcrop through observation and taking pictures (Ceredigion, 2012). The process should lead to the obtaining of a unique spot of side of the outcrop that provides a better view of the rocks and layers revealing their orientation.


Phase 2

The last aspect of the study involves the utilization of architectural sketching, comparison of the analogous system, and the development of a paleo-environmental picture in 2D of the Aberystwyth outcrop. Sediment logging and architectural sketching employ the same principle in the identification of the layers and the ages of different fragments within the strata. It involves obtaining a sample of the outcrop. However, it is vital to exercise caution during the process to ensure the stability of the feature prevails (Ceredigion, 2012). Architectural sketching aids in the identification of the varying sediments and layers within the sample. Additionally, exposing the sample to different pH conditions to determine its state is part of the sediment logging. After obtaining the architectural picture, a comparison ensues. The latter emanates from two processes. The first one involves comparison using samples from different parts of the outcrop of study while the other one entails using literature of previously obtained sample pictures. The final activity in the research is development of a paleo-environmental picture of the outcrop. The final picture is a product of the other five steps in the procedure. Resultantly, the picture involves the age of the outcrop, its formation process, environmental significance and relationship in the ecological balance within the geographical niche (Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, 2006).


It uses sedimentological logging and architectural sketching to develop a detailed 2D picture of the outcrops, and use the data collected as a comparison to analogous systems such as the Jaca Basin, Spain, and to more comprehensive studies (Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, 2006)to develop a picture of the palaeoenvironment in terms of facies in terms of 3D geometry, dimensions and facies distribution (Lloyd, Orbach and Scourfield, 2006).



Figure: Outcrop which shows hybrid beds, overlain by medium bedded turbidites and finally thick amalgamated high-density turbidites. The vertical succession could be considered to represent an overall prograding deep-marine system, with the lobe fringe at the base, the medial lobe above and finally a distributary channel or feeder at the top. Such sequences have been observed in other deep-marine systems and this system will be compared to those






















This study area facies( Lobe fringe ) Approximately 30 m thick, which comprises with
parallel laminated and structureless turbiditic mudstones intercalated , with turbiditic siltstone
and rarer sandstones. Laminated hemipelagites are in some areas. Mudstone beds are laterally
continuous,while siltstone and fine- to medium grained sandstone seen to vary laterally.


Interpretation: The sediments are positioned both at the margins of the lobe sediments and
between the huge sandstone lobe packets (Ceredigion, 2012). The hemipelagic sediments represent the background
sedimentation of the basin while the silt turbidites show the effect of dilute turbidite currenty






Description: This study area Clarach formation is exposed on the coast in the cliff (SN) comprises asequence of medium to thin-bedded sandstone and mudstone , representing a suite of classicalBouma turbiditic , mainly displaying Tbe or Tce sequences. Basal Ta intervals are rare and thin, the sandstone shows different structure, including common flutes and diverse suite of trace fossil (Palaeodictyon) seen. The sandstones are typically planar, cross or convolutelaminated (Tb-c devisions) (Cardigan Bay Coastal Group, 2014). The overlying siltstone and mudstone intervals are usually thickergrading from the underlying sandstone and representing upper divisions (Td-e) of Bouma
Sequence. Hemipelagic mudstone are rarely preserved beneath erosive sandstone bases (fig6 e).

The palaeocurrent direction is to the south-southeast (1660). Bioturbation in the
form of graphoglyptid burrows is present in some facies and the base of some of tubidite deposits. The deposits are Tcde and Tce divisions of turbidites currents. In the North- Northeast shows that lack of inter digitation between the deposits in the south direction. There is no evidence for reflected flows have totally opposing flow directions (1400) of the same age only separated by lateral distance of 1 km (Cardigan Bay Coastal Group, 2014). It is possible that the anomalous palaeo-current direction may be the result of the presence of the northern structural high and sediment source.














Location: Aberarth (South north) The main field (Sketching)



Description: This study area Aberarth is predominantly sandstone dominated is located in the
north part of New Quay, on the northern side of the anticline. The sediments in this area are
lateral coarser sediments. There is evidence of variety of ichnofossils such as, Gordia marina
Paleodictyon, helminthopsis.
Facies include :
– Deformed sediments😦 injected sandstone)post depositional deformation by loading and
-Debris flow :(plastic flows)
– Graded and laminated sandstone with subfacies:
a) interbedded graded sandstone ( Low-density turbidity current)
b) Interbedded laminated sandstone (Sustained strong seafloor currents)
– Massive sandstone : Interbedded massive sandstone (high density turbidity current),
Amalgamated sandstone and dewatered (high density turbidity current ,modifying by dewatering).



