By Ian West,
and Visiting Scientist at:
Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences,
Webpage hosted by courtesy of iSolutions, Southampton University
Aerial photographs by courtesy of The Channel Coastal Observatory , National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.
Website archived at the British Library
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|Lyme Regis Town and seafront
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| Lyme Regis east to Charmouth, including Black Ven |
|Stonebarrow Hill, east of Charmouth
|Geological Bibliography for the Lyme Regis and Charmouth area
Selected external links: Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre |
(You can download this educational site to SurfOffline or similar software to keep an offline copy, but note that updating of the live version takes place periodically.)
Allison, Peter, A., Hesselbo, S.P. and Brett, C.E. 2008.
Methane seeps on an Early Jurassic dysoxic seafloor
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (December 2008), 270 (3-4), pp. 230-238. By Peter A. Allison; Stephen P. Hesselbo; and Carlton E. Brett.
The rhythmically bedded limestone-marl-shale succession of the Blue Lias Formation (Lias Group, Early Jurassic age) of Kilve in Somerset (SW England) preserves a suite of large conical concretions that formed around methane seeps. These are 1-2 m high, and elliptical in plan (axes 2-4 m), with an outer limestone shell forming the flanks of the cone. The cone flank is composed of micritic carbonate (20-30 cm thick), which locally includes sheets and pods of intraclasts and bioclasts. The cycle-forming limestone beds of the host strata are composed of dark grey micrite with carbon-isotope values (del 13C = 0.6 to 0.8 per thousand) consistent with carbon sourced from a mixture of seawater and by sulphate reduction, and oxygen-isotope values (del 18O = -6 per thousand) suggesting some degree of later diagenesis. The pale grey micrite that forms the sides of the mounds includes three-dimensional ammonites and intraclasts, and thus cemented close to the sediment-water interface prior to compaction. The mound-forming carbonate is markedly isotopically light with respect to carbon, but not with respect to oxygen (del 13C = -24.3 to -26.4; del 18O = -2 to -3.5 per thousand). The isotope signature indicates that cements were probably derived from a mixture of sources that included biogenic methane. The intraclasts within the limestone suggest that syn-depositional physical brecciation and mixing of cements had occurred, and thus mixing of methane rich-fluids with the overlying surface waters is likely also to have occurred. The relatively heavy oxygen-isotope values may be indicative of anaerobic oxidation of methane. The mound-bearing interval of the Blue Lias Formation is benthos-poor and comprises predominantly laminated black shales, characteristic of poor bottom water oxygenation. The largest of the mounds is however, capped with fossiliferous breccias. Thus the mounds either formed benthic islands that elevated the biota into an oxic zone or, alternatively, they may have supported a chemotrophic community. Although cold seep deposits have been documented previously they are still comparatively rare. This example is one of the oldest in Europe, and is unusual amongst described ancient seeps in preserving relief that extended above the ancient seafloor.
Allison, Robert. J. (Editor) 1992. The Coastal Landforms of West Dorset. Geologists' Association Guide No. 47. Geologists' Association, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 134 pp. by Robert J. Allison, Department of Geological Sciences, University College, London. Guides Editor - J.T. Greensmith. See: Allison, R.J. 1992. Higher Sea Lane. pp. 62-66. See: Koh, A. 1992. Black Ven. pp. 67-79. See: Lee, E.M. 1992. Urban landslides: impacts and management. [on Lyme Regis town landslides] pp. 80-93. See Bray on beach material, pp. 94-105.
[Contents: Preface; Introduction by Robert J. Allison; Geology by Robert J. Allison; Denudational History by Clifford Embleton, Landslide Type and Processes by Robert J. Allison; Stonebarrow Hill by Helen J. Rudkin; Higher Sea Lane (Charmouth, Raffey's mudslide) by Robert J. Allison, Black Ven by Alexander Koh; Urban Landslides - Management and Impact by E. Mark Lee of Rendel Geotechnics (including the killer cliffs of Dorset, and Landslides in Lyme Regis); Coastal Sediment Supply and Transport by Malcolm J. Bray, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth; Chesil Beach by Malcolm J. Bray, University of Portsmouth; References; Glossary.
Allison, R.J. 1992. Higher Sea Lane [Charmouth]. pp. 62-66, in: Allison, R.J. (Ed. ) 1992. The Coastal Landforms of West Dorset. Geologists' Association Guide No. 47. 134 pp. By Robert J. Allison.
Allison, R.J. and Brunsden, D. 1990. Some mudslide movement patterns. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 15, 297-311.
Anonymous , Undated. The Grockle Guide to Lyme Regis. Pamphlet with map, Nigel J. Clarke Publications, Lyme Regis, 70 pence in 2001.
Arber , Murial. A. 1940. The coastal landslips of South-East Devon. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 51, 257-271. pls. 14. By Murial A. Arber, M.A., F.G.S. Received 26th June, 1939, read 4th May 1940.
Christmas, 1939, marks the centenary of the most spectacular landslip [landslide] recorded on the English coast. The great chasm then formed at Dowlands and Bindon, near Axmouth in South-East Devon, was one of a series of slips which have taken place during historic times in a continuous belt along the coast from the mouth of the River Axe on the west to the county boundary between Dorset and Devon on the east. Another related landslip lies further to the west at Hooken Cliff between Branscombe and Beer. The whole area is included in the Geological Survey (New Series) 1 inch map, Sheets 326 and 340.
All these falls are associated with the Cretaceous overstep of Chalk, Upper Greensand and Gault on an eroded surface of Triassic, Rhaetic and Liassic clays. The general succession may be summarised as follows:
Clay with Flints
.....Calcareous Sandstone and Chert Beds
.....Cowstones (lenticular concretions of calcareous sandstone)
Gault (sandy clay)
------------------ Lower (Blue) Lias (limestones and shales)
Rhaetic [Penarth Group, now](limestones, shales and marls)
Keuper Marls [Mercia Mudstone, Trias]
The sub-Cretaceous plane of denudation, which truncates in turn the Keuper Marls [Mercia Mudstone], Rhaetic [Penarth Group] and Blue Lias (see Fig. 31) dips sligthly towards the sea, the overlying Cretaceous beds having a similar inclination, of about 5 degrees. Water, after percolating through the Chalk and Upper Greensand, accumulates in the Foxmould, over the impervious foundations formed by the argillaceous Keuper, Rhaetic, Lias and Gault. The supporting sands are liable to washed away from from the base of the Upper Greensand, so that the chert beds and calcareous sandstones may then founder and slide towards the sea, carrying the Chalk with them.
Arber, M.A. 1941. The coastal landslips of West Dorset. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 52, 273-283. pls. 19 and 20. By Murial A. Arber, M.A., F.G.S. [with three monochrome photographs of Black Ven, including the Raffeys mudslide and the loss of the old coast road, and one of west of Eype Mouth] "The coast-line of South-East Devon has long been famous for its landslips. An account of the series between Branscombe on the west and the county boundary of Devon and Dorset on the east was given in a previous paper (Arber 1940); the present paper describes the slipping which continues along the Dorset coast from the county boundary as far east at Watton Cliff near Bridport... The falls in Dorset are smaller and less spectacular than those in Devon, where the Foxmould sands of the Upper Greensand are capped by massive beds of chert, calcareous sandstone, and Chalk. These upper beds, gradually undermined by the washing out of the Foxmould below, periodically become detached from the main cliff, foundering and sliding down seaward in great blocks over a lubricated substratum of clays belonging to the Gault, Lias, Rhaetic and Trias formations. The single plane of weakness in South-East Devon thus lies above thge unconformable base of the Cretaceous beds, and slips are liable to occur on a catastrophic scale. In West Dorset, on the other hand, there is no such coherent capping to settle and slide en bloc. Moveover, there is much greater lithological variety, as well as a higher cliff-section, in the Liassic beds below, so that slipping may occur as each of the many water-bearing horizons throughout the Jurassic and Cretaceous. This results in the terraced profile which is a the peculiar scenic feature of the West Dorset Cliffs.".. [continues].
Arber, M.A. 1946. The valley system of Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 57, 8-15.
Arber, M.A. 1971. The Plane of Landslipping on the Coast of South-East Devon. 153-154 in: Applied Coastal Geomorphology, ed. by J. A. Steers. London.
Arber, M.A. 1973. Landslips near Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 84, 121-133. By Muriel A. Arber, 18 Sherlock Close, Cambridge. Presidential address to the Geologists' Association, delivered 2 March 1973. Abstract: A brief summary is given of the history of the earlier landslips on the coast of south-east Devon and West Dorset, which have already been described by the author (1940, 1941). During the last thirty years there has been a great increase in the rate and scale of the slipping, and there has been a landslide precipitated by excavations in the town of Lyme Regis itself. A description is given of all these slips, with special reference to the light that they have thrown on the mechanism involved. Some of the movements had been obviously rotational, but there is still no evidence of tilting in the great 'island' beyond the chasm at Dowlands. However, further knowledge of the undercliffs between Lyme Regis and Axmouth has led to the recognition that they consist of a series of ridges tilted inland and running parallel to the coast-line. Study of these ridges, and of the miniature chasms that have developed in certain fields, suggest that the 'island' is a horst-like mass which remains unmoved between the tilted ridges which slid down both on its seaward side and in the chasm on its landward side.
Arkell , W.J. 1933 (reprinted 1970). The Jurassic System in Great Britain. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 681 pp. By Dr. William Joscelyn Arkell, Oxford, January 1933.
In England, in the sphere of Jurassic geology, we are wardens of a classic area, for our cliffs and quarries are the standards of comparison for the whole world. A German authority, Dr. Hans Selfeld, remarked after a brief study in 1914. 'Research on the faunas and their successions shows that the English Upper Jurassic can be taken as the type of that of North-West Europe, in the most complete development anywhere yet known.' He had studied only the Upper Jurassic, but the same could with equal truth be said of the Lower.
This is no mean heritage. In our Jurassic rocks all the principles of stratigraphy are illustrated perhaps more clearly than in any other part of the geological record. Palaeontologically, too, the system contains an unequaled wealth of materials; and for the evolutionists, the ecologist and palaeogeographer no more favourable field exists.
The aim of this book is, first and foremost, to provide a general description of the Jurassic rocks of the British Isle, indicating what work has been done and where the information is to be obtained, and to illustrate some of the magnificent type-sections. It has been found that to give even an outline account of the rocks and the various changes that they undergo as they are traced across the country, pointing out the presence and significance of discordances, and arranging the facts in sequence as data for the elucidation of earth-history, is a matter of considerable difficulty within the limits of one volume.
Arthur , M.A., Dean, W.E., Bottjer, D. and Scholl, P.A. 1984. Rhythmic bedding in Mesozoic-Cenozoic pelagic carbonate sequences: the primary and diagenetic origin of Milankovitch-like cycles. In (Berger, A., Imbrie, J., Hays, , J., Kukla, G. & Saltzman, B., eds) Milankovitch and Climate. Ridel, Hingham, 191-222.
Ashley , H. 1992. The Dorset Coast: History, Lore and Legend. Countryside Books, Newbury. 127pp.
Astin , T.R. 1986. Septarian crack formation in carbonate concretions from shales and mudstones. Clay Minerals, 21, 617-632.
Astin, T.R. and Scotchman, I.C. 1988. The diagenetic history of some septarian concretions from the Kimmeridge Clay, England. Sedimentology, 35, 349-368. Abstract: The concretions were buried in the Late Jurassic to about 130 m, and in the Late Cretaceous to about 550 m, with uplift between. Oxygen isotopes show that the concretion grew throughout the first burial, with septarian veins forming from about 30 m depth onwards. Later septarian veins formed between about 200 and 500 m during the second burial. Synchronous formation of septarian fractures and fibrous calcite matrix shows that the Kimmeridge Clay became overpressured during the later stages of both burials. [Not on the Lias but relevant to Liassic concretions.]
Barton, M. 1977. Cliff House (site of), Old Lyme Road, Charmouth, Dorset. Geotechnical Report. By Dr. M. E. Barton [now Professor Max Barton]. For Messrs. Hume, Tottenham and Bennett, Consulting Engineers. 13 pp. of text, typscript. 2 pages of references, 3 tables, 5 Figures (maps and diagrams).
"(i) The site of the property known as Cliff House (of which only the garage and overgrown garden exists: the house itself having been recently demolished) lies at the western end of the trafficable section of the Old Lyme Road... Most of the site is at an approximate height of 110m. AOD and is adjacent to the Black Ven Coastal Cliff Landslide complex.... The edge of the cliff top scarp slope flanking this landslide complex is orientated approx. NW - SE and forms a topographic boundary on the south west side of the property.
(ii) The site itself slopes south eastwards: continuing the general trend of this side of the Char Valley. The western end of the site formerly rose in level by several metres such that Old Lyme Road passed though a cutting known as the Devil's Bellows (see fig. 1). North of the cutting the ground rises sharply to about 145 m. AOD (called the Devil's Bellows' Hill on fig. 1). The high ground on the western end of the site has been excavated and the spoil tipped onto the first bench level below the site." ... continues
Bathurst , R.G.C. 1987. Diagenetically-enhanced bedding in argillaceous platform limestones: stratified cementation and selective compaction. Sedimentology, 34, pp. 749-778. By Professor Robin Bathurst.
