18 September 2017

Striped

Between St Edmund's Head and Hunstanton town in the county of Norfolk, there's a very interesting cliff. It is striped and it runs for almost half a mile. You might say that it is a natural monument to the geological epoch known as the Cretaceous Period. This was a time when dinosaurs were alive and the planet was generally much warmer. It lasted for seventy nine million years between the Jurassic and Paleogene periods. Of course it occurred many millions of years before the first apes appeared.

I am sure you will agree that seventy nine million years is a very long time. During those  79,000 millennia an enormous amount of plant and marine animal debris sank to the bottom of countless inland lakes and seashores gradually forming layers that were compressed and ultimately petrified.

It is those layers that we see in the striped cliff at Hunstanton. The bottom brown layer was of course laid down first. It is made up of carstone and contains very few animal fossils. The next layer is the Hunstanton Red Rock layer. It is actually chalk but was coloured red by iron pigmentation. The thicker white layer above is also chalk  and part of the Ferriby Formation. This was laid down towards the end of the Cretaceous Period.

In both the Hunstanton and Ferriby layers many primitive fossils have been found and in a lump of the red rock I quickly spotted several wormlike fossils of creatures that were wriggling around more than a hundred million years ago. They were like these:-
The first time we went to see the cliff, the tide was right in so we didn't get to see much but on the last afternoon the tide was right out and late sunshine was illuminating the striped cliff so that is how I was able to get pictures like these:-

23 comments:

  1. How interesting, my husband, the fossil hunter, would love visiting there.

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    1. Another great location for fossil hunting in England is the cliffs near Lyme Regis in Dorset. Some big marine fossils have been found there.

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  2. It's amazing how clear the layers are. And also amazing that the fossils are so plainly evident!

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    1. I wish I had had a hammer with me. I understand that the best fossils are usually found in the white layer so fossil hunters often investigate rock falls.

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  3. Beautiful cliffs, especially with the sun on them. I wonder what formed our white cliffs? I'm sure you must know.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Your white cliffs were also formed from ancient depositions during the Cretaceous Period. Millions and millions of tons of tiny sea creatures and plant matter. It's hard to believe but that is the truth Briony.

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  4. That's fascinating. I love thinking about the evolution of our planet and the flora and fauna of the ancient past.

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    1. The time-span is mind boggling isn't it Jennifer?

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  5. So wonderfully clear, those layers. I agree with Jennifer, too.

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    1. There's nowhere else i n England where the layering is so clear.

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  6. Here are a couple of sites you might enjoy viewing, Yorkie.

    The "Coloured Sands"....Noosa north to Double Island Point and around to Rainbow Beach.

    If you and Shirley ever make it down this way (for longer than three days!)...this is one area you would love to visit, I'm sure. Miles and miles(kilometres and kilometres)of mostly uninhabited coastline. It's a magnificent area to explore.

    A great ocean-fishing area, too...particular in tailor season.

    For a couple of years, my ex and I owned a beachfront block of land at Teewah Beach. We had thoughts that one day we would build a house there. We camped on the block a couple of times. Teewah is a small inhabited area just north of Noosa's North Shore...across the mouth of the Noosa River en route to the vast area beyond.

    http://www.greatbeachdrive4wdtours.com/

    http://rainbowbeachinfo.com.au/visitor-information/

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    1. Thanks for those interesting links Lee. I'm going out soon so I'll check out the links later.

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  7. There's a huge history in rocks and yes 79 million is a long time.

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    1. It's long than 78 million but not as long as 80 million.

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  8. Good lord, how high does the water get at high tide?? If that is that the tide line on the bottom (the darker stripe) then fossil hunting here must be a death-defying adventure. Bring a bullwhip. It won't stop the tide, but it'll look cool.

    Makes me wonder who, or what, will be looking at these cliffs 79 million years from now.

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    1. Sometimes the sea does crash against the cliff causing erosion but what you can see is not a tide line - it is a geological line dividing different sedimentary layers. As for the bullwhip - ladies should also wear leather thigh boots with stiletto heels.

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  9. I know Hunstanton really well. Ooh arrrr matey. It's national 'speak like a pirate day' today. 🗣

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    1. ****ing gie me yer ****ing money or I'll slit yer ****ing throat wi me ****ing cutlass!

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  10. It makes for a stunning photo!

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    1. Thank you Kylie,,,but which one?

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    2. your last one is the one i was thinking of

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  11. lovely pictures.

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  12. thank you for this your broadcast provided bright clear concept..



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