NZ3965 : 'Lot's Wife' sea-stack, Marsden Bay

taken 9 years ago, near to Harton, South Tyneside, Great Britain

'Lot's Wife' sea-stack, Marsden Bay
'Lot's Wife' sea-stack, Marsden Bay
Lot's wife is a figure from the Biblical book of Genesis known for being punished by being turned into a pillar of salt LinkExternal link
A geological formation on Mount Sodom in Israel overlooking the Dead Sea is called 'Lot's Wife', because of the shape and location of the feature. Interestingly, but probably unknown to those who named the Marsden Bay stack shown here, salts of halite and anhydrite also played an important part in the geology of the rocks along the north-east coast. Large amounts of salts were deposited in the shallow tropical Zechstein Sea that extended from the Pennines over to Germany and Poland in Europe during the Permian period. Subsequent dissolution of these salts caused collapse (brecciation) of the overlying Magnesian Limestone rock layers that predominantly make up the cliffs today, providing much of their distinctive appearance and properties. In some locations, between South Shields and Seaham, all that is left of these once several-metre thick layers, are thin residues.
A fourth chalk prominence off the western coast of the Isle of Wight, from which The Needles take their nameSZ2984 : The Needles, was also called 'Lot's Wife'. It collapsed in 1764. There is another, similarly named coastal feature in Dumfries & Galloway NX8248 : Lot's Wife and undoubtedly others.
Marsden Bay
There is an amazing and typically-uncompromising poem called 'At Marsden Bay' by Peter Reading (Diplopic 1983)that combines Permian Geology, wildlife and the destructive force of youth. It is said to be based on an event which actually happened at the bay and sadly these things still occur LinkExternal link

The first stanza is reproduced below:

Arid hot desert stretched here in the early
Permian Period - sand dune fossils
are pressed to a brownish bottom stratum.
A tropical saline ocean next silted
calcium and magnesium carbonates
over this bed, forming rough Magnesian
Limestone cliffs on the ledges of which
Rissa tridactyla colonizes -
an estimated four thousand pairs
that shuttle like close-packed tracer bullets
against dark sky between nests and North Sea.
The call is a shrill “kit-e-wayke, kit-e-wayke”,
also a low “uk-uk-uk” and a plaintive
“ee-e-e-eeh, ee-e-e-eeh”

A review can be found here LinkExternal link
Here's another image that illustrates the poem NZ3965 : Gulls nesting on the cliff in Marsden Bay
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NZ3965, 99 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 28 December, 2009   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 29 December, 2009
Sea stacks   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 398 650 [100m precision]
WGS84: 54:58.7245N 1:22.7629W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NZ 398 650
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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