Ballymacombs More ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Earth Science
  • Londonderry
Council: Derry and Strabane
Guidance and literature: Ballymacombs More ASSI

Ballymacombs More ASSI is important because of the buried deposits of diatomite found there. Diatomite is made up of individual shell-like cases which once formed part of a microscopic plant. Countless numbers of these shells accumulated along the northern shore of Lough Neagh and Lough Beg, resulting in the formation of diatomite. Associated sand, clay, peat and wood also occur within the deposits.

The diatomite tended to be deposited during times of high lake level possible during seasonal flooding. Ballymacombs More is of particular interest because the diatomite and related material is buried by bog peat. These can be studied to reveal when lake related deposits stopped forming and peat bog developed.

Materials such as pollen contained within the diatomite and associated deposits can be used to reconstruct the environment in which it formed and also to help with estimating the age of the various materials. 

Plant pollen provides information about the surrounding landscape. For example Balymacombs More holds information on the decline of Scot's pine from being a frequent and widespread species across the area some 7,000 years ago to its decline 1,000 years later.

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