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Harrow and Hillingdon Geological Society

Jurassic Coast 1

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We had a very enjoyable long weekend in April 2004. On the Friday evening we began with a reception at the Sidmouth Museum, organised by our President Bob Symes. He is now one of their curators. This was followed by a very pleasant meal.

On Saturday we examined the coast from Budleigh Salterton to Beer. In the evening we visited the Norman Lockyer Astronomical Observatory at Sidmouth. There were three telescopes operating. It was a beautiful clear night and we had excellent views of the mountains on the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and its moons and Saturn with Titan very clearly visible.

On Sunday we finished the coast from Seaton to Charmouth. Our scheduled leader was unable to come with us and Bob filled in for him and lead us for a second day. We finished up with a wonderful cream tea in Charmouth - the perfect way to end a trip.

Budleigh Salterton Triassic sandstones
The Budleigh Salterton Triassic sandstones. These belong to the Sherwood Formation and are locally known as the Otter Sandstones. They are Aeolian deposits (wind deposited under desert conditions).
Bob Symes giving us a lecture on the Otter Sandstones
Our President, Bob Symes, giving us a lecture on the Otter Sandstone. He was demonstrating the caries weathering (the whole face). The yellow layer shows deposition in more reducing conditions, possibly a temporary lake.
Cretaceous Chalk at Beer

At Beer we examined the chalk cliffs. They belong to the Cenomanian or lowest stage of the Upper Cretaceous. The chalk is hard and was used as a building stone.

In the distance is the Seaton Hole fault where the chalk has been downthrown against the Triassic Marls of the Mercia Mudstone Formation (reddish coloured cliffs)

Church window at Beer Quarry Caves

An example of the carving that can be done in Beer Stone. This church window is on display in the Beer Quarry Caves.

The cliffs at Monmouth Beach at Lyme Regis
The cliffs at Monmouth Beach at Lyme Regis are composed of Blue Lias of Lower Jurassic age. It consists of alternations of limestone and shale and is the most typical portion of the 'lias', which means 'layers'.
Ammonite
An ammonite fossil lying on the beach. There is a £1 coin for scale. This shows that the lias was laid down in marine conditions.
Fossilised reptile bone
Fossilised reptile bone from the Blue Lias on Monmouth Beach.
Stonebarrow
Stonebarrow cliff, east of Charmouth. The top of the cliff is Upper Greensand (Cretaceous). The two main sections visible are the Belemnite Marls at the bottom with the layered Green Ammonite beds above. These both belong to the Lower Lias.

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