Bellamy , J.R.W. 1980. Carbonates within Bituminous Shales of the British Jurassic - Their Petrography and Diagenesis. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, University of Southampton. 276pp. By Jon Richard Winter Bellamy. Supervisor: Dr Ian West. With much XRD data, various graphs and monochrome photographs from the field and from thin-sections. Abstract in full: Bituminous shales containing enigmatic carbonate lithologies, such as calcite nodules, beef lenses and dolomite beds, form a significant portion of the southern England Jurassic succession. The highly kerogenous Kimmeridge Clay is the thickest such shale. Samples of its carbonates collected from Dorset and elsewhere in the UK were studied using thin and ultra-thin sections, XRD, SEM and AA. The bituminous Oxford Clay and Lias were also sampled...Primary calcite was largely supplied by calcareous plankton and molluscs. During early diagenesis, as a result of bacterial activity, magnesian calcite precipitated within a metre or so of the sediment surface as nodules and scattered minute crystals, forming in abundance during periods of reduced sedimentation. Calcium and magnesium ions were supplied by diffusion from the sediment surface. Ferrous iron, scarce in the calcite, was scavenged from pore water to form pyrite. Processes occurring within basinal sediments of the Santa Barbara Basin, California, where pore waters display high Mg/Ca ratios and alkalinities, are suggested as a model for the early diagenesis in the Jurassic bituminous shales. ..During deeper burial diagenesis other carbonate lithologies evolved. Each of these possess characteristic crystal fabrics that developed in response to overburden pressure as the carbonates formed or were altered. These fabrics can be evaluated using a simple XRD technique. Ferroan and non-ferroan elongate-calcite ('beef') formed at depths of up to hundreds of metres by a process of vertically displacive crystal growth. Both the long axes and c-axies of its crystals tend to be orientated perpendicular to bedding. Ferroan dolomite with the same fabric formed in a similar fashion, minor laterally displacive crystal growth giving rise to distinctive, large-scale polygonal thrust patterns in some beds. Both derived their carbonate largely from the breakdown of organic matter. Other dolomite formed by replacing magnesian calcite and as a cavity-filling cement. Magnesium in this carbonate could have been derived from the diagenetic alteration of unstable magnesian calcite and dolomite, algal organic matter and clays...The diagenetic history of the carbonates within the Jurassic bituminous shales provides a model applicable to other marine bituminous shales.
Bessa, J.L. and Hesselbo, S.P. 1997. Gamma-ray character and correlation of the Lower Lias, SW Britain. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, vol. 108, 113-129. A high resolution outcrop to subsurface gamma-ray correlation of the Lower Lias across SW Britain is presented. The study focuses upon the fully mud-dominated, fully marine Rhaetian to Pliensbachian succession that outcrops in the Bristol Channel and Wessex Basins. The succession has been divided into eighteen correlatable spectral gamma-ray units. Boundaries of the gamma-ray units do not cross time-lines inferred from the biostratigraphy. Correlation of the spectral gamma-ray units N-S across the Bristol Channel suggest a hiatus at the boundary of the planorbis and liasicus ammonite zones in Somerset relative to the coeval section in Glamorgan. The outcrop-based gamma-ray unit have also been identified in the subsurface from total gamma-ray logs in the Burton Row borehole, Somerset, and in the Winterborne Kingston borehole, Dorset. Correlation is therefore possible across numerous fault blocks and between different basins.
Bird , E.C.F. 1990 (for 1989). The beaches of Lyme Bay. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 1989, published June 1990, 111, 91-97.
The beaches of Lyme Bay consist largely of flint and chert shingle, with some sand, derived from eroding cliffs and sea floor sources. They include Chesil Beach, which shows lateral grading from small pebbles in the west to large pebbles in the east. Several other beaches on the north coast of Lyme Bay also show lateral grading, low beaches of poorly sorted sand and shingle to the west becoming higher and often wider, coarser and better sorted to the east. Lateral grading is attributed to an alternation of eastward beach drifting by strong south-westerly wave action with westward movement of finer material by gentler southeasterly wave action. Whereas Chesil Beach is a relict shingle formation, the other beaches are still receiving small quantities of sand and shingle. Cliff erosion and slumping are more rapid behind low beach sectors than where a high, wide accumulation of coarse shingle protects the shore. It is suggested that artificial beach nourishment should be used as a method of coastal protection on the shores of Lyme Bay. [end of abstract]
Bird, E. 1995. Geology and Scenery of Dorset. Ex Libris Press, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, 207 pp. By Eric Bird
Bohm , F., Westphal, H. and Bornholdt, S. 2003. Required but disguised: environmental signals in limestone-marl alternations. Palaeogeography. Palaeoclimatology. Palaeoecology, 2987, 1-18.
Bradshaw , M.J., Cope, J.C.W., Cripps, D.W., Donovan, D.T., Howarth, M.K., Rawson, P.F., West, I.M. and Wimbledon, W.A. 1992. The Jurassic. In (Cope, J.C.W., , Ingham, J.K. & Rawson, P.F.; eds) Atlas of Palaeogeography and Lithofacies. Geological Society, London, Memoir, 13, 107-129.
Bray , M.J. 1986. A Geomorphological Investigation of the South West Dorset coast. Volume 1: Patterns of Sediment Supply. Report to Dorset County Council, 144pp.
Bray, M.J. 1986. A Geomorphological Investigation of the South West Dorset coast. Volume 1: Patterns of Sediment Transport. Report to Dorset County Council, 798pp.
Bray, M.J. 1992. Coastal sediment supply and transport [re West Dorset]. In: Allison, R.J. (Ed.) 1992. The Coastal Landforms of West Dorset. The Geologists' Association, 134 pp., paperback, pp. 94-105.
British Geological Survey (BGS). (Compiler Woods, M.A.) 2011. Geology of South Dorset and South-East Devon and its World Heritage Coast.
Special Memoir for 1:50,000 geological sheets 328 Dorchester, 342 West Fleet and Weymouth and 342/343 Swanage and parts of sheets 326/340 Sidmouth, 327 Bridport, 329 Bournemouth and 330 Newton Abbott. Compiled by M.A. Woods. By Barton, C.M., Woods, M.A., Bristow, C.R., Newell, A.J., Westhead, R.K., Evans, D.J., Kirby G.A., and Warrington, G. Contributors: Biostratigraphy - J.B. Riding; Stratigraphy - E.C. Freshney; Economic Geology - D.E. Highley and G.K. Lott; Engineering Geology - A. Forster and A. Gibson. British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, 2011. 161 pp. This is the new version of the Geological Survey Memoir for the Dorset Coast etc. and replaces Arkell (1947) and the earlier memoir by Strahan (1898). It covers a wider area than these old memoirs, though, and includes all of "Jurassic Coast", UNESCO World Heritage Coast. It is a key reference work. Available from BGS Online Bookshop at 24 pounds stirling (or thereabouts) .
British Geological Survey. 2012. Engineering Geology of British Rocks and Soils - Lias Group. - Land Use, Planning and Development Programme. Internal Report [of BGS] OR/12/032. 159pp plus Appendix (total about 300plus pages). By Hobbs, P.R.N., Entwisle, D.C., Northmore, K.J., Sumbler, M.G., Jones, L.D., Kemp, S., Self, S., Barron, M. and Meakin, J.L. Contributor/Editor: Northmore, K.L. British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham. This report is the published product of a science-budget research study within the 'Engineering Geology of British Rocks and Soils' project of the British Geological Survey (BGS).
Available in full online Engineering Geology of British Rocks and Soils - Lias Group. [A very useful report with clay mineralogy data, weathering information, pyrite oxidation, alum, landslides etc. With an extensive reference list.]
The report begins with an introduction and a detailed modern assessment of the Lias Group in terms of both stratigraphy and lithology. The modern lithostratigraphy is placed in the context of the old, and sometimes more familiar usage. The next two chapters deal with the mineralogy of a suite of samples collected for the project, and and an assessment on the nature and influence of weathering based on a detailed analysis of the Lias dataset held in the BGS National Geotechnical Properties Database. The following chapters cover geohazards associated with the Lias Group, and a brief overview of wide variety of industrial applications for which the Lias is well-known. The geotechnical database forms the basis of the penultimate chapter, geotechnical properties. The contents of the database are analysed, interpreted, presented in graphical form, and discussed in terms of statistical variation and in the light of likely engineering behaviour. The engineering geology of the Lias Group is discussed in the final chapter, borrowing from the preceding chapters. A comprehensive cited reference list and a bibliography are provided. In addition to the large number of technical data provided to BGS, a small data set has been generated by BGS laboratories, particularly in areas where the main database was deficient, and also in connection with associated BGS studiesd of the swelling and shrinkage properties of the Lias Group.
The individual items of data making up this database are not attributed. However, the contribution of a wide range of consultancies, contractors, authorities, and individuals is acknowledged. It is hoped that this report will provide a source of useful information to a wide range of engineers, planners, scientists, and other interested parties concerned with Lias Group materials.
It should be noted that whilst quantitative technical data are included in this report, these should not be used as a substitute for proper site investigation. [end of Summary; Introduction follows on page 1.]
British Museum (Natural History) - (now the Natural History Museum, London). 1975 and later editions. British Mesozoic Fossils. London. [useful for identification of some of the more common Liassic fossils in the field]
Brunsden - Professor Denys Brunsden.
"Brunsden has held many posts with distinction. Chair of the British Geomorphological Research Group, Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, President of the Geographical Association and, of course, first President of the IAG/AIG. Brunsden has published far and wide, helped numerous research students through the pitfalls of a PhD and inspired many through his love of landscape. It is this "love of landscape" which radiates through all his writing whether it be in his seminal contributions to geomorphological theory, his passionate crusading for applied geomorphology or in local scale analytical studies." [extract from article online].
Brunsden , D. 1969. The moving cliffs of Black Ven. Geographical Magazine, 41, 372-374.
Brunsden, D. 1973. The application of systems theory to the study of mass movement. Geologica Applicata e Idrogeologia, 8, 185-207.
Brunsden, D. 1974. The degradation of a coastal slope, Dorset, England. Institute of British Geographers, Special Publication, 7, 79-98.
Brunsden, D. 1984. Mudslides. In: Brunsden, D. and Prior, D.B. (Eds.) Slope Instability. Wiley, Chichester, 363-418.
Brunsden, D. 1999. Some geomorphological considerations for the future development of landslide models. Geomorphology, 30, 13-24. Abstract: This paper reviews the commonly available models used to model landslides. The main purpose is then to examine some of the wider issues associated with the developments that are required if we are to develop 3-D applications and to extrapolate their use to long time scales. The paper does not discuss landslide hazard mapping models but concentrates on the 3-D and temporal problems associated with the modelling of single slides.
Brunsden, D. and Chandler, J.H. 19??. Development of an episodic landform change model based upon the Black Ven mudslide, 1946-1995.
In: Advances in Hillslope Processes, (Ed: Brooks, S., Anderson. M.), Wiley, pp. 869-898.
[By Professor Denys Brunsden, Department of Geography, University of London, King's College London, The Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, UK. and J.H. Chandler, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK.]
In 1989 an episodic landform change model was developed, based primarily upon a 40 year sequence of digital elevation models representing the morphology of the Black Ven mudslide complex in Dorset, UK. DEMs were derived at approximate decadal intervals between 1946 and 1988 using manual methods of measurement and the archival photogrammetric technique (Chandler and Brunsden, 1995). Since 1989 developments in computing technology; an unexpected landslide event; additional climatic data and landslide incidence information have suggested revision of the original episodic model.
The historical spatial data, original processing methods and initial evolutionary model are described briefly. Significant developments in technology are reviewed, with particular emphasis on the potential of automated methods of deriving DEMs using digital photogrammetry. A new epoch of photography was obtained by the NERC Remote Sensing Facility in March 1995, recording the morphological effects of an unusual landslide event which occurred in August 1994. A new DEM consisting of 698,000 co-ordinates was measured automatically using the new digital photogrammetric methods and these and original historical data re-analysed using modern DEM processing methods. The resulting sequence of dated morphological descriptions and slope distributions were analysed in conjunction with a record of climatic information and landslide incidence data for the whole of the south coast. This unique combination has allowed the development of a revised and perhaps more accurate episodic landform change model, which is presented.
Brunsden, D. and Goudie, A.S. 1981. Classic Coastal Landforms of Dorset. The Geographical Association, Sheffield, 20pp.
Brunsden, D. and Jones, D.K.C. 1972. The morphology of degraded landslide slopes southwest Dorset. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, 5, 205-222.
Brunsden, D. and Jones, D.K.C. 1976. The evolution of landslide slopes in Dorset. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 283A, 605-631.
Brunsden, D. and Jones, D.K.C. 1980. Relative time scales and formative events in coastal landslide systems. Zeitschrift fur Geomorphology, 34, 1-19.
Brunsden, D. and Moore, R. 1999. Engineering geomorphology on the coast: lessons from west Dorset. Geomorphology, 31, 391-409. Abstract: The central aim of this paper is to describe the general context in which an applied geomorphological investigation for a management project on a Heritage coast will be set. We attempt to show how the decisions may be affected by historical legacies and public or administrative attitudes. Modern attitudes to the coast in Great Britain are summarized in the light of recent studies by the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Dorset coast in southwest England is used to illustrate the main points. The paper describes the coastal features, explains the historical legacy of use, and examines problems of contemporary coastal management. The paper concludes with a consideration of the natural geomorphological principles of landscape design which might be employed as part of the guiding concepts.
Brunsden, D. and Prior, D.B. (Eds.) Slope Instability. Wiley, Chichester, 363-418.
Buckland , W. 1822. On the excavation of valleys by diluvian action, as illustrated by a succession of valleys which intersect the south coast of Dorset and Devon. Transactions of the Geological Society, London (2), 1, 95-102, pls. 13 and 14.
Buckland, W. 1829a. On the discovery of a new species of pterodactyle in the Lias of Lyme Regis. Transactions of the Geological Society, London (2), 3, 217-222, pl. 27.
Buckland, W. 1829b. On the discovery of coprolites or fossil faeces in the Lias at Lyme Regis, and in other formations. Transactions of the Geological Society, London, (2), 3, 223-238.
Buckland, W. 1829c. On the discovery of a new species of pterodactyle; and also of the faeces of the Ichthyosaurus; and of a black substance resembling sepia, or indian ink, in the Lias at Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Geological Society, London, 1, 96-98.
Buckland, W. 1837. Geology and Mineralogy considered with Reference to Natural Theology. William Pickering, London, Vols. 1 and 2. The Bridgewater Treatises on the Power Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation, Treatise VI, 2nd Edition. [Published with funds left by the Right Honourable and Reverend Francis Henry, Earl of Bridgewater following his death in 1829. The Reverend William Buckland was Canon of Christ Church, and Reader in Geology and Mineralogy in the University of Oxford].
Buckland, W. and De La Beche, H.T. 1835. On the geology of the neighbourhood of Weymouth and the adjacent coast of Dorset. Transactions of the Geological Society, London (2), 4, 1-46, pls. 1-3.