Sandstone are sharp with graded tops. Also the reverse grading at the base of some sandstone beds while the tops are rippled. They have bouma sequence as well as a variety of partial ones for Bouma sequence of Tacde, Tace, Tbce,Tcde and Tce (Cardigan Bay Coastal Group, 2014). Some Td divisions show
evidence of having been deposited from dilute turbidity currents. From the Tcde to Tce some
sandstone beds are seen to grade laterally.
The mudstones are structure-less or parallel laminated. They may contain sandstone, siltstone or
mudstone intra-formational rip up clasts up (22cm) length scale and (2cm) height scale and it is
oriented parallel or subparallel to bedding seen fig(d). The larger clasts are located towards the
tops of the beds (fig d) while the smaller fragments are distrusted throughout.
Siltstone beds are rare and commonly laterally discontinuous over distances meters . They are
sharp based and internally may be classified as Tde series (Cardigan Bay Coastal Group, 2014).





Figure 11 i) Massive sandstone Amalgamated high density turbidity current. J)

Location : New Quay (South)



Description: This study area New Quay is dominated by coarse to granule grade, thick bedded
sandstones although there is evidence of upward finning and thinning with a decrease in the
sandstone : mudstone ratio up . The sedimentary facies are Massive sandstones (Amalgamated
sandstone). Graded and laminated sandstones interbedded graded sandstones)low density
turbidity current.
The mudstones range from structureless to parallel laminated. The intercalated siltstones are thin
to very thinly laminated and are lenticular continuous to discontinuous over distances of meters.
Internallythey are Tcde, Tce and Tde, bases are commonly sharp although there is minor loading (Pevsner, (1970).
Sandstones are fine to coarse grained with granule grade fragments located at the tops of reverse
grading sequence. Amalgamation of the sandstone beds in common. Internally, the sandstone
display Tabce, Tabe, Tacde. Bases are sharp with minor loading. Rafts of cross-laminated
sandstone are distributed throughout one sandstone.

Figure 12 a) Amalgamated sandstone high density turbidity current. b)

Location : Cymtydu ( South) Sketching










Data Analysis



Aberystwyth Grits Formation Log

Aberarth (SN) Scale: 25  m








Injected Sandstone



Aberarth is located near the coast south of New Quay and it was logged 25 m. The Aberarth formation is dominated by the coarse granule graded sandstones. A number of facies types were founded at this locality including: Interbedded graded sandstones, Interbedded laminated sandstone, Heterolithic sediments, Injected sandstones, slides/slumps and Debris flow.

The mudstones are structureless or parallel laminated, it contain fine sandstone, siltstone or mudstone intraformational intraclasts up to 20 cm and oriented parallel or subparallel to bedding (Pevsner, 1970). The larger clasts are located towards the tops of the beds while the smaller fragments are distributed throughout.

The siltstones are laterally continuous with long distances of 10 meters. Some of the beds are classified according to Bouma sequence such as, Tabce, Tabe, Tcde, and Tde, and the bases are sharp while the tops are rarely rippled.

Sandstones are fine to very coarse with granules, the beds base are commonly sharp with a variety of bottom structures such as, flutes casts, flames, concretions, ball and pillow structures, sandstone loading (Pevsner, 1970). Many of sandstone beds are Tabce, Tabe, Tace and Tae, some sandstone beds contain mudstone or siltstone intraformational clasts oriented parallel or subparallel to bedding. The clasts are located at the top, bottom or throughout the beds amalgamation in the top.


Borth (North)  scale: 8m /  Clarach (North) Scale: 10 m









Borth and clarach formation are both located in the north, it was logged 8 m thickness in the borth and 10m thickness log in the clarach. The sediments in both areas are lateral equivalents of the coarser sediments compared to the Aberarth formation. There is evidence of flute cast, concretions, paleodictyon, load casts. The facies are including: Heterolithic sediments and mudstones, Injected sandstones, slides/slumps and Debris flows.

Sandstone base are sharps with graded tops, the base of some sandstone beds while the tops of others are rippled. They have Bouma sequences such as, Tacde, Tace, Tbce,Tcde and Tce. Some Td divisions illustrate evidence of having been deposited from turbidity currents. A number of the sandstone beds are seen grade laterally from Tcde to Tce.

