The UK and Ireland features some of the most diverse and beautiful geology in the world, spanning most of geological time, from the oldest Pre-Cambrian rocks to the youngest Quarternary sediments. As part of Earth Science Week 2014, The Geological Society and partner organisations are celebrating this unique geo-heritage by launching a list of 100 Great Geosites across the UK and Ireland.
A geosite could be anything from a classic outcrop, to a museum, to structures featuring striking building stones. The only rules are that the site is in the UK or Ireland, and can be visited by the public.
To come up with a list, we need your help. Send us your favourite geosites on Twitter using #100geosites, Facebook, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can support your nomination with anything you like – be it photographs, videos or enthusiastic words. We’re hoping that, as well as the classic geological sites the UK and Ireland are famous for, we’ll receive some surprises!
To start you off, here are a few of our favourites…
GSL Policy Assistant, Florence Bullough:
“The place that sticks in my mind the most is the devastatingly beautiful Glencoe, where I carried out my second year field work. Glencoe is a great example of caldera subsidence, ring dyke formation and interbedded sediments and volcanics. The formation of Glencoe takes us back to the Caledonian Mountain Building period when ancient continents Laurentia, Baltica and Avalonia collided, an intense period of volcanic activity. As the eruption went on, the expelled magma left a void and this resulted in collapse of the volcano and the formation of a caldera as we see it today. It was the first place I visited where I started to appreciate beautiful vistas and sites from a structural and geological point of view, and instigated my curiosity about such epic structures and landscapes were formed.”
GSL Director of Policy and Communications, Nic Bilham:
“I love Farringdon Station because it epitomises the link between the engineering geology and history of London. It was a terminus of the world’s first underground railway – the Metropolitan Railway, opened in January 1863. Its prominence may have waned since then, but with the expected completion of the Crossrail and Thameslink projects in 2018, it will be one of the busiest stations in the country. It has come a long way from its cut-and-cover origins – geologists are now using innovative 3D geological models to help manage the risks and costs of constructing Crossrail tunnels underneath existing infrastructure through the faulted Lambeth Group and Thanet Sand Formation units at Farringdon.”
Lesley Dunlop, Chair of the English Geodiversity Forum and member of the GSL Geoconservation Committee:
“My favourite geosite is the Whin Sill – a wonderful, atmospheric place to visit. The Whin Sill is associated with many of the north east’s attractions (Hadrian’s Wall runs along its crest in this picture) and here the dolerite is dramatically exposed with the wild, windswept nature of the setting adding to the appeal. It never looks the same twice.”
GSL Earth Science Communicator, Sarah Day:
“I love the dinosaur gallery at the Natural History Museum. Whatever age you are, however many times you’ve seen it before, it’s always a shock to see the scale of the skeletons, and imagine them in reality. It’s one of my earliest memories of what geology is all about – looking at existing evidence and imagining the world it came from. And its fascinating to find out about the people who’ve found fossil remains throughout history, and how they interpreted them.”
EGU blogger and science communicator, Marion Ferrat:
“My favourite geosite has to be the wonderfully large fossil ammonites of the Jurassic coast in Lyme Regis, Dorset. I have walked the beach on many occasions and the number and size of these beautiful 150-million year old shells never ceases to amaze me. It is also here that, on my very first field trip as an undergraduate geology student, I realised that I was studying a truly wonderful subject. In what other discipline can one get a glimpse of what the world was like all these millions of years ago, when giant ammonites and dinosaurs roamed the seas and lands of what is today England’s South coast?”
We’d love to hear what your favourite geosites are – get in touch and let us know! Find out more at www.geolsoc.org.uk/100geosites