Buckman , J. 1850. On some fossil plants from the Lower Lias. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 6, 413-418.
Buckman, S.S. 1918. Jurassic chronology: 1 - Lias. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 73, 257-327, pls. 26-31.
Bullock , W. 1820. A catalogue of a small but very fine collection of organised fossils from the Blue Lias formation at Lyme and Charmouth, in Dorsetshire, consisting principally of bones illustrating the osteology of the Ichthio-saurus, or Proteo-saurus etc. the genuine property of Colonel Birch. London.
Callomon , J.H. and Cope, J.C.W. 1995. The Jurassic Geology of Dorset. In: Taylor, P.D. (ed.). Field Geology of the British Jurassic. Geological Society, London, pp. 51-103. (See p. 56 on the Blue Lias. See p. 59 and 60 on the Bridport Sands)
Cameron , A.C.G. 1909a. On a well-section at Ware House, near Lyme Regis, and the fossils obtained therefrom. Geological Magazine, 46, 169-171.
Cameron, A.C.G. 1909b. The burning cliff near Lyme Regis. Geological Magazine, 46, p.336.
Cameron, A.C.G. 1912. Geology of Lyme Regis. F. Dunster, Lyme Regis.
Carpenter , 1838. Analysis of Blue Lias limestone Lyme Regis. In Pasley. Observations on Limes, Calcareous Cements etc. London, Appr. 112.
Carruthers , W. 1870. On fossil Cycadean stems from the secondary rocks of Britain. Transactions of the Linnean Society, London, 26 (4), 675.
Carter , R.W.G., Allen, J.R.L., Carr, A.P., Nicholls, R.J. and Orford, J.D. 1991. Coastal sedimentary environments of southern England, south Wales and southeast Ireland. 13th International Sedimentological Congress, Nottingham U.K. 1990, Field Guide No. 2. 86p.
Chandler , J.H. 1989. The Acquisition of Spatial Data from Archival Photographs and their Application to Geomorphology. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, City University, London, 300pp.
Chandler, J.H., 2001. Terrain measurement using automated digital photogrammetry, in Land surface evaluation for Engineering Practice, Engineering Geology, Special Publications 18, Griffiths, J.S. (Ed), Geological Society of London, London, pp. 13-18, ISBN 0267-9914/01.
Chandler, J.H. and Brunsden, D. 1995. Steady-state behaviour of the Black Ven mudslide - the application of archival analytical photogrammetry to studies of landform change. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 20, 255-275. ISBN 0197-9337. Abstract: The concept of dynamic equilibrium has provided geomorphologists with a challenging paradigm for studying landform evolution but quantitative evidence for its existence has proved illusive, particularly for complex geomorphological systems, The authors believe that the principle has now been verified through the application of the 'archival photogrammetric technique' to a sequence of historical photographs spanning 50 years of process at the Black Ven mudslide complex in Dorset, U.K. The principles and limitations of the archival photogrammetric technique are described. The method is applied to oblique and vertical aerial photographs of Black Ven at five epochs, commencing in 1946, continuing at approximately 10 year intervals until 1988. The technique is used to generate plans/contours/sections and a dense and accurate digital elevation model (DEM) of the whole site at each epoch. This is used to generate 'DEMs of difference' and a 'distribution of slope angle' which suggest that the mudslides are in equilibrium despite the removal of 200 000 m(3) of sediment between 1958 and 1988. Extrapolation of the slope distribution through time suggests that the frequency of an episodic landform change model at Black Ven may be approximately 60 years.
Chandler, J.H. and Cooper, M.A.R., 1988. Monitoring the development of landslides using archival photography and analytical photogrammetry. Land and Minerals Surveying, 6, 576-584.
Chandler, J.H. and Cooper, M.A.R. 1989. The extraction of positional data from historical photographs and their application in geomorphology. Photogrammetric Record, 13,(73):69-78.
Chandler, J.H. 2005?. Evolution of the Black Ven Landslide. - website by Jim Chandler of Loughborough University, produced in connection with Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. This provides many aerial photographs of Black Ven, animations of changes in the landslides, literature references etc.
Extract from the start of the website: "Animations illustrating massive cliff recession and coastal change. The area west of the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is known as Black Ven, and is not just a source of fossils and diverse plants. It is also a site that has undergone massive physical change over the last 50 years, including 80 metres of cliff recession- virtually the length of a football pitch!
Contents: Animations, Photo-maps, Sectional Profiles, 3D Grids, Surface models, Surface change models, Technical issues, How were these data derived? Datasets, Further Information, Related publications, Websites, Feedback, Acknowledgements."
Chen , Y. Y. and Wright, R. C. 1987. Palynofacies analysis of the Blue Lias (Lower Jurassic) Dorset, southern England. In: Innovative Biostratigraphic Approaches to Sequence Analysis; New Exploration Opportunities. McNulty, Charles L.; Waterman, Arthur S. : Eighth annual research conference, Gulf Coast Section, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Foundation Houston, TX, United States Dec. 6-9, 1987. Annual Research Conference. Gulf Coast Section. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists. Program and Abstracts. vol. 8 p. 41-42
Clarke , N.J. 1982 (reprinted: 1985, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000). The Book of the Cobb, Lyme Regis. Nigel J. Clarke Publications, Unit 2, Russel House, Lym Close, Lyme Regis, Dorset. DT7 3DE. 22pp. £1.99p. [An interesting account of the history of the Cobb, with old illustrations.]
Clarke, N.J. 1985. (and 1990) Lyme Bay Fossils. Beach Guide. 36 pp. [Introductory - for visitors to Lyme Regis]. According to the 1990 edition - By Nigel J. Clarke, published by Nigel J. Clarke Publications, Unit 2, Russell House, Lyme Regis. Reprinted at various dates. Available from fossil shops etc. in Lyme Regis. Extract: "The Black Ven cliffs are constantly crumbling and falling, and with this action the main fossil-bearing beds continually reveal new material. The debris to the foot of the cliffs is a rich source of varied fossils. With a little patience and rummaging among the fallen rock, you should be able to find the imprint of Ammonites or the 'bullet like' fossil of the Belemnite. In wet weather the flat plateau area above the beach is very boggy as it collects streams of water from the cliffs and becomes dangerous due to the water-logged sands. One should be very wary of the tide which reaches to the cliffs, towards the Lyme Regis end of the beach."
Clarke, N.J. 2000. A fossil called Mary. Down to Earth (Newpaper-style magazine on earth science published by Geo Supplies Ltd of Sheffield, ISSN 0969-3408), Issue No. 33, Nov. 2000. P.6. [Report of a discovery of an ichthyosaur skeleton, with photograph. A professional fossil from Charmouth, Tony Gill, was walking along the beach examining the cliffs of Stonebarrow Hill, east of Charmouth, early on the morning of 21 July, 2000. He spotted an ichthyosaur vertebra in a slab of rock in a rockfall which had crashed to the beach after a week of torrential rain. This proved to be part of the remains of the 10m skeleton of an ichthyosaur, which was then christened 'Mary' after the famous collector Mary Anning. The remains were excavated as a series of large blocks or nodules containing the skeleton within. The bones are being slowly revealed by digestion of the limestone by acetic acid, with some additional mechanical treatment, over a period of about a year. Tony Gill's fossil shop is in the converted 19th Century cement factory on the shore at Charmouth. It displays ammonites, belemnites and starfish etc.]
Clayton, C.J., Myers, K.J. and Fleet, A.J. 1988. Petroleum source rocks of southern England. (BP Research International, Sunbury-on-Thames). PESBG/BRG Meeting London, September 1988. Regional Geology of the Southern United Kingdom. Petroleum Exploration Perspectives.
Coates, M. 2005. et al. Discovering the Fossils and Geology Around Lyme Regis. CD-Rom. Publisher Great Finds Production. By Mary Coates et al. Price £14.99p.
Cobbold, P.R. and Rodrigues, N. 2007. Seepage forces, important factors in the formation of horizontal hydraulic fractures and bedding-parallel fibrous
veins ('beef' and 'cone-in-cone'). Geofluids, vol. 7, 313-322.
Bedding-parallel fibrous veins ('beef' and 'cone-in-cone') are common to a number of sedimentary basins, especially those containing black shale. The type locality is SW England. The commonest mineral in the fibres is calcite. The fibres indicate vertical opening, against the force of gravity. In the past, this has been attributed to fluid overpressure. However, a simple analysis, based on Von Terzaghi's concepts, leads to the conclusion that, for the fractures to be horizontal, either the rock must be anisotropic, or it must be subject to horizontal compression. By means of a more complete analysis, supported by physical models, we show that horizontal fractures are to be expected, even if the rock is isotropic and there are no tectonic stresses. Upward fluid flow, in response to an overpressure gradient, imparts seepage forces to all elements of the solid framework. The seepage forces counteract the weight of the rock, and even surpass it, generating a tensile effective stress. The process may lead, either to tensile hydraulic fracturing, or to dilatant shear failure. We suggest that these two failure modes, and the availability of suitable solutes, explain the frequent occurrence of 'beef' and 'cone-in-cone' respectively.
Cobbold, P.R. and Rodrigues, N. 2013. Seepage forces, important factors in the formation of horizontal hydraulic fractures and bedding-parallel fibrous veins ("beef" and "cone-in-cone"). Marine and Petroleum Geology, vol. ? By Peter R. Cobbold and Nuno Rodrigues, Géosciences-Rennes (UMR6118), CNRS et Université de Rennes 1, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042, Rennes Cedex, France.
Principal author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bedding-parallel fibrous veins ("beef” and “cone-in-cone”) are common to a number of sedimentary basins, especially those containing black shale. The type locality is SW England. The commonest mineral in the fibres is calcite. The fibres indicate vertical opening, against the force of gravity. In the past, this has been attributed to fluid overpressure. However, a simple analysis, based on Von Terzaghi's concepts, leads to the conclusion that, for the fractures to be horizontal, either the rock must be anisotropic, or it must be subject to horizontal compression. By means of a more complete analysis, supported by physical models, we show that horizontal fractures are to be expected, even if the rock is isotropic and there are no tectonic stresses. Upward fluid flow, in response to an overpressure gradient, imparts seepage forces to all elements of the solid framework. The seepage forces counteract the weight of the rock, and even surpass it, generating a tensile effective stress. The process may lead, either to tensile hydraulic fracturing, or to dilatant shear failure. We suggest that these two failure modes, and the availability of suitable solutes, explain the frequent occurrence of "beef" and "cone-in-cone", respectively.
Conway , B.W. 1973. The Black Ven Landslip, Charmouth, Dorset. Paper presented to the Engineering Group of the Geological Society, Field Meeting, May, 1973, 1-5. By Bernard Walford Conway.
Conway, B.W. 1974. The Black Ven Landslip, Charmouth, Dorset: an example of the effect of a secondary reservoir of groundwater in an unstable area. Institute of Geological Sciences [now BGS, British Geological Survey], Natural Environment Research Council, NERC Report No. 74/3. 16 pp. By Brian Walford Conway. With very good photographic plates and with a map. Contains a vertical and oblique aerial photographs, some dating from 1969. A key publication.
Some areas of instability show a rate of degradation exceeding that which is expected to result from the action of surface run-off water alone. The accelerated degradation is shown to be due to association with reservoirs of groundwater. The presence of reservoirs initiates seepage and seepage erosion, which in turn is responsible for the development of gully systems, and in the mature stage flow paths and flow bowls may result. Sheet flow is generated when the debris accumulation on a terrace is pushed forward over the terrace cliff on a broad front by the massive addition of material resulting from the activity of secondary reservoirs and its original nature is concealed by a multi-layer aggradation of debris.
[Includes information relevant to the Higher Sea Lane area, Charmouth, and this is aerial photograph, Plate 3. ]
See also: Denness et al. (1975). Investigation of a Coastal Landslip at Charmouth, Dorset. [This has more detailed information regarding Higher Sea Lane, Charmouth, and a possible landslide threat, near Raffey's Ledge.]
Conway, B.W. 1977. A Regional Study of Coastal Landslips in West Dorset. Report for the Department of the Environment under Contract No. DGR482/17. Report No. 77/10. 80 pages, plus references, photographs and large maps.Deals with Eastcliff, Lyme Regis and Higher Sea Lane, Charmouth.
Conway, B.W. 1979. The contribution made to cliff instability by head deposits in the west Dorset coastal area. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, vol. 12, pp. 267-279.
In the west Dorset coastal area superficial materials include Head deposits which, by the nature of their origin, are variable in structure and composition. Two broad types are recognized depending on the provenance of the predominant constituent: Cretaceous Head and Lias Head. The Cretaceous Head was probably formed near to or at the end of the Devensian stage of the Late Pleistocene. Where the two types of Head deposit are superimposed, Cretaceous Head always lies above Lias Head. On many slopes Lias Head has topographic expression as lobate sheet forms which are frequently masked by a blanket of Cretaceous Head. The high permeability of Cretaceous Head together with the low strength of Lias Head produce slopes presenting potentially unstable conditions to depths of up to 4 m below ground surface. Three minor types of instability are generated in the Head deposits themselves: shallow translational movements, block slides, and shallow rotational slides. In addition, the high permeability of Cretaceous Head permits water to be introduced to undercliff areas, thus facilitating the development of instabilities in the solid formations below. This results in a mechanism of cliff-top retreat which is quite independent of cliff-toe erosion. The events at sites in Lyme Regis and Charmouth are summarized to illustrate the hazard presented by Head deposits in cliff-top areas.
Conybeare, W.D. 1824. Notice of the discovery of a new fossil animal forming a link between the ichthyosaurus and crocodile. Transactions of the Geological Society, London, Series 2, vol. 1, part 2, 389.
Conybeare, W.D. 1840. Extraordinary landslip and great convulsion of the coast of Culverhole Point, near Axmouth. Edinburgh New Phil. Journal, 29, p. 160. [by the Rev. W.D. Conybeare] On a major landslide west of Lyme Regis.