Siltstone beds are rare and commonly laterally discontinuous over distances of meters and they are sharp based.

Mudstones are both structureless and parallel laminated.









New Quay (South) Scale: 11m







The New Quay formation is located in the south part of Aberystwyth; it was logged 11m thickness in details. The formation is dominated by coarse to granule grained, thick-bedded sandstones and there is evidence both of upward fining and thinning with a decrease in sandstone and mudstone percentage in the division.  The sedimentary facies are Interbedded graded sandstone, Interbedded Laminated sandstones, heterolithic sediments, injected sandstones, slides/slumps and Debris flows (Pevsner, 1970).

The mudstones are structureless to parallel laminated. The intercalated siltstones are thin to very thinly laminate and are continuous to discontinuous over distances of meter; the bases are commonly sharp although there is minor loading (Toghill, 2010).

Sandstones are fine to coarse grained with granule grade fragments at the top of the divisions. Amalgamation of the sandstone bed is common and internally, the sandstones display Tabce, Tabe, Tacde and Tace divisions, where the Tc division is rarely convolute, the bases are sharp with minor loading, rafts of cross-laminated sandstone are distributed (Dorrik and Stow, 2005).

Cymtydu (South) Scale: 6m


The Cumtudi formation is located in the south part of Aberystwyth; it was logged 6 m thickness in details. The formation is dominated by coarse to granule grained, thick-bedded sandstones are in form of pillow beds and there is evidence both of upward fining and thinning with a decrease in sandstone and mudstone percentage in the division.  The sedimentary facies are Interbedded graded sandstone, Interbedded Laminated sandstones, heterolithic sediments, injected sandstones, slides/slumps and Debris flows.

The mudstones are structureless to parallel laminated (Toghill, 2010). The intercalated siltstones are thin to very thinly laminate and are continuous to discontinuous over distances of meter; the bases are commonly sharp although there is minor loading.

Sandstones are fine to coarse grained with granule grade fragments at the top of the divisions. Amalgamation of the sandstone bed is common and internally, the sandstones display Tabce, Tabe, Tacde and Tace divisions, where the Tc division is rarely convolute (Dorrik and Stow, 2005).


Often people claim that there is no need to dwell in the past but focus on the future. However, the past is essential as the present and the future. Therefore, information from the past should help in making current decisions and the preparations for the future. The human and universe system reveals that it is continuous and operates as a circle. For instance, prolonged droughts often occur after floods. Despite the lack of a unique pattern in the prediction of droughts, there is a common sequence that portrays a similar behavior throughout the process. Therefore, humanity can utilize the information to handle the future on a better capacity. Most of the land forming processes are extensive and lead to massive damage whenever they occur. Earth transformation forces including faulting and folding change the scenery of the world. As a result, when people settle in the regions when the changes manifest, they will likely lose both their property and lives (Dorrik and Stow, 2005). Earthquakes, mudflows, and avalanches contribute the changes in the orientation of the earth surface. Additionally, they lead to the loss of life and property is present. Therefore, an insight to the past is essential in establishment of a pattern in the land forming processes (Boggs, 2000). Consequently, it helps in forecasting that aid humanity in averting the property and life losses that emanate from the transformation. Conversely, paleo-environmental interpretation is a vital element of study in the current world.  Life in the marine and terrestrial ecosystems responds differently to changes in their environment. As a result, the interpretation of the marine outcrop helps in the comprehension of the aquatic system and its relationship to other variables within the ecosystem.

Paleo-environmental interpretation stems from the analysis of the prevailing structures. Landforms take considerable amount of time to change their appearance. Others take hundreds of years to manifest change (Dorrik and Stow, 2005). Therefore, it is impossible for people to attest that they were witnesses to a change in landscape. However, it does not mean that one cannot generate the original picture of a feature based on their current appearances. For instance, it is possible for one to obtain the gene sequence of their parents and ancestors based on the genealogy tree. The same back-tracking procedure can provide an ancient image of a feature. The current features were subject to lodging, erosion, and sedimentation that avail different features on a feature (Boggs, 2000). The distinct effect of the processes reveals their nature in the previous life. Additionally, the extent of the erosion and sedimentation can help in calculating the period of the resultant effect. On the other hand the comparison of the features with others in different positions helps in the identification of the change process and provision of the ancient picture. For example, nobody that lives today was witness to the development of the universe of the separation of the continents. However, the jig-saw fit between adjacent continents suggests a probability that they were once whole. Therefore, the same principle lies in the development of a paleo-environmental picture of a feature or location in the present. The fact that the process manifest in the current timeline help in explaining the origin of identical land forms. For instance, volcanic activity is a phenomenon that manifest to the current regime. The effects of the eruption on the surrounding locality portray images synonymous to other locations (Toghill, 2010). As a result, those regions also suffered from the same volcanic eruption.

