Celebrating Earth Science Week Top 100 Geology Locations

Top One Hundred Sites Related to Geology UK and Ireland

In celebration of Earth Science week, an annual commemoration of the contribution to geology made by the British Isles (UK and Ireland), the London-based British Geological Society have published the results of a survey to find the most popular geology related sites from the United Kingdom and Ireland.  The wide ranging and eclectic list demonstrates the incredible variety of the geology of these islands, which are regarded as the birthplace of the science of geology.  After all, the Geological Society, which was founded in 1807, is the oldest geological society in the world.

The chart-topping locations were compiled from over four hundred public nominations, divided into ten categories which include landscape, historical and scientific importance, human habitation, industrial and economic importance, educational, coastal, folding and faulting, outcrops, adventurous and fire and ice.

Voted Number One in the Poll

Voted number one in the British Geological Society Survey.

Voted number one in the British Geological Society Survey.

Picture Credit: British Geological Survey

The picture above shows the bizarre and spectacular rocky mountains, sculpted by deep time and ravages of the Ice Ages.  These are the Foreland Mountains of Assynt.

Around thirty of the top one hundred (including four in the top ten) come from Scotland.  Wales contributes ten, a surprise given the beauty of Wales form the rugged peaks of Snowdonia, the amazing coastline and the rich diversity of fossils found in the country.  Northern Ireland has five and like Wales, it has none in the top ten as voted for by members of the public.  Ireland fares slightly better with a total of nine.  The rest of the locations can be found in England (the other six in the top ten are to be found in England).

The range includes The Channel Tunnel (24), the building home to the Natural History Museum (39), the Geevor Tin Mine in Cornwall (23).  Also included are a number of locations that team members at Everything Dinosaur are very fond of, these locations have been the destination of choice for geology field trips for generations, places such as Wrens Nest (42), the Laxford Brae road section in northern Scotland (38) and South Stack Formation on the island of Anglesey (85).

Wrens Nest Features in the Top One Hundred

Amazing geological feature.

Amazing geological feature.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows the fantastic ripple beds preserved in the limestone of the Wrens Nest nature reserve (Dudley, West Midlands).

The Top Ten Locations – “The People’s Favourites”

  1. The Foreland Mountains Assynt (Sutherland, Scotland) with its breath-taking isolated mountains (see picture in this article).
  2. Ironbridge Gorge (Shropshire) regarded as the birth place of the industrial revolution.
  3. Siccar Point (Scotland) the site of a world famous unconformity where the junction between the older, tilted layers of greyish sandstone and the younger Old Red Sandstone can be clearly made out.
  4. The Rotunda Museum (North Yorkshire) built to a design suggested by William Smith regarded by many as the “father of geology”.
  5. Staffa – the basaltic columns to be found on this island that forms part of the Inner Hebrides.
  6. Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire.
  7. Hunstanton Cliffs – highly fossiliferous cliffs on the Norfolk coast where the red limestone contrasts sharply with the overlying chalk.
  8. The Craster Coastline, with its unusual geology and notable outcrops.
  9. Millook Haven which runs from North Cornwall into Devon showing spectacular folds of inter-bedded sandstones and shales.
  10. Glencoe (Scotland), the remnants of a long extinct super volcano.

From a fossil collecting and fossil observation perspective, a number of other sites are also included notably the beaches of Lyme Regis (44), Kimmeridge Bay (20) and the dinosaur footprints preserved in the Bendrick rocks (south Wales – number 45).

Lyme Regis (Number Forty-Five)

Good idea to go fossil collecting on a falling tide and to keep away from the steep cliffs.

The beaches at Lyme Regis such as Monmouth Beach make the list.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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