Conybeare, W.D. et al. 1840. Ten Plates, comprising a plan, sections, and views, representing the changes produced on the Coast of East Devon, between Axmouth and Lyme Regis, by the Subsidence of the Land and Elevation of the bottom of the Sea, on the 26th December, 1839, and 3rd February, 1840. From Drawings by W. Dawson, the Rev. W.D. Conybeare and Mrs. Buckland. With Geological Memoir and Sections by the Rev. W.D. Conybeare. The whole revised by Prof. Buckland. Oblong, London.
Cope , J.C.W., Ingham, J.K. and Rawson, P.F. (editor). 1991. Atlas of Palaeogeography and Lithofacies. Geological Society of London. Geological Society Memoir No. 13. ISBN 0-903317-65-6. (see Jurassic section - Bradshaw et al., p. 107 et seq. )
Cope, J.C.W. 2012. Geology of the Dorset Coast. Geologists' Association Guide, No. 22. 232 pp., with many colour photographs and diagrams. New edition by John C.W. Cope. (See also the earlier editions by House, M.R. 1989 and 1993.)
Coram , R. 1989. Finding Fossils in Lyme Bay. 48pp. British Fossils, Unit 2, Bailey Gate Industrial Estate, Sturminster Newton, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 4DB. Printed by PW Printing Bournemouth. ISBN 1 871189 02 0. [Small paperback, pocket book, providing basic information on the cliffs sections of West Dorset and some of the fossils which have come from them. "This book explains how and where to collect fossils along the coast of Lyme Bay between Sidmouth and Bridport."]
Cornford , C. 1986. The Bristol Channel Graben: organic geochemical limits on subsidence and speculation on the origin of inversion ( oil-implications). Proceedings of the Ussher Society, 6 (3), 360-367. [In a study of the organic geochemistry of the Lower Lias coastal outcrops in Dorset, North Somerset and South Glamorgan a progressive maturity increase has been observed from south (Dorset) to north (Glamorgan).]
Cox, C.C. (undated - 1950s?). The History of the Church of St. Michael The Archangel, Lyme Regis. By C. Carew Cox, Vicar, 5th Edition, The British Publishing Company Limited, Gloucester, 16 pp. It contains records of earthquakes and probable tsunamis at Lyme Regis. Some extracts follow:
The general history of ancient Lyme has been written by many capable hands and is not our concern here. But the relation between ecclesiastical interests and the growth of the town is worth a note, for we find that in A.D. 774 King Cynewulf granted to the Abbey of Sherborne the land of one manse on the west bank of the Lim. Here came the monks then and Sherborne Lane was, perhaps, the site of their Salterns, the business through which Lyme had developed into a village ere the Domesday survey took place. In 1254 it is mentioned as a town under the government of bailiffs, and a reference then to shipping suggests the existence of some kind of harbour. Little can be discovered about the beginnings of the Cobb; a "port" or "cobb," however, at Lyme is spoken of in a document of 1230. Henry Ill, near the end of his reign, granted the town a fair and a market, and it received its Charter of Incorporation at the hands of Edward I in 1284.
The church stands at the bottom of the town in close proximity to the sea. In bygone days a considerable stretch of land intervened, but, owing to the wet lias subsoil, this has gradually slipped away. Only a small portion of the original churchyard remains, and the protective measures taken in 1911 have probably made it, and the site of the church, secure for years to come. A list of incumbents takes us back to the year 1329. The evidence of the fabric, however, proves the existence of a thirteenth-century church and suggests an even earlier building. The present church is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, and consists of a nave of six bays - two of which form the chancel- built on a gradient rising from west to east... [continues].
Baptisms, marriages and burials are recorded from the year 1538. The writing of the earliest entries is remarkably legible. There is an hiatus from 1572 to 1653, excepting one entry - the baptism of John, son of Ames Short, Vicar, in 1649. The page relating to 1653 has a note" This year Cromwell was Protector" and a baptism is recorded under the signature of the mayor. Following are some of the interesting memoranda dotted about on the pages :
" The Church belonging to Sarum, 1284."
" Dedicated to St. Michael, 1405."
" A legacy given to rebuild part of this Church of Lyme, 1503."
"The new singing began in Lyme Church, A.D. 1729."
"A Ring of new bells erected in the Tower, 1770."
"1688. The Town of Lyme in Dorsetshire suffered by an earthquake."
"1759, 31st of May. The sea flowed 3 times in, in an hour at Lyme."
"1797, 18th Aug. The sea as above attended with lightning. "
"1799, 26th of Jany. The sea flowed as above with the shock of an earthquake about 4 o'clock in the morning."
"May 11th, 1844. A large fire in Lyme burnt down a great number of houses amongst which was the Custom House, the Cupps Hotel and the old anchent Inn the George ware the Duke of Monmouth quartered when landed at Lyme."
1936. The gastropoda and lamellibranchia of the Green Ammonite Beds of Dorset. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 92, 456-471, pl. 34. Extract: "The most notable feature of the non-cephalopod molluscan fauna of these beds is the abundance of small gastropods, particularly a few feet above the Belemnite Stone, and of Taxodont lamellibranchs belonging to the genera Nucula, Nuculana, and Parallelodon. Most of the lamellibranchs and some of the gastropods are long-ranging forms. A few of the gastropods probably have a more restricted range, but the reappearance in bed 126a of Buvignieria biornata (Tate), so abundant in bed 123, shows that little reliance can be placed on species of this class for purposes of exact correlation. The most characteristic gastropods are two small discoidal species belonging to the genus Coelodiscus; these range throughout the Green Ammonite Beds, but are most abundant a few feet from the base. It is noteworthy that a related species, O. minutus (Schuibler MS., Zieten), occurs in similar abundance in the Upper Lias of Yorkshire, Germany, and elsewhere. Except for lnoceramus, which is not uncommon towards the base of the Green Ammonite Beds, lamellibranchs of families other than those already mentioned and the Pectinidae are rare. The Pectinidae are mostly small forms and are frequently indeterminate owing to incrustation. The species Oxytoma inequivalve (J. Sowerby), s~ abundant at lower horizons of the Dorset Lias, occurs but rarely, and Ostrea and Gryphrea appear to be completely absent. The most interesting lamellibranch species collected by Dr. Lang is referable to a new genus, Anningia, as yet, unfortunately, incompletely known. The facies differs appreciably from that of contemporaneous beds at various localities in Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, and Lincolnshire, where the lamellibranch fauna consists mainly of larger forms. It may be suggested that the Dorset beds were deposited under deeper-water conditions..."[continues]
Coysh , A.W. 1931. U-shaped burrows in the Lower Lias of Somerset and Dorset. Geological Magazine, 68, 13-15.
Cunnington , R.H. 1928. The scenary of Dorset and the geological factors to which it is due. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, 49, 147-189.
Davies, G.M. 1935. The Dorset Coast: A Geological Guide. Thomas Murby and Co. London. 1st edition. Extract from Preface to the First Edition: "The experience of many years has proved the Dorset coast to be an ideal training ground for field parties of geological students. There the beginner sees folds and faults as clearly recognisable as in text-book diagrams, while the advanced student finds many problems still inviting investigation. The fossil collector can make large bags, and the geographer, seeing how clearly surface features mirror the underlying structure, is more than ever convinced that geology is the foundation of geology.... It is primarily for such students that this book has been written...
Davies, G.M. 1956. The Dorset Coast: A Geological Guide. Adam and Charles Black. London. 2nd edition, 128 pages.
Dawes, C. 2003. Fossil Hunting around Lyme Regis: a practical insight into the Jurassic Period. Paperback booklet, written and illustrated by Dr. Colin Dawes, B.Sc.,Ph.D., Colin Dawes Studios, 47 Broad Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3QF. Printed by Charles Wheadon, 56pp., £4.95. ISBN 0-9520112-1-2. Preface: "This booklet follows in the wake of the author's guided fossil hunting expeditions around Lyme Regis. It is geared up to the head of a family or the leader of a group such as school party. Everyone who uses it might well return home with the fossilized remains of sea creatures that lived about two hundred millions of years ago. Exciting enough. But before exploring the beaches around Lyme Regis the reader must be aware that the cliffs from which fossils are derived are unstable and going too close to them will put lives in danger. The reader should also bear in mind the danger of becoming trapped by incoming tides. For these reasons every sentence which relates to safety has been put in italics. That said, the casual fossil hunter (unarmed with a geological hammer) should be in no more danger than a beachcomber who heeds warning notices. It is hoped that this short publication might interest the qualified geologist exploring the beaches around Lyme Regis for the first time. Such an expert will be critical of many of the sweeping statements which follow but he might forgive the author whose aim is to provide a practical introduction to the Jurassic Period within a few pages and for a reader mostly unfamiliar with technical terms. Colin Dawes, Lyme Regis 2003."
Day , E.C.H. 1863. On the Middle and Upper Lias of the Dorsetshire coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 19, 278-297.
Day, E.C.H. 1864. On Acrodus anningiae Agassiz; with remarks on the affinities of genera Acrodus and Hybodus. Geological Magazine , 1, p.57.
Day, E.C.H. 1865. On a head of Hybodus Delabechii, Geological Magazine, 2, p. 565; and Geol. Nat. Hist. Repertory, 1, 193.
Day, E.C.H. 1865. On the Lower Lias of Lyme Regis. Geological Magazine, dec. 1, vol. 2, 518-519; and Geol. Nat. Hist. Repertory, 1, 193.
Dean , W.T., Donovan, D.T. and Howarth, M.K. 1961. The liassic ammonite zones and sub-zones of the North-West European Province. British Museum Natural History (Geology), 4, 10, 435-505.
de Bruxelles , S. 2001. Landslide home deemed a danger may be destroyed. The Times, Friday, January 5, 2001, p. 12. by Simon de Bruxelles. [of historic interest only now] (Occupies a third of a page, with a photograph of Russel Porter's condemned home). Extract of main points: "Householders in areas at risk of landslips or flooding face having their properties confiscated without compensation if the buildings are felt to be a danger to the public. The little-known powers came to light after occupants of two houses on the quayside of Lyme Regis were ordered out at 24 hours notice. The owners of a small French restaurant and a fish and chip shop lost their homes and livelihoods overnight because a safety inspector decided the properties could endanger the lives of visitors to the resort if the hillside behind them gave way. The three-storey Georgian properties were both gutted, propped up with scaffolding and then reinforced by pouring in tons of cement. Having rendered the properties uninhabitable and effectively worthless, West Dorset District Council then sent each of the owners a bill for just under 35,000 pounds, plus a half share of the 175 pounds - a - week rent of the scaffolding which will be due for the foreseeable future... No one in the seaside town immortalised in John Fowles novel - The French Lieutenant's Woman disputes that a large part of the resort is in danger of sliding into the sea... Last month the council sent letters warning occupants of 70 properties that tests it carried out had detected signs of movement, indicating a landslip 'within days'. Just after Christmas more than half a mile of cliff along the coast at Charmouth fell into the sea in the biggest landslide in the area for 50 years." -- continues -- "Compensation scheme is essential" -- "A national compensation formula, under which the Governement paid the owners of land lost to "managed retreat" programmes, was urgently needed."
De La Beche , H.T. 1822. Remarks on the geology of south coast of England from Bridport Harbour, Dorset, to Babbacombe Bay, Devon. Transactions of the Geological Society, London, Series 2, vol 1, 40-47, Plates iii-viii.
De La Beche, H.T. 1826a. On the Lias of the coast, in the vicinity of Lyme Regis, Dorset. Transactions of the Geological Society, London (2), 21-30, pls. iii, iv.
De La Beche, H.T. 1826b. On the chalk and sands beneath it (usually termed Green-sand) in the vicinity of Lyme Regis, Dorset and Beer, Devon. Transactions of the Geological Society, Series 2, vol. 2, 109-118.
De La Beche, H.T. 1839. Report on the Geology of Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of England and Wales.
Delair , J.B. 1958. The Mesozoic reptiles of Dorset: Part One. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 1957 79, 47-72. By Justin Delair.
Delair, J.B. 1959. The Mesozoic reptiles of Dorset: Part Two. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 1958 80, 52-90.
Delair, J.B. 1960. The Mesozoic reptiles of Dorset: Part Three, Conclusion. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 1959 79, 59-85.
Delair, J.B. 1966. New records of dinosaurs and other fossil reptiles from Dorset. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 87, 57-66.
Delair, J.B. 1975. Catalogues of British fossil vertebrate collections. GCC Newsletter, 1 (4), 184-186.
Delair, J.B. 1982. The fossil vertebrata in the Department of Geology at Southampton University. Geological Curator, 3, (4), 209-226.
Delair, J.B. 1986. Some little known Jurassic ichthyosaurs from Dorset. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 107, 127-134.
De Luc , J.A. 1811. Geological Travels. Vol. ii. Travels in England. Translated from the French Manuscript. London [Not seen, but referred to in Arber 1941.. De Luc observed that in 1805 the 'cape' on which the church at Lyme Regis stands was crumbling away into a series of steps, and he was then told that a large area of land, including some gardens, had been lost on this site. The cliff collapsed in broad strips, which had become detached by fissures and had successively slidden down the slope to the bottom. He suggested various protective measures, none of which was adopted.]
Denness , B. 1972. The Reservoir Principle of Mass Movement. Institute of Geological Sciences, Report 72/7, 13p. By Bruce Denness of the Institute of Geological Sciences, i.e. BGS, British Geological Survey, and now an Environmental Consultant at Newport, Isle of Wight. [The paper is only partly on Black Ven, see p. 4 ]
Summary: The reservoir principle (of mass movement) has been so termed because it describes the effect of groundwater draining from an overlying permeable stratum onto an impermeable plastic stratum: the permeable layer provides the reservoir of groundwater which is continously released. The principle may be summarised as that overall mechanism by which a landslip complex degenerates more rapidly from a 'solid' to a 'liquid' state than would be the case if the groundwater flow were not present. It is mainly influenced by the geological structure of the area, both regional and local, and the lithological characteristics of the beds.
The acceptance of rainwater into the reservoir is rapid but its discharge may continue at a decreasing rate until the reservoir is recharged. In the sequence described the majority of the groundwater discharges at a spring line at the top of the impermeable layer. The result of this process is that the surface zone of the lower layer becomes softer due to the intake of water while deforming the under the stresses caused by gravity. In the event of rotational slips taking place on the slope, the debris, being disturbed by the movement, permits easier access of the water. The final movement may be a more less viscous flow of debris.
