Detail of the limestone pavement above Malham Cove
The much-weathered, deeply-fissured area of limestone pavement above Malham Cove, seen here in early morning light, with the eastern rim of the cove cliffs in the background.
Limestone pavements were formed during the last Ice Age in the Pleistocene period when moving glaciers scoured bare the surface of the underlying limestone bedrock. The classic pattern of clints (blocks) and grikes (fissures) was produced by the erosive action of overlying soil - such as the moraine deposited by the glacier - and the rainwater that permeated it, enlarging the natural faults in the limestone rock.
At Malham Cove, this area of limestone pavement has been shaped by the erosive action of past soil cover into highly-sculptural organic forms which resemble walnuts. The network of short, parallel drainage runnels with sharp crests between is known as 'rinnenkarren'.
Date taken: 01 May 2013.