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Footprints of the Tetrapod

Footprints of the Tetrapod
Photo Information
Copyright: Stephen Emerson (Signal-Womb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1020 W: 58 N: 2904] (11094)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-06-06
Categories: Amphibians
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel XT 350D, Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 macro, Hoya CirPL 72mm
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/30 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Coasties Favourites, Geological Wonders [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-06-17 4:15
Viewed: 6435
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In 1993, on the picturesque Island of Valentia, County Kerry, Ireland, an undergraduate geology student (Iwan Stossel) made the discovery of a lifetime.


While examining these rocks on the island's coast he came across a rock platform containing a set of ancient animal footprints. The tracks have since been dated to almost 400 million years ago and are regarded as among the earliest footprints known to science, and certainly the oldest known footprints in Europe.

385 million years ago, most of Southern Ireland was part of a gigantic flood-plain near the equator. Every so often, massive floods inundated the region, depositing large quantities of silt and sand. At one stage a four-legged animal1 walked across this silt as it was drying out. Its tracks were preserved, just as if it had walked across wet concrete.

Access to the site was not easy in my car and I found it hard to find until I asked a local. Without the annoyance of the tour bus crowds that sometimes detract from visits to the more famous sites around Ireland I sat here for most of the morning simply captivated by where this rock once was and what made them footprints nearly half a billion years ago!.

P.S. I shall post a landscape composition of this location today on TREKEARTH if you care to look.

coasties, thistle, cpt_burak, sle2006, Aramok, ddg has marked this note useful
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To thistle: landscape composition on TESignal-Womb 2 06-17 05:01
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Stephen

Wow.... mind blowing information, 'The tracks have since been dated to almost 400 million years ago and are regarded as among the earliest footprints known to science, and certainly the oldest known footprints in Europe.' It is so hard to try and image what it must have been like all those thousands of years ago. Will there still be 'Earth' in another 400 million years? I guess not is 'we' don't start looking after it better. Awesome work. Thanks.

Hello Stephen,
Superb post! It's great to see a lovely landscape, but it's way better to see a lovely landscape with interesting FG! It's really difficult to find something more interesting for FG than footprints nearly half a billion years old!
I took a look as WS and I must admit I like the other picture a little bit better. Lately I've seen lots of lovely landscape shots with portrait framing and I somehow like them more now.
Anyway, this is an exceptional shot!
Huge smiley for that!!!

Hello Stephen,
Beautiful capture.POV,large DOF and frame are perfect.
Thanks for sharing.

very nice stephen and very informative note.

Stephen - what a wonderful foreground to the Valentia Islands.

In some ways I actually prefer this picture ot the one on TE or the WS simply becuase the other views are far more common and 'typical'. guess its the foreground that made it for me, though the rocks on the right need a little less exposure...



  • Great 
  • Karin Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 418 W: 5 N: 268] (2089)
  • [2006-06-17 7:22]

Hi Stephen,
Great perspective and dept. Works very good for the compo. Realy footprints? Unbelievable!.

Hi Stephen,

I like this image for the fascinating foreground. I think I agree with Monika about your workshop photo. I like the portrait format better. The compositional lines leading into the scene on that one are really nice. Thanks for sharing such an interesting site with us.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-06-17 10:55]

Bonjour Stephen, great shot and interesting note too. I like your composition and the great DOF. TFS, Didier.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-06-17 20:43]

Amazing stuff, Stephen.
Thanks for sharing this very unique and fascinating natural phenomenon with us.
You presented it from a great POV, with sharp details and excellent exposure. A beautiful shot from any angle. : )

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-06-18 21:43]

Bonjour Stephen!

Superbe et très jolie à regarder.
Merci pour l'envoie.

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