Six examples are desribed, each showing different aspects of the principle within the same overall theme. The examples are taken from various points in the geological succession, including the very recent. [end of summary].
See Case Histories - Black Ven, Dorset. (p.4 et seq.).
"The cliffs at Black Ven in Lyme Bay, Dorset, were first investigated by the Engineering Geology Unit [of the Institute of Geological Science, i.e. BGS] in 1968, as part of a study of coastal instability in the Jurassic Series. ..."
"Many faults are to be found within and around the Black Ven area and they often influence the precise position and form of the instability but do not control the overall failure mechanism. The presence of a partially eroded syncline within the cliff complex has a greater effect." [NB - this syncline is important!]
See particularly: Fig. 3 on p. 6, showing Black Ven Landslide Complex, including a cross section with the seaward dip. The synclinal axis is also shown on a map in Fig. 3.
Denness, B., Conway, B.W., McCann, D.M. and Grainger, P. 1975. Investigation of a coastal landslip at Charmouth, Dorset. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, vol. 8, pp. 119-140, 11 figs. By Bruce Denness, Bernard Walford Conway, David Michael McCann and Peter Grainger. This paper has very good maps of the landslides at Black Ven, particularly adjacent to Higher Sea Lane, Charmouth. It also deals with remedial measure which may or may not have subsequently taken place. [See also Denness (1972), details above; and the related publication: Conway, B. 1974. The Black Ven Landslip, Charmouth, Dorset. Institute of Geological Sciences, Report No. 74/3, Natural Environment Research Council, HMSO, 65p; with photographs and maps.]
Summary: The Dorset Coast is an area with a long history of landslide activity and coastal erosion. Geologically the area is composed of clays, mudstones and limestones of several divisions of the lower Jurassic (Lower Lias) which are overlain unconformably by Cretaceous clays and sands (Gault and Upper Greensand). Areas of serious instability appear to occur in close association with naturally occurring reservoirs of ground water, of which Black Ven at Charmouth is a good example. Problems connected with a small coastal landslip near a private housing estate at Charmouth [Higher Sea Lane etc.] were studied and shown to be related to a Pleistocene mudflow. The main purpose of this investigation was to suggest remedial works but the subsidiary aim, forming the theme of this paper, was to assess the usefulness of shallow depth geophysical and geotechnical methods not normally used in instability studies.
Brief extract: "The Higher Sea Lane site lies on the eastern flank of the Black Ven complex (Fig.1) and some of the problems presented by the site result from the proximity of a source of ground water in the Upper Greensand. This bed acts as ground-water reservoir allows water to seep out continually onto the Lias slopes below; the reservoir principle of mass movement is discussed in relation to Black Ven by Denness (1972)[see above] and by Conway (1974)."
Extract from Conclusions:
"This comprehensive investigation of the Higher Sea Lane landslip has established the general and specific factors which affect cliff stability in the area and has outlined the stable and unstable parts of the cliff. The local instability is associated with reactivation of fossil mudflows which overlies the Lias clay at the point of maximum cliff recession. The basic problem is identified as the location of a secondary reservoir (Conway, 1974), i.e. the mudflows which supply water to the gently dipping Lias beds, and cause landslipping in a direction perpendicular to the original direction of movement. The Higher Sea Lane area is influenced by the location of a primary reservoir consisting of the Chert Beds [i.e. the Whitecliff Chert Member of the Upper Greensand] and the Foxmould [soft sandstone of the Upper Greensand] higher in the Black Ven landslip complex....." [continues].
Department of the Environment . 1990. Planning Policy Guidance: Development on Unstable Land. HMSO, London, 14 pp.
Dorset County Council , 2006. Lyme Regis Coast Protection Works. An example extract from the article is given below:
"The Lyme Regis Coast Protection Scheme was initiated by West Dorset District Council in the early 1990s. It aims to provide long-term coast protection for the town and to reduce damage and disruption caused by landslipping, through a long-term programme of engineering works.
Phase 1 of the scheme, which includes a new sea wall and promenade next to the mouth of the River Lim, was completed in 1995. Urgent stabilisation work was carried out in several locations during winter 2003/2004. Detailed designs have been drawn up for a £17 million Phase 2 scheme to protect the foreshore along the main frontage from the sea and to stabilise the land behind. Construction works on Phase 2, for the town frontage and gardens, commenced in April 2005 and should be completed by April 2007. West Dorset District Council has also been carrying out preliminary studies and preparing conceptual designs for economic and environmentally acceptable coast protection works for other areas of the town. Emergency stabilisation work has taken place recently in critical areas to provide short-term protection while the main schemes are being developed. Funding from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has now been received for the start of the preliminary design study relating to Phase IV - the Church Cliff and East Cliff area on the eastern edge of Lyme Regis. This scheme will be of a similar magnitude to Phase II and the preliminary design will aim to develop a solution to protect the coast, property and the natural environment which makes this area so attractive to locals and visitors alike and to enable a bid to be made for coast protection funding."
See also the download available from the Dorset County Council webpage. This provides more information on coast erosion and landslides. This is a short but very useful pdf file:
DCC, Engineering Division - Notes on Lyme Regis Environmental Improvements Preliminary Studies.
Small example extract:
"The beaches are in long-term decline and are now a small
fraction of their original volume. The decline is part of a
natural process of fragmentation of the beaches along the West
Dorset coastline which has been exacerbated and complicated by
the building of structures such as the Cobb and the sea walls.
There is no longer any natural supply of beach-forming shingle...
The seabed and shore platform in front of the sea walls have
undergone considerable erosion and lowering over the last two
centuries, such that the sea walls’ exposure to wave attack has
The connection of the Cobb to the mainland in the 1750s has
resulted in the interruption of the west to east longshore drift and
the substantial build-up of Monmouth Beach on its western side.
There has been little sediment input to Monmouth Beach since
the 1840’s when the Humble Point landslip interrupted
longshore transport. The growth of Monmouth Beach at the
Cobb has therefore been at the expense of the western end of the beach..." [continues - now see the full article for more information!]
Visit the Information Centre near the Cobb, Lyme Regis for more on the sea defence works and for brochures etc.
Draper, J. 2004. Mary Anning's Town - Lyme Regis. Dorset County Council Printing Services, Dorchester, Dorset. By Jo Draper. 58 pp with many illustrations. Price £4.95p.
Downes , W. 1885. Cretaceous Beds at Black Ven, near Lyme Regis, with some supplementary remarks on the Blackdown Beds. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 61, 23-27. [By the Reverend W. Downes]
Draper, J. 2002 (Proceedings for 2001). Quarrying the Lias at Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, vol. 123, pp. 15-22. By Jo Draper. With an old map, an old advertisement and eight old photographs of Lyme Regis.
Example extract from the beginning:
It is often stated that the discovery of fossils in the Lias at Whitby, Yorkshire, was allied to the stone industry there, but less commonly acknowledged that this was also true of Lyme Regis, possibly because the Lyme Lias seems so unlikely to be a useful stone. Henry de la Beche condemned it in 1839: 'When taken from the sea-side, as near Lyme Regis, whereof has become impregnated with saline water, it is notoriously bad as a building stone (De la Beche, 1839, p. 488). Despite this the Lias has been used for paving and building locally to Lyme Regis from medieval times, but it did not travel far for these purposes.
A more scientific approach in the 18th century led to the knowledge that limes made from certain limestones were more effective than others, and that Blue Lias lime (or cement) was one of those which would set underwater (Woodward 1893, pp. 288-89). De la Beche noted that Lias from Aberthaw in Wales was used for the first time for Eddystone Lighthouse, Plymouth in the 1750s. Equally good material could have been obtained much closer at Lyme Regis (De la Beche 1839, p. 507). Clearly there was no cement industry at Lyme then, but Smeaton's work on developing hydraulic limes for Eddystone was the foundation of the whole industry (Dancaster 1916, pp.4-9).
The industry at Lyme:
A recently discovered advertisement of April 1826 (Fig. 1) gives much detail about the early days of the industry. The first use seems to be by John Rennie (1761-1821) in his large engineering works. Margate pier was built 1810-1815, and the other projects are of similar dates, with the great breakwater at Plymouth started in 1811. It seems unlikely that the lime was prepared at Lyme Regis; presumably the lias was taken to the sites by sea and prepared there....
Durrance , E. M. and Laming, D.J.C. 1982. The Geology of Devon. University of Exeter. Exeter, 346p. (Brief summary regarding Blue Lias with some useful diagrams. Note particularly that above the Mongrel, the Top Tape (bed 29 of Lang) has an ammonite pavement with large specimens of Coroniceras conybeari .)
See also the download available from the Dorset County Council webpage. This provides more information on coast erosion and landslides. This is a short but very useful pdf file: DCC, Engineering Division - Notes on Lyme Regis Environmental Improvements Preliminary Studies. Small example extract: "The beaches are in long-term decline and are now a small fraction of their original volume. The decline is part of a natural process of fragmentation of the beaches along the West Dorset coastline which has been exacerbated and complicated by the building of structures such as the Cobb and the sea walls. There is no longer any natural supply of beach-forming shingle... The seabed and shore platform in front of the sea walls have undergone considerable erosion and lowering over the last two centuries, such that the sea walls’ exposure to wave attack has increased. The connection of the Cobb to the mainland in the 1750s has resulted in the interruption of the west to east longshore drift and the substantial build-up of Monmouth Beach on its western side. There has been little sediment input to Monmouth Beach since the 1840’s when the Humble Point landslip interrupted longshore transport. The growth of Monmouth Beach at the Cobb has therefore been at the expense of the western end of the beach..." [continues - now see the full article for more information!]
Visit the Information Centre near the Cobb, Lyme Regis for more on the sea defence works and for brochures etc.
Draper, J. 2004. Mary Anning's Town - Lyme Regis. Dorset County Council Printing Services, Dorchester, Dorset. By Jo Draper. 58 pp with many illustrations. Price £4.95p.
Edmonds, R. 2014. The use of UAV generated photo mosaic surveys for geological and geomorphological monitoring and mapping on the Jurassic coast. PDF file. By Richard Edmonds, Earth Science Manager, World Heritage Site Team. Hosted by Dorset County Council, County Hall, Dorchester, DT1 1XJ. This is the link for a PDF download of a presentation by Richard Edmonds: Use of UAV generated photo mosaic survey for geomorphological mapping etc.
Ebukanson , E.J. and Kinghorn, R.R.F. 1986. Maturity of organic matter in the Jurassic of southern England and its relation to the burial history of the sediments. Journal of Petroleum Geology, 9, 259-280.
Ebukanson, E.J. and Kinghorn, R.R.F. 1990. Jurassic mudrock formations of southern England: lithology, sedimentation rates and organic carbon content. Journal of Petroleum Geology, 13, 221-228.
EC LIFE Preparatory Action Programme: 1998-2001? Coastal Change, Climate and Instability. Isle of Wight Council, UK. (Research programme in progress, not as yet a completed report). The Project "Coastal Change, Climate and Instability" submitted by the Isle of Wight Council and partners, forms one of a number of " Preparatory Action" projects approved by the European Commission as of the LIFE Environment Programme within DG XI. This three year international project (currently in its second year, in 1999) brings together acknowledged experts in the fields of coastal, geotechnical and archaeological studies to undertake research on three linked elements in the fields of coastal change and climate change. The three elements of the project (summarised here) are as follows: 1. Using archaeological evidence to predict the nature, scale and pace of coastal change; 2. Relationship between rainfall, groundwater, erosion and ground movements to develop a more reliable methodology for landslide forcasting and risk assessment in developed coastal and mountainous areas; 3. To develop risk assessment advice and a code of practice for decision makers and other groups concerned with urban landslide areas. Overall, the aim of the project is to examine how predicted climate change may affect unstable coastal and mountainous areas and to assist in preparing for such changes. ---- A geotechnical part of this project is based in areas of coastal instability on the Isle of Wight (the Ventnor Undercliff and Afton Down), at Lyme Regis in Dorset (urban part?) , Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire, Overstrand in Norfolk, and Scarborough, Robin Hood's Bay and Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire. This study is through the Isle of Wight Council - Centre for the Coastal Environment and their consultants High-Point Rendel. ---- For further information contact: Robin G. McInnes, I.O.W. Coastal Manager, Jenny Jakeways - Project Officer, Isle of Wight Centre for the Coastal Environment, Directorate of Development, County Hall, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD, Tel. 01983-823702, Email - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
El-Shahat , A. and West, I.M. 1983. Early and late lithification of some aragonitic bivalve beds in the Purbeck Formation (Upper Jurassic - Lower Cretaceous) of southern England. Sedimentary Geology, 35, .l5-4l. Abstract: Beds of euryhaline bivalves alternating with shales constitute much of the middle Purbeck Formation. They originated on "tidal" flats at the western margin of an extensive brackish lagoon. When these shell beds are thin and enclosed in shale they are often still preserved as aragonite and associated with "beef", fibrous calcite formed during compaction. In most cases, however, the shell debris has been converted into calcitic biosparrudite limestones. A compacted type has been lithified at a late stage, after deep burial. In this, pyrite is abundant and most of the shell aragonite has been replaced neomorphically by ferroan pseudopleochroic calcite. A contrasting uncompacted type of biosparrudite is characterised by bivalve fragments with micrite envelopes. Shells and former pores are occupied by non-ferroan sparry calcite cement, and there is little pyrite. These limestones frequently contain dinosaur footprints and originated in "supratidal" environments where they were cemented early, mainly in meteoric water. Once lithified they were unaffected by compaction. This uncompacted type indicates phases of mild uplift or halts in subsidence. These shell-bed lithologies, and also intermediate types described here, will probably be recognised in other lagoonal formations. [This paper is not on the Lias (although briefly mentions Liassic beef) or on Lyme Regis but discusses Purbeck beef or fibrous calcite on pages 32-33. It supports the theory that the dissolution of aragonitic bioclasts under burial is the source of carbonate for the beef. References are given to other papers on beef. ]
Ensom , P. 1998. Discover Dorset: Geology. The Dovecote Press, Stanbridge, Wimborne, Dorset. 89 pp. ISBN 1-874336-52-0.