The Aberarth

It occurs on the New Quay on the north side of the anticline. The majority of the components are sandstone. They are fine structure which suggests they were subject to continuous erosion processes. It can occur through abrasion of particle when the waves of the sea hit the shore. Alternatively, they might be subject to erosion due to biological effect (Riley and Blackwood, 2007). Animals including human beings can cause erosion through exertion of pressure of the rock particles lying on the earth surface. The feature also exhibits inter-bedded graded sandstone. The occurrence reveals that the feature is subject to different pressures in varying geologic period. The intervals reveal the formation process is the same but the time is different (Prothero, 2004). The arrangement infers that the layer on-top is the youngest and the one on the bottom surface the oldest. The presence of mudstone is another indicator of the formation processes or the forces in action in the development of the resultant feature. The mudstones occur on the riverbed and their smooth surface reveals extensive erosion. Within the course of the river, there is varying degree of smoothness indicating that others are new to the system whilst some are older. Also, the presence of siltstones is rare but present on the outcrop (Boggs, 2000). It reveals that the Aberarth faces wilting in some seasons and re-emerge with the passing of that season. For instance, during winter organisms living in the shore areas cannot travel longer distances due to the extreme cold. As a result, they scour the stable rocks closer to the closer to finds shelter during the harsh season. Consequently, when they move from the surfaces after winter, they promote the formation of siltstones.



New Quay

On the opposite side of the Aberarth is the New Quay. The forces in action on the other side are different due to its alignment and inclination to the shoreline. Unlike the Aberath, it has coarse and granule-thick sandstones (London and Rawson, 2011). Despite the similarity regarding the presence of the sandstone, the difference lies in their texture. While they are fine on the north, the south side consists of coarser ones. It indicates that the region or locale receives lesser erosion activity relative to the North side (Prothero, 2004). While the northern side provides a suitable habitat for a majority of the living species, the south remains uninhabited. Consequently, the higher population on the sea-side promotes a higher level of erosion by the living organisms. Also, it consists of mudstones whose lamination varies from stuctureless to parallel. The other side consists of structureless mudstones only. Similarly, the phenomenon is as a result of the provision of preferable habitat location on the Aberarth. On the other hand, amalgamation also occurs on the New Quay south (Boggs, 2000). Both the mudstones ad sandstones can portray the age of the feature (Howells, 2007). However, the amalgamation indicates the series of information to identify the older and younger sediments on the outcrop. Nonetheless, the occurrence on the base can also help in the identification of the effect of biological effect in the region (London and Rawson, 2011).

A comparison between the North and the South end of the New Quay reveal the consequences and the effects of varying forces on a natural feature. It faces varying levels of pressure from its two ends resulting in a different feature from the original one. Observation of the two extreme sides serves as an appropriate point of comparison for the research. Moreover, it aids in observation and the isolation of the characters or traits of interest (Prothero, 2004). Since the North and the South side refer to a one feature, their differences portray the effect of organisms in an environment. Despite the biological effect other factors contribute in the final state of the Quay in response to the marine outcrop. To determine the paleo-environment of the feature, adjacent natural features serve as points of interest. They re-assure the researcher that information from close natural endowments help in understanding the subject of interest. Therefore, the Aberarth and New Quay are pointers of the forces that are present in the environment (Carozzi, 2003). As a result, the elimination of the outcome of the forces with the appropriate age approximation aid in the development of the desired picture and ensuring the fulfillment of the research objectives. Despite the lack of evidence such as structureless mudstone on the outcrop and sandstones, it does not mean that it did not experience erosion forces. Moreover, overtime the place has become a tourist destination attracting people from different parts of the world (Prothero, 2004). Consequently, the population increases around the region leading to a facilitated biologic effect on the marine outcrop. Therefore, the forces that affect the adjacent geographical features also have the same impact on the marine outcrop due to its location or vicinity.

