A Geological History of Britain

The Iapetus Suture on the Isle of Man.

My lecture slides for the 2017 Lifelong Learning class ‘A Geological History of Britain’ can be found (as PDFs) here:

  1. Introduction: 2017_GHB_Part1_Intro
  2. Precambrian: 2017_GHB_Part2_Precambrian
  3. Palaeozoic: 2017_GHB_Part3_Palaeozoic
  4. Mesozoic: 2017_GHB_Part4_Mesozoic
  5. Cainozoic: 2017_GHB_Part5_Cainozoic

Other useful resources:

Geology of Britain (British Geological Survey) – see also the Geology of Britain viewer

Geological History of Britain and Ireland (Woodcock & Strachan 2012)

Geology of Britain (Toghill 2003)

The Geological Formation of Britain (In Our Time, Radio 4)

Geological History of Britain (2015)

William Smith’s 1815 geological map of England and Wales.

The PowerPoint slides for my 2015 one-day course on the Geological History of Britain can be downloaded here:

1. Introduction: 2015_GHB_Part1

2. Cainozoic: 2015_GHB_Part2

3. Mesozoic: 2015_GHB_Part3

4. Palaeozoic: 2015_GHB_Part4

5. Proterozoic & Archaean: 2015_GHB_Part5

To view the files I produced for my 2012 evening class on the Geological History of Britain, which provide more detail on many of the topics introduced here, click the ‘GHB’ tab below this post, or follow this link: http://fossilhub.org/?tag=ghb.

To obtain a copy of the British Geological Survey’s ‘Climate Through Time’ poster, follow this link: http://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/climateThroughTime.html.

To view the figures from the Geological History of Britain and Ireland book (Woodcock and Strachan 2012), follow this link: http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&bcsId=7187&itemId=1405193824.

To view the photos and figures from the Geological Conservation Review series of books on British geology, follow this link: http://www.thegcr.org.uk/ImageBank.cfm.

A Geological History of Britain – part 10

Finally, some weeks after actually giving the presentation, here is the pdf of the 10th and final class in my University of York Lifelong Learning course: 2012_GHB_Lect10

Additional links:

The JNCC book ‘British Tertiary Stratigraphy’ describes the Palaeogene and Neogene Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a list of which can be found here.

Information on the British Tertiary (or Palaeogene) Volcanic Province can be found here.

A pdf providing information on the Lundy granite can be found here.

Information on the (very limited) Neogene outcrops of Britain can be found here.

Information on the Pliocene-Pleistocene ‘Crags’ of East Anglia can be found here.

The British Geological Survey has used the Blakeney Esker in Norfolk as a case study of Ice Age Britain. The webpages can be found here.

 

A Geological History of Britain – part 9

Cretaceous Britain: not just chalk

The lecture notes for the class can be found here: 2012_GHB_Lect9

Information on the Lower Cretaceous can be found on the Geological Society website here, and information on the Upper Cretaceous here.

Images from the GCR volume “British Upper Cretaceous Stratigraphy” can be found here.

Information on Baryonyx walkeri (‘Walker’s heavy claw’), the fish-hunting dinosaur of the Weald, can be found here.

Information on the dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight can be found here.

An Aside From Week 8

The River Ouse does have a tidal bore, and it is indeed called the ager.

A Geological History of Britain – Part 8

Jurassic: the seas return

The slides from the class can be found here: 2012_GHB_Lect8

An excellent overview of the Rhaetian of the UK is provided on the JNCC website here. It explains the stratigraphy, palaeontology, and where the Rhaetian can be seen.

A guide to the Lower Jurassic is available on the Geological Society website (click here).

Images from the JNCC volume “British Lower Jurassic Stratigraphy” can be found here.

A guide to the Middle and Upper Jurassic can be found on the Geological Society website (click here).

Images from the JNCC volume “British Middle Jurassic Stratigraphy” can be found here.

The story of the Middle Jurassic dinosaur from Rutland, Cetiosaurus oxoniensis, can be found on the website of Leicester’s New Walk Museum (click here).

Images from the JNCC volume “British Upper Jurassic Stratigraphy” can be found here.

A Geological History of Britain – part 7

New Red Sandstones – the Permian and Triassic

The slides from the lecture can be found here: 2012_GHB_Lect7

An excellent overview of the Permian and Triassic of the UK, listing the best places to see rocks of this interval, can be found on the JNCC website here.

An overview of the Permian can be found at the University of California Museum of Palaeontology website (Click here).  Its Triassic page can be found here.

The Geological Society introduction to the Permian can be found here, and its guide to the Triassic here.

Images from the JNCC book “Marine Permian of England” can be found here.

Images from the JNCC book “Permian and Triassic Red Beds and the Penarth Group of Great Britain” can be found here.

