Variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” by W. A. Mozart.
Variations on an Irish Folk Song, Op. 105, Friedrich Kuhlau.
The White Cliffs of Dover are an iconic part of the South East English coastline (they were once voted 3rd greatest natural British Wonder by a national Sunday Newspaper), but what of their geology?
For starters the cliffs are around 85 million years old (Late Cretaceous) and are composed of chalk. The chalk is primarily made of coccolithophore (single celled algae) plates, although it does also contain some flint and quartz nodules. The cliffs were deposited in a warm, shallow sea, at the approximate latitude where the Mediterranean lies today. The high maturity and purity of the chalk gives evidence that it was deposited far out to sea. Had it been deposited closer to shore the chalk would be “tainted” with sand and silts.
The fossil diversity of the White cliffs is large, and when fossil hunting here expect to find echinoid bases, echinoid spines, crinoid ossicles (isolated and stems), sharks’ teeth and bivalves.
The site is protected by SSSI status (governed by Natural England), and it is therefore illegal to collect fossils or hammer out any chalk that is intact in the cliff face. Loose boulders and fossils that have fallen onto the beach may be collected.
To find out more about the White Cliffs head to any of the following links:
Image credit- graigweston.wordpress.com
I have been here!
Cold medicine for breakfast can be the breakfast of champions, right?