It's very cheeky of me as an amateur to question the wisdom of professional geographers but I think the summer rivers that deposited esker sand and gravel flowed over the ice, not under it.
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surface of the ice, not underneath it.
There's a raised bog in front of my house and three eskers converge on it from the east. Each of the eskers ends in an odd hill of sand and gravel.
There are sand pits in these hills in which you can clearly see each summer's deposit as a layer a few centimetres thick.
But there are many more in Ireland and in other countries. In fact some of the most impressive ones in the world are in the United States. I've studied them for many years. I'm interested in their vegetation and I've looked at the stratification of the sand and gravel in many quarries.
The word esker is one of the few Irish language words to be adopted into English. Irish "eiscir" means a ridge surrounded by flat land. Our most famous one is the Eiscir Riada that crosses the middle of the country from east to west, meeting the Shannon at Clonmacnoise.
If any real geographers would like to get in touch with me and explain the error of my ways to me I would be most grateful.
eskers because I live on one. Most people know what they are ridges of sand and gravel snaking across the Hypervenom Academy countryside looking a bit like derelict railway embankments.
The ice cap that covered the site of my house 12,000 years ago was about 1,000 metres in thickness. Any river trying to bore its way under that ice would immediately have its tunnel collapsed and its water re frozen by the immense weight above it.
Finally there's the fact that eskers cross the countryside on a course that's independent of the contours. Around here the modern rivers flow south to north but the eskers run from east to west. This is because the rivers that created the eskers flowed on top of the ice which was tilted from a high point in the Wicklow uplands in the east to a low point in the central plain. If they'd been underneath the ice they would have obeyed the contours of the bedrock and turned north.
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did they run over or under the ice
I've also visited mountain glaciers and the Greenland ice cap to try and understand more about their formation. And now I have a problem.
I know it's unlikely that generations of secondary school children in Ireland and around the world have been taught a falsehood. I know it's unlikely that I'm right and all the geographers and glaciologists are wrong. But the more I look at it and the more I think about it the more convinced I become.
I believe at one time the bog was a lake in summer and that the Wicklow ice cap ended at its shore in an ice cliff. The rivers flowing across the surface of the ice in summer poured over this cliff in great waterfalls and the mounds of alluvium at the foot of the waterfalls created the modern hills.
Their track often bears no relationship to the contours of the land they cross and, in their natural state, they carry a distinctive vegetation type known as esker woodland.
Irish Wildlife states: "Rivers, running under the ice, laid down deposits of gravel known as eskers." For generations this is what the geography text books have taught. And I think it's wrong.
Furthermore, these rivers only flowed in summer when the sun was strong enough to melt some of the previous winter's snow fall. It's very obvious that this process occurred on the top Nike Kobe X Liberty