Borth and Clarach

The Aberarth and the Aberystwyth do not have the same physical appearance but are subject to the same forces both sedimentation and erosion. While one forces leads to the washing away of roc particles, another contributes in the building. Borth and Clarach are the synonymous features for the coarser sediments on the north of the New Quay. On the Aberystwyth, they occupy at least 8m around the base of the outcrop (Carozzi, 2003). Additionally, they consist of Heterolithic sediments and mudstones, Injected sandstones coupled with mudflow. However, their sandstones are sharp compared to the ones on the Aberarth that were smooth. The difference emanates from the increased and direction erosion forces. When these forces do not have a specific direction, their effects are well distributed on a feature leading to the resultant smoothness (Riley and Blackwood, 2007). On the other hand, if they are subject to a direction, they will cause their effect in some parts more than the others leading to the sharp sandstone bases.

Conversely, while they might be subject to the same amount of force in a common period, their age might be slightly older. Therefore, in the estimation of their origin or paleo-environment, deeper analysis is necessary from that of the Aberarth. Nonetheless, the comparison helps in the determination of the environment that both features were exposed to in the period of formation. Furthermore, the sedimentation effects emerge from the presence of Tacde, Tace, Tbce,Tcde and Tce Bouma sequences. They illustrate the order of the sedimentation processes that led to the resultant outcrop. Also, the absence of the sequence on the Aberarth indicates the age of the outcrop in respect to the latter (Carozzi, 2003).

New Quay south

The composition of each of the features in the marine outcrop is vital before the establishment of its age and significance. The New Quay forms part of the Aberystwyth. It occurs on the south frontier of the outcrop and consists of a majority of the traits in the Aberarth. Despite its higher depth of at least 3m more than the northern side, it has deposits of coarse and granule sized sandstones and mudstone. Also, their mudstones are structureless like in the Aberarth. They reveal the extent of erosion and the intensity of biologic effect in the region (Markes and Johnson, 2012). On the other hand, it also consist of features that are absent on the other side of the Aberystwyth. The presence of thin siltstones and their continuous to discontinuous laminae orientation indicates the variance in the forces on the south side of the outcrop.

Moreover, the order of the sandstones starts with fine granules at the top and increase in size as the vertical height decreases. The therefore, it indicates that the forces of erosion and other destructive agents increase with the age of the feature. Older outcrops have finer sandstone granules at the top (London and Rawson, 2011). They also display a unique sandstone sequence in comparison to the Borth and Clarach. In their order, Tc division is absent indication a change in the force or the composition of the subject matter (Aberystwyth). However, the existence of a similarity conveys a common force in the erosion process. The difference might lay in the intensity and the population of organisms in the two locations or sites (Markes and Johnson, 2012).


The Aberystwyth is vast and a single evaluation of its sides is not sufficient to identify the forces and composition of the marine outcrop. To provide a detailed interpretation of the feature, a researcher should extend their insight to at least two features on each end for valid comparison. The Cymtydu occurs in the south alongside the New Quay (Riley and Blackwood, 2007). Therefore, similarities and differences between the two explain a lot regarding the resultant marine outcrop. It also occurs on the south of the marine outcrop. However, the alignment and the intensity of destructive and constructive forces differ.

Nonetheless, since it forms part of the Aberystwyth it becomes a vital destination for inquiry or study. The Cymtydu is logged 6m to provide a profile of the sand, mud, and gravel. The arrangement of the particles is vital in determining the features present and the forces responsible for each layer or sediment on the southern feature (Carozzi, 2003). Just like the other feature on the south it mainly consists of the coarse to granule sized sandstones. It reveals a similar effect revealing the same forces and composition of the Aberystwyth. On the other hand, the orientation is different from the others (Markes and Johnson, 2012). Unlike the interbedded arrangement it forms pillow beds. The trait indicates upward fining and thinning. However, the mudstones are structureless to parallel like on the north side of the Aberystwyth. The arrangement of the stones indicates the same intensity of erosion despite the south alignment of the Cymtydu. Sandstones at the top are fine but consist of fragments. The isolation of the particles indicates that the top part of the feature consist of different elements. Therefore, their separation is proof of varying properties on the forming matter.


The Aberystwyth is among the most interesting marine features in the Cardigan Bay in the UK. Due to its vastness an exquisite interpretation is difficult. The outcrop consists of different features on its different sides (Riley and Blackwood, 2007). As a result, of its extent, it is subject to different destructive and constructive forces leading to the development of an indifferent outcrop. Often, features of scrutiny are subject to the same forces thus a holistic interpretation can suffice. Nonetheless, the vastness of the Aberystwyth does not mean that it is impossible to provide a valid interpretation especially on the paleo-environmental frontier. Therefore, the project fulfills its mandate through the identification of distinctive features that make up the Aberystwyth. As a result, the interpretation of the Aberarth, New Quay, and Cymtydu provide detailed analysis of the different sides of the marine outcrop (Hiscock, 2006). They outline the different forces and their intensity to estimate the age of formation and the landforming processes.

