The gentle Variscan folding of Carboniferous of Ireland (Coller, 1984) initiated the fractures expressed in the classic limestone pavements and karst topography exposed in Burren region of Co Clare. Here the character of the fractures is enhanced by post glacial dissolution and karstification (Williams, 1966; Vincent, 1995; Drew, 1994; and Gillespie, et al 2001). The fracture systems (joints and faults) have been the topic of studies that have been used to establish the major controls and scaling behavior of fracture systems expected in reservoir rocks (Odling et al, 1999; Gillespie, et al 2001).
At least two Pleistocene glaciation events are thought to have scoured higher elevations of Co Clare producing south west oriented glacial striae in the rocks below the ice (McNamara, and Hennessy, 2010). In some cases kharstic features are absent where thick glacial deposits overlie the limestone and the limestone pavements. Here this suggests that the karst features are post glacial. However elsewhere in low lieing areas karstification is seen to have occured here this is interpreted to have occured in the Tertiary (McNamara, and Hennessy, 2010). McNamara, and Hennessy (2010) suggest the pattern of high ground in the Burren and the lowland karst nearer Gort is related to when the overlying shale cap was removed and its protective effect withdrawn. The High Burren only lost its Namurian shales during the last glaciation event, whereas the lowlands were exposed to erosion and weathering of the limestone itself much earlier. Higher relief blocks of the pavement are called clints while the enlarged joints surrounding the clints are knows as grikes, where plants may be rooted.
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