Fagersten , A. 1982. A Short History of Lyme Regis.
Forrest , R. 2004a (for 2003). Notes on a specimen of the Plesiosaur Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus (Reptilia; Plesiosauria) from the Lower Lias of Charmouth. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 2003, 125, 101-104. By Richard Forrest of the University of Leicester and of New Walk Museum, Leicester.
Abstract: An analysis of the dimensions of the cervical centra of a specimen of the plesiosaur Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus from the Lower Lias of Charmouth shows characters which may be of taxonomic significance.
Forrest, R. 2004b (for 2003). Taphonomic Distortion of Cervical Vertebrae of a Specimen of Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus (Reptilia; Plesiosauria) from the Lower Lias of Charmouth. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 2003, 125, 105-108.
Cervical centra of a specimen of the plesiosaur Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus from the Lower Lias of Charmouth shows considerable distortion of the elements due to taphonomic, tectonic and diagenetic processes. Variations in the degree and direction of distortion give an insight into complexity of the processes involved, and clues as to the disposition of the carcass on the sea floor before fossilisation.
Fowles , John (the well-known author of the 'French Lieutenant's Woman' etc.)
Fowles , J. 1983. Lyme Regis: Three Town Walks. Lyme Regis Museum. 24 pp. [This booklet by John Fowles contains much interesting historic information and old illustrations from F.P. Dunster of the middle 19th century. It has some comments on coastal history. Price in 2004 - £2.50 obtainable at Lyme Regis Museum. ]
Fowles, J. 1983. A Short History of Lyme Regis. John Fowles, Hardcover.
Fowles, J. 1991. Lyme Regis Camera.
Franks , E. 19?? The Undercliff: A Naturalist's Sketchbook of the Devon to Dorset Coast.
Gallois, R.W. 2004. The stratigraphy of the Upper Greensand (Cretaceous) of south-west England. Geoscience in South-West England., vol. 11, pp. 21-19. By Dr. Ramues Gallois, Stoke Valley Road, Exeter.
The Upper Greensand Formation, in part capped by the Chalk, forms a broad, highly dissected plateau in east Devon and south Somerset. The formation is poorly exposed inland, but the coastal cliffs between Sidmouth and Lyme Regis provide the most extensive and most complete exposure of the Upper Greensand in Britain. De la Beche (1862) divided the formation in Devon in three parts, in ascending order the Cowstone Beds (or Sands), Foxmould and Chert Beds. A recent survey hasd confirmed that two of these three subdivisions (redefined here as members) and has added a third. Each of the proposed members is separated by a major erosion surface that marks a change in overall lithology. The proposed type sectiosn for all three are exposures in cliffs on the east Devon coast. The Foxmould Member, which includes the Foxmould and Cowstones of De la Beche, consists of weakly cemented sandstones that crop out mostly on steep precipitous cliffs formed by the higher parts of the formation. The Chert Beds of De la Beche have been divided into two members, the Whitecliff Chert Member and the overlying Bindon Sandstone Member. Both are markedly more calcareous than the Foxmould Member and give rise to extensive sections that reveal marked lateral variations which reflect high energy, shallow-water, marine environments. The ages of the lowest and highest parts of the formation are well constrained by ammonite assemblages. However, much of the middle part of the succession, in particular the Whitecliff Chert Member, although locally rich in bivalves, gastropods and foraminifera, has yielded few in situ age-diagnostic fossils.
Gallois, R. W. 2004. The Development and Origin of Karst in the Upper Greensand Formation (Cretaceous) of South-West England. Geoscience in Southwest England [Ussher Society], vol. 11, Part 1, pp. 21-29. By Dr. Ramues Gallois of Exeter. [it is possible that this appeared in print in 2005]. Available online as a pdf file. [includes data on Shapwick Quarry]
The Upper Greensand of south-west England can be divided on bulk lithology into two roughly equal parts, each 25 to 30 m thick. The lower part, the Foxmould Member, consists of weakly cemented glauconitic sandstones with low carbonate contents. The member weathers, largely by oxidation, to soft, loose, yellow and foxy brown sands. In contrast, the overlying Whitecliff Chert and Bindon Sandstone members consist of calcareous sandstones and sandy calcarenites with numerous chert-rich horizons. Dissolution, particularly during the warm humid climates of the Eocene and the periglacial climates of the late Pleistocene, has been the dominant weathering process in these two members. Karstic features observed on the east Devon and west Dorset outcrops include widespread pervasive dissolution that has locally reduced the in situ thickness of the Whitecliff Chert and Bindon Sandstone members to less than half their original thickness, along with deep solution pipes, and at one locality, caves. These discrete solution features occur beneath a thick capping of Chalk that is not markedly affected by dissolution. Over much of east Devon and west Dorset, the residual loose sands and chert blocks derived from the dissolution of the Upper Greensand were remobilised during the late Pleistocene to form extensive Head deposits.
Gallois, R.W. 2006. Axmouth to Lyme Regis National Nature Reserve. West Dorset District Council. Report on the Geology. Part 1: Triassic and Jurassic Rocks. English Nature Report No. Gal2006/1. 106pp., including many colour maps, sections and photographs. By Dr. Ramues Gallois of Gallois Geological Consultancy, Exeter. Available as a pdf file on a CD (and printed out).
Front cover: Downfaulted mass of White Lias and Blue Lias exposed in Charton Bay. The Triassic-Cretaceous boundary lies in the lower part of the Blue Lias. This is currently the best exposed example of this system boundary in the UK.
Gallois, R. 2006. Report on the Geology of the Area between Devonshire Head and the River Lim, Lyme Regis, Dorset. June 2006. West Dorset District Council. The Ware Cliffs report comprises 73 pages including 22 figures.
The following pages are a small sample All material is copyright WDDC. Church Cliffs report 72 pages 20 figures. Ware Cliffs report, 73 pages 22 figures, available as a single CD-rom £5.00 plus postage and packing.
A sample extract is online at: Report on the Geology of the Area between Devonshire Head and the River Lim, Lyme Regis, Dorset.
, R.W. 2007. The stratigraphy of the Penarth Group (Late Triassic) of the east Devon coast. Geoscience in South-West England, Proceedings of the Ussher Society, 11, 287-297. By Dr. Ramues Gallois.
Abstract: The cliff and foreshore exposures in the Devon part of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site expose an unbroken late Triassic to early Jurassic succession. The change from the terrestrial, red-bed fades of the Triassic Merda Mudstone Group to the fully marine conditions of the Jurassic Lias Group takes place via the Penarth Group, a succession of mudstones, siltstones and limestones deposited in lagoonal and sheltered shallow-marine environments of varying salinities. The Penarth Group as currently defined is divided into the Westbury Formation overlain by the Lilstock Formation, based on type sections in the Severn Estuary area. The lithology and sedimentology of the Westbury Formation strata exposed on the east Devon coast are closely comparable with those of the type area, but those of the Lilstock Formation are not. It is therefore proposed on lithological and historical grounds that this formation should be replaced by a Cotham Formation overlain by a White Lias Formation. This would reinstate, without any change in their original definitions, two of the oldest formally defined stratigraphical names in the British Phanerozoic. All three formations are lithologically distinctive, and are separated from their neighbours by erosion surfaces that represent non-sequences. Those at the bases of the Westbury and Cotham formations are overlain by pebble beds rich in vertebrate remains ('bone beds'). The Cotham Formation is a highly condensed succession comprised of thinly interbedded mudstones and limestones with ripple trains, stromatolites, desiccated surfaces and slumped beds, the last of which have been attributed to earthquakes or a bolide impact. The limestones of the White Lias Formation exposed on the east Devon coast are sedimentologically complex with channels, slumps and desiccated surfaces. The position of the Triassic-Jurassic boundary is currently under review. Possible positions include the base of the Cotham Formation, a horizon within the formation, the base of the White Lias, the base of the overlying Blue Lias Formation or a horizon within the Blue Lias Formation.
Gallois, R W, and Davies, G.M. 2001. Saving Lyme Regis from the sea: recent geological investigations at Lyme Regis, Dorset. Geoscience in south-west England, Proceedings of the Ussher Society, Vol. 10, 183-189.
Gallois, R.W. and Goldring, R. 2007. Trace fossils at the basal Upper Greensand (Albian, Cretaceous) unconformity surface in east Devon (southwest England) and the nature of the unconformity surface. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, London, vol. 118, pp. 265-275. [may also be available as a pdf file]
Along the Devon coast the early Cretaceous Upper Greensand Formation rests unconformably on bioturbated firmground and hardground surfaces on mid-Triassic to early Jurassic rocks (Mercia Mudstone Group to Lias Group). The classification and interpretation of the burrows and borings preserved on and beneath these surfaces are discussed, and compared with those from similar bioturbated surfaces elsewhere in Europe. In east Devon, the nature of the preservation of these trace fossils is dependent not only on the nature of the substrate but also on that of the infilling materials. These range from poorly defined, irregular infillings composed of pebbly mudstone to well-defined casts of cemented fine-grained sandstone that preserve detailed external ornaments. The most prominent trace fossils recorded are regularly spaced, flask-shaped Gastrochaenolites ornatus Kelly & Bromley produced by an as yet unidentified bivalve that rotated during penetration. At Branscombe, where the Upper Greensand rests on Triassic mudstones, many of the crypts are ellipsoidal to subhemispheroidal in cross-section. Their producer(s) are also enigmatic. Some infillings contain fragments of Myopholas or Girardotia, bivalves that rotate during penetration of soft to firm substrates. These burrows were probably initiated above the unconformity surface and extended down into an already perforated and softened mudstone surface. A few burrows may be due to a burrowing coelenterate. Bioturbation at the sub-Albian unconformity is ubiquitous in southern and eastern England, and indicates that the erosion surface was available for colonization for a considerable period of time.
Gallois, R.W. and Paul, C.R.C. 2009. Lateral variation in the topmost part of the Blue Lias and basal Charmouth Mudstone formations (Lower Jurassic) on the Devon and Dorset. Geoscience in South-West England, Vol. 12. 125-133.
The beds adjacent to the junction of the Lower Jurassic Blue Lias and Charmouth Mudstone formations are intermittently exposed in cliff and foreshore sections over a distance of 8 km on the east Devon and west Dorset coast on either side of Lyme Regis. Comparison of the successions in the highest part of the Blue Lias shows little lateral variation in thickness or lithology, with the exception of minor thickness changes in the two highest limestone beds. In contrast, the basal beds of the Shales-with-Beef Member, the lowest part of the Charmouth Mudstone, are laterally variable. Up to five beds of limestone that are present in the most westerly exposure in Devon are absent at the more easterly exposures in Dorset. This lateral variation does not appear to be related to contemporaneous fault activity. It is largely due to an unconformity at the base of the Shales-with-Beef that cuts out successively more of the basal beds when traced from west to east. The strict application of the definition of the Blue Lias Formation, currently taken at the top of the highest limestone in an interbedded mudstone-limestone succession, would include beds previously classified as Shales-with-Beef in east Devon.
Geotechnical Study Area. 200?. [Risknat Organisation]. Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK. 16 pp.
Risknat Geotechnical Study Area. Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK. (available free online as a pdf file) This includes various maps and plans from High-Point Rendel, showing preliminary studies regarding Phase 1 to Phase 4 of sea defence work ("Lyme Regis Environmental Improvements"). This pdf is related to a CD rom containing the final technical report of the 3 year LIFE environmental project: Coastal, Change, Climate and Instability, led by the Isle of Wight Centre for the Coastal Environment, Isle of Wight Council, UK, with seven project partners in the UK, France, Italy and Ireland.
Gosling , T. and Marshall, L. 1994. Lyme Regis (Towns and Villages of England). Ted Gosling, Lyn Marshall, Paperback.
Gradstein, F.M., Ogg, J.G., Schmitz, M.D. and Ogg, G. 2012. The Geologic Time Scale 2012. Elsevier. In a two volume paperback set. Price £52.49p. from Amazon.UK in 2013 (also available as a Kindle Edition). By Felix M. Gradstein, James G. Ogg, Mark D. Schmitz and Gabi M. Ogg. This is an update of Gradstein, F., Ogg, J. and Smith, A. 2004. A Geologic Time Scale, 2004. Cambridge. (one volume, 585pp.).
The Geologic Time Scale 2012, winner of a 2012 Prose Award Honorable Mention for Best Multi-volume Reference in Science from the Association of American Publishers, is the framework for deciphering the history of our planet Earth. The authors have been at the forefront of chronostratigraphic research and initiatives to create an international geologic time scale for many years, and the charts in this book present the most up-to-date, international standard, as ratified by the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences. This 2012 geologic time scale is an enhanced, improved and expanded version of the GTS2004, including chapters on planetary scales, the Cryogenian-Ediacaran periods/systems, a prehistory scale of human development, a survey of sequence stratigraphy, and an extensive compilation of stable-isotope chemostratigraphy. This book is an essential reference for all geoscientists, including researchers, students, and petroleum and mining professionals. The presentation is non-technical and illustrated with numerous colour charts, maps and photographs. The book also includes a detachable wall chart of the complete time scale for use as a handy reference in the office, laboratory or field. This is the most detailed international geologic time scale available that contextualizes information in one single reference for quick desktop access. It gives insights in the construction, strengths, and limitations of the geological time scale that greatly enhances its function and its utility.
Grantham , R.B. 1886. Lyme Regis and Charmouth. In Topley, W. Report of the committee appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the rate of erosion of the sea-coasts of England and Wales, etc. Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, for 1885, p. 422.
Hallam , A. 1960. A sedimentary and faunal study of the Blue Lias of Dorset and Glamorgan. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B., 252, 393-445.
Hallam, A. 1961. Cyclothems, transgressions and faunal changes in the Lias of north-west Europe. Transactions of the Geological Society of Edinburgh, 18, 124-174.
Hallam A. 1964. Origin of the limestone-shale rhythm in the Blue Lias of England: a composite theory. Journal of Geology, 72, 157- 169.
Hallam, A. 1978. Eustatic cycles in the Jurassic. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 23, 1-32.