Detailed information on the origins of the Permo-Triassic minerals found in the limestones of the Great Orme, Llandudno, North Wales can be found here.

The first of two articles I’ve written on how Permian reptile tracks from the sandstones of Dumfries & Galloway led to the birth of ichnology can be found here.

A Geological History of Britain – part 6

Lime, sand and coal – the Carboniferous

The lecture slides for the class can be found here: 2012_GHB_Lect6_bw

An overview of the Carboniferous period is provided on the Natural England website here.

A free publication on the geology of the North Pennines can be found here.

A brief overview of the Yoredale Group in Northumberland National Park can be found here.

The story of Carboniferous oil and the first well in mainland Britain can be found here.

A Geological History of Britain – part 5

Silurian and Devonian – closure of Iapetus and the building of Britain

The lecture notes for class 5 are available as a pdf here: 2012_GHB_Lect5

Images from the GCR book “British Silurian Stratigraphy” can be found here.  They include a comparison of Murchison, Sedgwick and Lapworth’s stratigraphies with that recognized in the late 20th Century (which has since been modified, of course!).

Images from the GCR book “Caledonian Igneous Rocks of Great Britain” can be found here.  There are a LOT of pictures, and they include the Shetland and other Scottish ophiolites, and the various Ordovician-Silurian-Devonian igneous rocks of Scotland, the Lake District and Wales.

Images from the GCR book “Caledonian Structures in Britain South of the Midland Valley” can be found here.  They cover the Caledonian structural geology of the Southern Uplands, the Lake District, and Wales.

A Scottish Natural Heritage guide to the geology of south-west Scotland, including the Southern Uplands, can be downloaded by clicking here.  The SNH website includes a fair amount of other information on Scotland’s geology.

Charles Lapworth’s interpretation of the structure of the Southern Uplands can be found here.  A short biography of the man can be found here.

Images from the GCR book “The Old Red Sandstone of Great Britain” can be found here.  The Devonian fishes of Caithness and the Moray Firth are covered in detail in Chapter 6.

A Geological History of Britain – additional resources

Below is a list of general geological resources that might be of use or interest.

Geo-nealogy, or Where Do You Think You Were?

For those wanting online geological maps of the UK, the Geology of Britain viewer (BGS Open Geoscience) can be found here.

The Geological Society’s Brief Summary of British Stratigraphy can be found here.

A good overview of the geology of Plymouth (which helps make sense of the confusing geological map) can be downloaded here.

Online geological map resources for the USA (courtesy of the US Geological Survey) can be found here.

More specifically, geological maps of the San Francisco Bay region can be found here, and of Oakland here.

An online, interactive geological atlas of New Zealand can be found here.

Other useful links:

If you’re having trouble with all the different names for different intervals of geological time, the GeoWhen database is very useful. It aims to clear up the confusion over regional, national and archaic terms, and can be found here.

GeoScenic, the National Archive for Geological Photographs, can be found here. You can search for, view and download thousands of images from the vaults of the British Geological Survey.

The GCR (Geological Conservation Review) database can be found here. You can search for national geological sites of importance, some of which (e.g. Flamborough Head) have site accounts providing details on the geology of that locality.

The GCR also has an Image Bank, where the photos and figures from many of its geological volumes are available.  These vary from British Silurian Stratigraphy to the Quaternary of the Thames, via the Fossil Reptiles of Great Britain.  The full list of available volumes can be found here.

A Geological History of Britain – part 4

Old Lost Sea – the Iapetus Ocean and the Cambrian-Ordovician geology of Britain

The lecture notes to the class can be found here – 2012_GHB_Lect4

Palaeogeographical maps of Europe through time can be found in Ron Blakey’s library (Click here)

Palaeogeographical maps can also be found at Chris Scotese’s Paleomap website (Click here).

J. Tuzo Wilson’s seminal paper, ‘Did The Atlantic Ocean Close And Then Re-Open?’ can be found here – Tuzo_Wilson1966_Did_Atlantic_Reopen

An excellent run-through of the stages of the Wilson Cycle is available at the James Madison University website (Click here). Useful information can also be found from the University of Leicester (Click here).

The US Geological Survey has also published an excellent online guide to plate tectonics, This Dynamic Earth, which can be found here.

Regional geology

For an introduction to the geology of Pembrokeshire, click here.

For the story of Paradoxides davidis, the Cambrian trilobite that revealed an ocean, click here. A really excellent online guide to trilobites can be found here.

For a guide to the volcanic geology of Strumble Head, near Fishguard, click here.

For an explanation of ophiolites, focussing on an Iapetus example from Newfoundland, click here.

For a brief overview of Newfoundland’s role in the story of the Iapetus Ocean, click here.

Other links

A brief biography of Adam Sedgwick, father of the Cambrian, can be found here.

Simon Winchester’s book Atlantic is a good read.