The inclusion of locals input in the survey provides the perception of the community and reveals the relevance of the feature in the community. Compilation of the primary and secondary data provides a better analysis of the feature and fulfills the objectives of the project.  However, it is subject to further destruction and constructive forces. As a result, the analysis of the project does not provide an everlasting interpretation of the Aberystwyth (Markes and Johnson, 2012). Earth forming processes are continuous, the reason behind the study is to ensure that the consequences likely to emanate from their activity do not cause harm to humanity. Additionally, the effects and the essence of understanding their role in the ecosystem are the pillars behind the study of the geologic features.


Research is a human inquiry to some aspects of life. Therefore, there is an extent to which they can carry out their activities. As a result, each survey is prompt to face its constraints of limitations. However, the persistence of constraints does not mean that research is ineffective. Instead, it provides grounds for improvement for other people in the same field. Therefore, the identification of limitations is mandatory to promote research to an extensive level (Spurgeon, 2005). Additionally, it also provides logic to the work of the people or the nature of humanity. Perfection is unattainable thus a research without constraints is false.

The research experiences several limitations including reliance on secondary data and ignorance regarding geographic processes from the locals. Despite the extensive effort in the collection of the primary data, the survey depends on the theories and information that other scholars have published about the marine outcrop (Carozzi, 2003). For instance, the identification of its age stems from the analysis of the first author to discuss the outcrop. Therefore, regardless of the analysis that an individual can provide their limit ends with the work of the 1881 scholar. Instead, the presence of instruments that can estimate the age of a feature would have reduced the error in the research.

On the other hand, the local people who serve as valid participants on the geographic feature only focus on the social aspects of the feature. Geologic experience is absence due to the ignorance of the people about the land forming processes and the effects of biologic activity and other agents of erosion in the vicinity (Blatt and Tracy, 2006). Therefore, one has to obtain the information from the nearest geographical society branch to attain the geologic data.

Data Quality-Validity and Reliability

The results of a research are only as good as its quality. They should follow a unique code of ethics and standardization to ensure they are relevant for utilization. The data quality emanates from the intensity of the research and the level of professionalism that it portrays. However, validity depends on the standardization that it fulfills based on the respondents and the information that it prevents. On the other hand, reliability is a subject of qualification (Spurgeon, 2005). The research has declarations from both the supervisor and the dean of the faculty to append its relevance.

Additionally, the respondents sign their letters of consent before responding to the points of inquiry. It affirms that the respondents provide the information voluntarily aware of the purpose and objectives of the study. Often, some researchers fail to inform the participants of their role in the research process which discredits the primary data collected from the research. Nonetheless, the study also follows the geographical society layout and guidelines in making publications and papers (Spurgeon, 2005). Therefore, it affirms its reliability and allegiance to a professional body in in the same discipline.

Also, the involvement of the geographical society layout and framework makes the work valid because it adheres to the code of ethics that the professional body in that subject outlines (Blatt and Tracy, 2006).  Nonetheless, the research highlights the limitations of the study to provide further insight. The section helps in boosting research on the subject and confirming human involvement in the study. A research without limitation is flawless indicating that it answers all questions about the issue (Hiscock, 2006). However, it is impossible to obtain such a document due to the dynamic nature of land forming processes and sociological interactions.




Each of the formations may be grouped, depending on both the types of sediment facies and their observed arrangement, into one of four depositinal environments. These environments including the distal shelf, sandstone lobes, lobe fringe and slope serve as the appropriate profiles interpretations. The analysis of the different parts of the Aberystwyth provides detailed information about the marine outcrop (Blatt and Tracy, 2006). Moreover, the discussion of the parts and the forces of either erosion or deposition that led to the development of the resultant features provide an insight to the pre-civilization period about how the status of the earth. The analysis and interpretation prove that the past and the present conditions are different. Also, the impact of human activities is significant and if the relevant authorities do not work appropriately, the rate of degradation will increase. Nonetheless, the paleo-environmental picture of the Aberystwyth reveals that a majority of the changes emanate from the effect of mankind (Ellis and Levy, 2008).





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