cliff top storm deposits



Hole of Geuda


Christie's Hole and an adjacent recently-opened gloup on Papa Stour.

Note how the geo and gloups are aligned along a fracture zone.

Google Earth image






Gloups or blowholes

Definition: a blow hole, where a chimney has developed behind the cliff face, often above a cave, and spray is blasted out during high seas. From Old Norse glup, a throat. The Irish would call these 'puffer holes' from the way in which spray erupts from them in high seas.

The Cannon, a horizontal blowhole, going strong in a September storm. F9/10 55mph winds with 6m swell. The Cannon blowhole south of Esha lighthouse is unusual in that in high seas water is blown out sideways from the cliff with a loud report.

Blowholes or gloups are a reminder that cliffs may become riddled with tunnels which remain largely unseen from the cliff top. The excavation of blowholes is a hidden process but the opening of the shaft must involve the removal of material along intersecting lines of weakness provided by crossing joints and fractures. Gloups often lead down into caverns and the opening of the gloup can be seen as the first step in the block by block collapse of the cave roof. The hydraulic forces as waves enter caves and compress water and air in fractures must be very considerable and the withdrawal of the water may also induce instantaneous vacuums and may promote cavitation.

Christie's Hole