Hallam, A. 1986. Origin of limestone-shale cycles: climatically induced or diagenetic? Geology, 14, 609-612. (See also discussion - Weedon and Hallam, 1986 - below).
Hallam, A. 1997. Estimates of the amount and rate of the sea-level change across the Rhaetian-Hettangian and Pliensbachian-Toarcian boundaries (latest Triassic to early Jurassic). Journal of the Geological Society, London, 154, 773-779.
Hawkins , J.B. 1991. Instability of Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset. In: Slope Stability - Engineering Developments and Applications. Thomas Telford, London, 115-120.
Hawkins, T. 1834. Memoirs of Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri. Folio. London.
Hawkins, T. 1840. The Book of the Great Sea Dragons, Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri. fol. London.
Hesselbo, S.P. and Jenkyns, H.C. 1995. A comparison of the Hettangian to Bajocian succession of Dorset and Yorkshire. In: Taylor, P.D. (ed.) 1995. Field Geology of the British Jurassic. Geological Society, London, pp. 105-150. [This contains interesting information very relevant to these field guides. See fig 8 - Measured section from the White Lias to the basal Shales-with-Beef, Pinhay Bay to Seven Rock Point. This contains important lithological data but has been reproduced on a small scale. Fig 15 is a grain size plot at close-spaced intervals through the Bridport Sands.]
Hesselbo, S.P. and Palmer, T.J. 1992. Reworked early diagenetic concretions and the bioerosional origin of a regional discontinuity within British Lower Jurassic marine mudstones. Sedimentology, vol. 39, pp. 1045-1065.
The Coinstone is a well known hiatus-concretion level in the Lower Lias (Lower Jurassic, Upper Sinemurian) of Dorset, southern England. It has long been recognized as a layer of bored and encrusted, early diagenetic, clay-hosted septarian concretions coincident with a biostratigraphic gap of three ammonite subzones. Several different types of concretion of variable complexity can be distinguished, of which two, probably derived from slightly different stratigraphic levels, have been juxtaposed by condensation at the erosion surface. Diagenetic and biological processes occurring before, during and after exhumation on the Jurassic sea-floor can be recognized. The relative timing of these events can be distinguished, suggesting that initial concretion consolidation, the first generation of septarian cracking, and the precipitation of the first generation of crack-lining calcite preceded exhumation. These, therefore, probably took place at an early stage, at shallow burial depths within the accumulating sediment pile. The early calcite is brown, UV-fluorescent and inclusion-rich, and is similar to the first calcite generations seen in many other clay-hosted septarian concretions. A generally early diagnetic origin of this material is thus inferred. Observations on crack textures and geometries and the interactions of the post-exhumation fauna of encrusters, borers and burrowers lend support to previous suggestions that initial cracking in some septarian concretions took place in a stiff rather than a fully rigid concretion body, possibly given coherence by initial growth of some organic substance that was only later replaced by the calcite cements seen in most such concretions today.
The burrowing activities of a benthic fauna in muds cause resuspension of sediment and facilitate erosion, even in the absence of high energy physical processes. Regional stratigraphic gaps may be formed as a consequence of sea level rises or falls, or as a response to sediment supply reduction independent of sea level change. Such major episodes of biologically mediated erosion in mudstone sequences may be of more general importance than has hitherto been recognized.
Hodges, P. 1994. The base of the Jurassic System: new data on the first appearance of Psiloceras planorbis in southwest Britain. Geological Magazine, 131, pp. 841-844. By Peter Hodges, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
Recent collecting in the Lower Lias of localities at St Audrie's Bay, north Somerset, Sedbury Cliff, Gloucester and Lavernock Point, South Glamorgan has yielded Psiloceras planorbis (J. de C. Sowerby) in beds considered by some to be of Rhaetian, Triassic age. These are the earliest records of this ammonite to date in southwest Britain. Evidence is provided of a major facies change at the top of the pre-planorbis beds followed by the diachronous first occurrence of Psiloceras planorbis. These new data have implications for the use of earliest occurrence of Psiloceras planorbis as a chronostratigraphic marker in defining the base of the Jurassic System, and for the definition of the base of the Hettangian Stage in the recently proposed candidate Global Stratotype Section at St Audrie's Bay.
Holiday Geology Guides . Undated (but recent and available at present). Rocks and Fossils around Lyme Regis. [Glossy brochure with nice illustrations and accurate data. Inexpensive and available from fossil shops]
Hopley , P.J. 2000. A new plesiosaurid specimen from the Sinemurian, Lower Jurassic of southern England. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 122, 129-138. Abstract: A sequence of twenty-eight cervical and dorsal vertebrae of ?Plesiosaurus sp. from the Sinemurian of southern England are figured and described. This adult individual (BRSUG 26539) exhibits unusual features such as dorsal neural spine cavities and cervical rib processes but the taxonomic significance of these characters is currently uncertain. An analysis of Vertebral Length Index (VLI) shows taxonomic potential, but has proved inconclusive in the present study. By Philip, J. Hopley, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, UK. [The specimen is from the Lyme Regis area, probably from Seven Rock Point.]
House , M.R. 1985.A new approach to an absolute timescale from measurements of orbital cycles and sedimentary microrhythms. Nature, London, 316, 721-725.
House, M.R. 1986. Are Jurassic sedimentary microrhythms due to orbital forcing? Proceeding of the Ussher Society, 6, 299-311.
House, M.R. 1993. Geology of the Dorset Coast. Second Edition. Geologists' Association Guide No. 22. Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 164 pages & plates. Paperback. ISBN 07073 0485 7.
Howarth , M.K. 1957. On the Middle Lias of the Dorset coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 113, 185-204.
Hutchinson , J.N. 1983. A pattern in the incidence of major coastal mudslides. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 8, 1-7.
Hutchinson, J.N. and Wright, D.W. 1987. Strongly folded structures associated with permafrost degradation and solifluction at Lyme Regis, Dorset. In: Boardman, J. (ed.) Periglacial Processes and Landforms in Britain and Ireland. C.U.P., Cambridge, 245-256.
Irwin, H. 1981. On calcic dolomite-ankerite from the Kimmeridge Clay. Mineralogical Magazine, 44, 105-107.
Irwin, H. 1979. On an environmental model for the type Kimmeridge Clay. Nature, London, 279, 819.
Irwin, H. 1980. Early diagenetic carbonate precipitation and pore fluid migration in the Kimmeridge Clay of Dorset, England. Sedimentology, 27, 577-591.
Irwin , H., Curtis, C. and Coleman, M. 1977. Isotopic evidence for source of diagenetic carbonates formed during burial of organic-rich sediments. Nature, 269, 209-213. Abstract: Organic matter is modified by several processes operating at different depths during burial diagenesis: 1. sulphate reduction; 2. fermentation ; 3. thermally-induced decarboxylation, and so on. CO 2 , one common product of each can be distinguished by its carbon isotope composition: approximately 1. - 25, 2. +15, 3 -20 parts per thousand relative to PDB. These values are preserved in diagenetic carbonates of the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay. Independent corroboration of the relative dominance of each process within specific depth intervals is given by the isotopic composition of incorporated oxygen which is temperature dependent: 1. 0 to -2, 2. -1.5 to -5, 3. -3.5 to -7.0 parts per thousand.
Irwin, H. 1981. On calcic dolomite-ankerite from the Kimmeridge Clay. Mineralogical Magazine, 44, 105-107.
Irwin, H. 1979. On an environmental model for the type Kimmeridge Clay. Nature, London, 279, 819.
Irwin, H. 1980. Early diagenetic carbonate precipitation and pore fluid migration in the Kimmeridge Clay of Dorset, England. Sedimentology, 27, 577-591.
Jenkyns, H.C. and Senior, J.R. 1977. A Liassic palaeofault from Dorset. Geological Magazine, vol. 114 (part 1), 1977, pp. 47-52.
Evidence is presented for Liassic (Toarcian) faulting at Watton Cliff in coastal W Dorset. This movement is inferred from the abrupt changes in the thickness of the Junction Bed and contiguous strata given that the contact with overlying shale and clay is horizontal. Further evidence for synsedimentary movement is manifested by the presence, in the palaeofault zone, of numerous calcilutite filled fissures, penetrated by a coarser, more sandy matrix. These neptunian dykes and sills contain abundant ammonites of the middle to late Toarcian, presumably the time of fault movement. This onshore Jurassic palaeofault broadens the known extent of such features from Sutherland (Brora-Helmsdale Fault) and Yorkshire (Peak Fault) to include southern England.
Jukes-Browne , A.J. 1902. On a deep boring at Lyme Regis. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 58, 279-289.
Jukes-Browne, A.J. 1908. The burning cliff and the landslip at Lyme Regis. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club 29, 153-160. [by A.J. Jukes-Browne, F.G.S., read July 22nd, 1908. With 4 plates, including two photographs of the 'Lyme Volcano' and one illustration of the Burning Cliff at Ringstead. With a map showing the exact location of the cliff fire, the burning mound.]
Extract regarding the Spittles Landslide of 1908:
The landslip took place about 1.15p.m. on June 10th . As above stated, Mr. Cameron was on the cliffs about an hour before it happened and he did not notice any sign of impending change. No new fissures had appeared, and no movement was taking place, while boats were busy as usual taking stone from the limestone beds at the foot of the cliff.
Eye-witnesses stated that three minutes after the last stone-boat had left, a portion of the cliff suddenly gave way, and the large mass, weighing many thousand tons, fell forward on to the beach with a loud rustling and rumbling noise, which was plainly heard in the town, while a cloud of sulphurous smoke issued from the burning mound. Othe slips and falls occurred either simultaneously of soon afterwards, and when Mr. Cameron arrived on the spot he found several changes had taken place.
The movements were not all at one spot, but had occurred at several places along a tract which was 500 yards in length. The main mass of the cliff which had fallen onto the shore was not more than 230 yards long, and this forms a long slope of debris which at high water projects into the sea and forms a promontory (see map). The terrace, or plateau, north-west of this fall was much fissured, and a large mass of black shale had fallen from the slope above and behind, forming a long ridge near the burning mound, which was itself split by a fissure.
A little later on the same day large falls took place from cliffs on the seaward side of this plateau, one of these included the seaward part or peak of the split burning mound (see Plate 3). About 50 yards east of the mound, and rather lower down a mass of clay and shale, from 50 to 60 yards long, moved forward over the more solid limestone beds, but did not fall onto the beach. No other extensive slip has yet occurred although the whole cliff between this point and Lyme Church is in unstable condition.
The causes which have specially conduced to the landslip and the falls from this portion of the cliff appear to be two, the abstraction of limestone from the shore below, and the soakage of water into the cracks which form on the slopes.
Although there is no actual quarrying on the cliff itself, yet the beds of limestone, or ledges (as the workmen call them) which crop out on the shore below are quarried with pick and bar and the stone thus obtained is taken away to the cement works in boat loads. These ledges are followed up to the foot of the cliffs, and the removal of stone must weaken the foundation of the cliff, and must also enable the waves at high water to break with greater force against it for the tide here comes up to the base of the cliffs.
This harmful practice of getting stone from the shore ought to have been forbidden long ago. Stone was formerly taken from below Church Cliffs; but this has been disallowed for many years, and the Lyme people will do well to put a stop to it everywhere.
The second contributing cause is the land flowing off the slopes above. This partly issues from springs a little above the contour of 300 feet, and partly runs a surface water after heavy rain. Above tiers of cliff and broken ground which lies below the road to Charmouth, Timber Hill rises to a height of 530 feet above the sea. After rain much water flows off the slopes of the hill, and Mr. Cameron informs me that the there are two lines of water-flow on its southern side.
One of these watercourses comes down the fields a little east of the house called Fairfield, and the water which runs along in wet weather cascades over the cliff by the old Gasworks. Another waterway runs in a parallel line about 330 yards to the eastward and loses itself in cracks and fissures on the Lias cliff above the very place where the great fall has taken place.
There can be no doubt that the soakage of water into these cracks and fissures, and its percolation downward along joints and divisional planes of the Lias, would loosen the cohesion of the parts near the border of the cliffs. Again when a period of wet weather is followed by a spell of dry and sunny weather the water lying in the fissures is gradually evaporated, and much moisture is drawn out of the Lias clays and shales, resulting in a contraction of the tracts below and between such fissures, with a consequent tendency to move in the direction of least resistance. This is, of course, seaward, just as roofing slates placed on a gentle slope will gradually move down it in consequence of alternating contraction and expansion caused by differences in temperature.
There must come a time when the tension is strong enough to overcome the cohesion of some fissured mass to the rock at the back of it, and then a fall of cliff or a landslip takes place. The movement of on slip is likely to loosen other unstable masses, and even the vibration caused by a slip or fall is enough to start adjoining masses on a downward journey; so that one fall is often followed sooner or later, by other falls. ....
[an earthquake or seismic shock theory is then eliminated]
It is important to remember that this landslip took place during dry weather. April had been a wet month, but the later part of May and the beginning of June were dry and sunny so that I think we may infer the final cause of detachment was contraction, owing to the evaporation of moisture and drying of the minerals which form the cliff.
[end of extract]
Jukes-Browne, A.J. and Hill, W. 1900-1904. The Cretaceous Rocks of Britain . Memoirs of the Geological Survey. 3 volumes, 8vo., London.
Jurassic Coast , Doset and East Devon World Heritage Site. 2005. Webpage: Lyme Regis case study: Historical Development.
This contains a good summary of events at the Lyme Regis coast from 1723 to the present and is illustrated with photographs. Particularly useful is a list of landslides at Lyme Regis from 1902 to 2000.
Kemp, S.J., Merriman, R.J. and Bouch, J.E. 2005.
Clay mineral reaction progress – the maturity and burial history of the Lias Group of England and Wales. Clay Minerals. Vol. 40, Number 1, March 2005 , pp. 43-62. Publisher: Mineralogical Society.
