Saturday, 30 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip - Exmouth Geoneedle

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In April 2016, my bestie and I decided to go on a #geobritainroadtrip. We went down to Lulworth and Durdle Door, Exmouth, Dawlish, Budleigh Salterton, Lyme Regis and Weymouth. These blog posts are summaries of each site.

The geoneedle at Exmouth marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast, a heritage section of coastline that is well known for its geological importance. Approaching the geoneedle, there are stepping stone slabs in the floor made from all of the rocks from the Jurassic Coast, and the geoneedle itself is made from local rocks.

Friday, 29 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip - Lulworth

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In April 2016, my bestie and I decided to go on a #geobritainroadtrip. We went down to Lulworth and Durdle Door, Exmouth, Dawlish, Budleigh Salterton, Lyme Regis and Weymouth. These blog posts are summaries of each site.

Lulworth is probably best known for the geological wonder that is Stair Hole. This little bay has a fabulous fold structure which is called the Lulworth Crumple.

Lulworth is also a good starting point for a coastal walk to Durdle Door (which is the subject of another blog post...)

Le crumple!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Durdle Door

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Durdle Door is one of the Geological Society of London’s top #100Geosites. It is a natural rock arch on the south coast of England, west of Lulworth. If you ever go to Durdle Door, take the steps to the left down into Man O’ War cove – I saw my first ever palaeoraindrops here, and there are ancient ripple marks on the nearly vertical rockface on the right of the steps (as you come down them). There is also a mega nice sequence of vertical rocks, with a slight fold at the top. This bay also has organic carbon layers (!!) and generally, is really freakin’ cool and interesting if you’re a geonerd.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Budleigh Salterton

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This section of red sandstone cliffs is probably one of my utter favourite cliff sections in the whole of the UK. Sandstone! Faults! River channels! Cross bedding! Mineral leaching! Pebble beds! Aahhhh!! It’s so exciting, I love this cliff section.

The rocks at Budleigh Salterton are Triassic Sandstone, which incidentally is one of my favourite sedimentary rock types. This rock was deposited in a dry, arid, desert environment, and has an absolute textbook example of normal faulting creating a horst & graben structure. The river channel deposits here are shown in pretty much perfect cross section, and ugh, I just love this rock section. At the eastern end, towards the car park, there is an area with lots of caliche.

Rock face with a zone of leaching (yellow line) at the base

Close up of the leach layer

Spot the fault! (Diagonal line running top left to bottom right)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Beer Quarry Caves

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The bestie and I visited Beer Quarry Caves as part of our jaunt to the south coast for the first part of the #geobritainroadtrip. I saw this place online by chance, and knew I had to go, and I fully recommend it to EVERYONE. It was SO GOOD! There aren’t actually words to describe how much I enjoyed it and how good it was, it was really interesting, the history of the site and the presence of greater horseshoe bats who use it as roost – it really is worth a trip and a visit. Also if you forget your jumper you can borrow a wonderful fleece poncho (see pic).

The Beer Quarry Caves are in Beer, near to Seaton, on the Jurassic Coast. They are a man-made cave network, and have been extensively quarried since the Roman times, and different areas of the caves show different extraction techniques, favoured by the relevant time period and methods. It truly is a walk through time, and at the end of the tour there are some SPECTACULAR slickenlines. I kissed them, they were that good.

Honestly I can’t endorse, recommend, suggest, promote, advertise or rave about this place enough. Kelly and I were lucky to be the only two people on the tour, the tour guide was wonderful and so knowledgeable, and it really was a great few hours.


Kelly looks much better in a hard hat than I do

See? Proof.

Monday, 25 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Isle of Portland

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Kelly and I did a quick divert to the Isle of Portland, as we were in Weymouth (to have a go on the Jurassic Skyline, on which Kelly got shitfaced). I’ve never been to Portland, but half of Birmingham is built with stone from this little Isle, so I felt a visit was worth it. The sun was shining, it was early evening, there was a light breeze… it was perfect driving weather. I drove all the way up to the top and we stood and took in the view, before heading back to our accommodation for the night.

The Isle of Portland is home to the quarries from which Portland Stone is extracted. It is part of the Jurassic Coast, and the views from the top are simply stunning. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Dawlish

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The cliffs of Dawlish may be the best reason to take a journey by rail, even if it’s only from Exeter to Paignton and back. The cliffs along the seafront are spectacular; a dazzling orange-red, and criss-crossed with minor faults, cross bedding structures, channel deposits and conglomerate areas. Taking a walk east from Dawlish station along the seawall is a great way to see these rocks, but you cannot get up close as the railway is between the cliffs and the sea. Definitely one to observe from afar!

I once filmed these cliffs as I went past on my way to Plymouth on the train, it’s all in reverse and there’s a lot of reflection from the windows, but you can watch it here: it’s only 15s long

These cliffs are aeolian (desert) sandstone from the Permo-Triassic, around 250 million years ago.

I first visited Dawlish & Dawlish Warren on college geology field trip, some 11 years ago. Kelly and I dropped in to see the cliffs again on our #geobritainroadtrip, and we walked along the sea wall so I could get my fix of Permo-Triassic desert goodness. 

Heart eyes for days.