The clay mineral assemblages and microtextures of a suite of mudrocks from the Lias Group of England and Wales indicate important regional differences in burial history. Samples from the northern Cleveland Basin are characterized by illite-smectite (I–S, 90% illite) and little carbonate whilst samples from the southern Worcester and Wessex basins contain less mature discrete smectite and are often calcite- and dolomite-rich. Lias Group rocks have been buried to 4 km in the Cleveland Basin but to less than 2 km in the Worcester and Wessex basins. Burial in the Cleveland Basin is deeper than previously estimated and does not need a local heating event. Illite- smectite (80% illite) detected in samples from the East Midlands Shelf suggests burial to 3 km, again deeper than previous estimates for this region.
Koh , A. 1992. Black Ven. pp. 67-79. In: Allison, R.J. (Editor) 1992. The Coastal Landforms of West Dorset. Geologists' Association Guide No. 47. Geologists' Association, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, 134 pp. By Alexander Koh. Bath College of Higher Education, Newton Park, Newton-St-Loe, Bath.
[This is a clearly written, neat summary with diagrams and photographs.]
The Black Ven landslide complex, situated 900m to the west of Charmouth, contains one largest systems of landslides in Europe (Figure 30). The area has experienced a long history of instability (Arber, 1941; Brunsden, 1969). It comprises rotational slides, topples, rock falls and slumps of Upper Greensand rock and mudslides, mudflows and sandflows which feed down to the beach across Liassic material (see back cover). The current morphology of Black Ven is the result of two significant periods of activity in 1957 to 1958 and 1968 to 1969. Air photographs for 1958, 1969 and 1988 demonstrate in detail the speed with which erosion has occurred.
The original road along the coast from Charmouth to Lyme Regis was destroyed by landslips in the eighteenth century. A cart track running parallel to the road 100m further inland disappeared in 1965 and a section of the heritage coast path collapsed in 1985. Cliff retreat of the 5m per annum to 30m per annum is typical during periods of activity. In between major events, erosion at the toe of the slope is around 15m per annum to 40m per annum. ... [continues].
Kullberg , J.C., Oloriz, F., Marques, B., Caetano, P.S. and Rocha, R.B. 2001. Flat-pebble conglomerates; a local marker for Early Jurassic seismicity related to syn-rift tectonics in the Sesimbra area (Lusitanian Basin, Portugal). Sedimentary Geology, 139 49-70. Abstract: Flat-pebble conglomerates have been identified in the Lower Toarcian (Levisoni Zone) carbonates in the Sesimbra region (30 km south of Lisboa, Portugal) and related to submarine mass movements. Their origin is explained through a three-stage model based on the comparitive analysis of potential generating mechanisms taking into account timing and type of geodynamic evolution in the Lusitanian Basin: (a) differential lithification of thin carbonate and non-bioturbated horizons embedded within a more argillaceous matrix; (b) disruption by seismic shocks related to active extensional faulting and block tilting; and (c) gravity sliding mixing material resulting from broken lithified horizons. This sequential process originated flat-pebble conglomerates during early Jurassic phases of syn-rift evolution in the southern Lusitanian Basin. End of Abstract. [Not on the Lyme Regis area, but compare this deposit with the slumped limestone in the White Lias (Penarth Group) of Pinhay Bay.]
Kiriakoulakis, K., Marshall, J.D. and Wolff, G.A. 2000. Biomarkers in a Lower Jurassic concretion from Dorset (UK). Journal of the Geological Society, London, vol. 157, pp. 207-220.
: Textural, petrographic and stable isotopic evidence suggest that a zoned concretion (Birchi Bed, Lower Lias, West Dorset, UK), formed under very shallow burial, with carbonate cement passively filling the pore spaces. The calcitic core of the concretion formed initially, whilst the intermediate and outer edge cements, which are dominated by a dolomite and a calcite respectively, precipitated successively. Mixtures of calcite and dolomite occur in the intermediate zone and outer rim, suggesting initial incomplete cementation and later back-filling. The enveloping fibrous calcite vein (beef) formed later by displacive crystallization. The concretionary carbonates preferentially preserve labile organic compounds (i.e. unsaturated fatty acids) not found in the surrounding shales. Fatty acid distributions in the concretion are distinct and informative. The presence of 10-methylhexadecanoic acid provides direct evidence for sulphate-reducing bacteria in the calcitic core whereas the abundance of unsaturated fatty acids in the concretion as a whole is attributed to localized bacterial production and its early formation. The core probably formed in the sulphate reduction zone, whereas dolomite in the intermediate zone was derived largely from methanogenesis and iron reduction, although direct biomarker evidence for methanogenesis was not found. The outer rim and the fibrous calcite vein probably resulted from 'late' bacterial processes, probably including renewed sulphate reduction. The complex biogeochemistry of the sedimentary environment is reflected by the concentrations and distributions of biomarkers and by the detailed petrography. Nevertheless, carbonate concretions can provide a 'snapshot' of early diagenesis in ancient mudstones.
Lacey, P. 2011. Ebb and Flow: The Story of Maritime Lyme Regis. The Dovecote Press, Ltd. A paperback book of 280 pages. Original price: 15 pounds sterling. By Peter Lacey. Not a geological book, but relevant because it describes a notable geological locality, and there is reference to rock types used in the building of the Cobb at Lyme Regis, and also to major storms etc.
Back-cover summary. The sea has shaped Lyme Regis's character, charting the ebb and flow of its fortunes from flourishing port into much-loved seaside resort. Lyme's wealth was founded on the export of wood, its ships returning laden with wine. It has survived a Civil War siege and has been battered by storms. Thanks to the Cobb, the ancient stone breakwater that helps protect it, small medieval vessels carrying pilgrims, veterans of the Spanish Armada, smugglers, privateers, West African slavers, fishing boats, coasting colliers, lifeboats and wartime air sea rescue launches have all taken shelter in its harbour. Ships launched on Lyme's slips once brought back sugar from the West Indies or traded as far afield as California and Newfoundland. But this book is much about people as ships: its merchants, captains and crews on whose seamanship Lyme once depended. Peter Lacey's remarkable account of Lyme's maritime history has taken seven years to research and write, and has over 100 illustrations, of which some are in colour and many have never been published before.
Extract from p. 21. "Convention has it that at one time a promontory extended some distance seaward in the vicinity of Church Cliff and Broad Ledge. George Roberts in his History of Lyme Regis (1823) writes that 'The town extended much further towards the south and the land declined in a shelving manner to the (foreshore) strand. .. there may have been headlands both east and west of the Town. What we can state with certainty is that in 1377 a storm devastated the town, sweeping those parts of it nearest the sea away. The storm destroyed the heart of Lyme's maritime development, which was probably centred around the mouth of the river [perhaps rather like Staithes?]..' continues.
William Dickson Lang
, Sc.D., M.A., F.R.S., F.G.S. F.Z.S. (1878-1966).
Born 29th December, 1878, son of Edward Tickel Lang and Hebe, daughter of John Venn Prior. Educated at Christ's Hospital, Harrow, Pembroke College Cambridge. Married to Georgina Catherine Dixon, one son, one daughter. Entered the Geological Department of the British Museum in 1902. Assistant Keeper, Deputy Keeper and Keeper of Geology at the British Museum from 1921 to 1938. He wrote many papers on fossil bryozoa and corals and is particularly well-known for his key publications on the Lias (see below). After a very productive career he retired to his house, Lias Lea, at Charmouth and continued to be much involved in Dorset geology. He was a trustee of the Philpot Museum at Lyme Regis, to whom he gave some of his valuable collection. For an orbituary see Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 1966, published 1967, vol. 88, pp. 17-19.
[see also Palmer (2002) for an appraisal of Lang's work.]
Lang , W.D. 1904. The zone of Hoplites interruptus (Bruguiere) at Black Ven, Charmouth. Geological Magazine, decade 5, vol. 1, 124-131.
Lang, W.D. 1907. The Selbornian of Stonebarrow Cliff, Charmouth. Geological Magazine, 44, 150-156.
Lang, W.D. 1909. The Burning Cliff near Lyme Regis. Geological Magazine, p. 89. [by William Dickson Lang, Sc.D., F.G.S.]
Lang, W.D. 1912. The use of the term "Charmouthian". Geological Magazine, 9, 284-285.
Lang, W.D. 1913. The Lower Pliensbachian - "Carixian" - of Charmouth. Geological Magazine, decade 5, vol. 10, 401-412.
Lang, W.D. 1914. The geology of Charmouth Cliffs, Beach and Foreshore. Proceedings of the Geologists's Association, 25, 293-360. By W.D. Lang, M.A., F.G.S., F.Z.S.
Visitors to Charmouth and Lyme who come with intention of finding fossils are often disappointed at the results of their collecting. Those to whom the fossils appeal chiefly as specimens of form and shape, having heard much of Lyme as a collecting ground, seen in museums fossils from the neighbourhood in numbers and in fine preservation, and read their descriptions in the works of De la Beche, Buckland, Sowerby, and others learn by experience that specimens such as they expect to find are commonest in the cottages of fishermen and in the shops of Lyme. Those, on the other hand, whom the evolutionary history and, consequently, the order of succession of the fossils interests, learn that for one specimen found in place in its bed, twenty are picked up loose on the cliff-slopes and on the beach. It is true that a large amount of time and labour are necessary, whether for obtaining fine specimens or a succession of forms whose exact horizon is known; and really to learn their evolutionary sequence it is essential either to live in the neighbourhood for some time or regularly to revisit the locality for a great number of years. Thus it is that, although hundreds of species are known and described from the Lyme district, our knowledge of their exact horizons, so necessary for unravelling their evolution, is very small. And to help towards this end has been the chief motive of the work resulting in these notes.
[This is a key publication. It has a diagram showing the Lower Lias succession of the area including the Blue Lias and the Shales with Beef, and also an excellent and detailed geological map of the coast at Charmouth, Dorset. It indicates the position of the 1908 Burning Cliff or Lyme Volcano, and many other features of interest.]
Lang, W. D. 1924. The Blue Lias of the Devon and Dorset coasts. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 35, 169-185. [With a coloured map of the reefs west of the Cobb to Seven Rock Point and Pinhay Bay. The classic detailed account. Fascinating detail on the Saurian Shales, the Glass Bottle, the Second Quick, Speketty and the Lower Skulls etc.]
Lang, W.D. 1926. The submerged forest at the mouth of the Char and the history of that river. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 37, 197-210.
Lang, W.D. 1928. Landslips in Dorset. Natural History Magazine, 1, 201-209.
Lang, W.D. 1932. The Lower Lias of Charmouth and the Vale of Marshwood. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 43 (2), 97-126. [With Plate 6 - large coloured geological map of coast and inland area, extending west to east from Lyme Regis to Chideock. It includes details of faulting and folding at Charmouth and faulting at Stonebarrow Hill and Ridge Cliff. The old cliff road (Charmouth Cutting etc) from Charmouth to Lyme Regis on the upper part of Black Ven or Timber Hill is shown; it later collapsed.]
Lang, W.D. 1935. Mary Anning of Lyme, collector and vendor of fossils, 1799-1847. Natural History Magazine, 5, (37).
Lang, W. D. 1936. The Green Ammonite Beds of the Dorset Lias. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 92 (for 1936), 423-437. "Introduction: The Green Ammonite Beds comprise those horizons of the Dorsetshire Lias which lie above the Belemnite Stone - horizon of Beaniceras - and below the Three Tiers - nearly the lowest limit of Amaltheus. They bear this connotation in the memoirs of the Geological Survey, and include a greater thickness that was intended by Day (1863, p. 291), who first coined the term term for 18 feet clays lying in the lower part of the series as here defined, and yielding nodules in which the typical green ammonites are to be found. The chambers of these ammonites are often filled with greenish calcite - hence the vernacular name..." [With this is: Spath, L.F. 1936. The ammonites of the Green Ammonite Beds of Dorset - and also Cox on the Gastropoda and Lamellibranchiata - and Muir-Wood on the Brachiopoda of the Green Ammonite Beds. These papers follow from page 438 onwards in the same volume of the same journal.]
Lang, W.D. 1936. Demonstration at the British Museum (Natural History) South Kensington. " Mary Anning, Fossilist ". Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 47 (1), 65-67.
Lang, W.D. 1939. Mary Anning (1799-1847) and the pioneer geologists of Lyme (Presidential Address). Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 60, 142-164.
Lang, W.D. 1943. Geological Notes. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 64, 129-130.
Lang, W.D. 1944. Geological Notes. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 65, 147-149.
Lang, W.D. 1945. Report on Dorset Natural History for 1944 (except Birds) Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 66, 127-129.
Lang, W.D. 1955a. Vertical beef. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 1953, 75, 133.
Lang, W.D. 1955b. Mud-flows at Charmouth. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 1953, 75, 151-156.
Lang, W.D. 1956. Report on Dorset Natural History for 1954. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 76, 110-111.
Lang, W.D. 1959. Report on Dorset Natural History for 1958. Geology . Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 80, 22.
Lang, W.D. and Arber, M.A. 1942. Names of the West Dorset Cliffs. Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, 23, 278-281.
Lang, W.D. and Spath, L.F. 1926. The Black Marl of Black Ven and Stonebarrow, in the Lias of the Dorset Coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 82, 144-187, pls. 8-11.
Lang, W.D., Spath, L.F., Cox, L.R. and Muir-Wood, H.M. 1928. The Belemnite Marls of Charmouth, a series in the Lias of the Dorset Coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 84, 179-257, pls. 13-18. By William Dickson Lang, Sc.D., F.G.S., Leonard Frank Spath, D.Sc., F.G.S., Leslie Reginald Cox, M.A., F.G.S., and Helen Marguerite Muir-Wood, M.Sc., F.G.S. (Read November 16th, 1917.) Published by Permission of the Trustees of the British Museum [now the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London]. [Seventy-eight pages with plates and drawing providing much detail on the Belemnite Marls and their fossil content. There are detailed descriptions of ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods and bivalves, and faunal lists for individual beds. This is a very thorough paper. "The President (Dr. F.A. Bather) expressed his pleasure at listening to so excellent a paper by half the staff of the Geological Department of the British Museum... Dr. A.E. Trueman said that the present communication was especially noteworthy, since it marked the greatest advance that had been made in the study of British Jurassic belemnites for several generations..."]
Lang, W.D., Spath, L.F. and Richardson, W.A. 1923. Shales-With-'Beef', a sequence in the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 79, 47-99. By William Dickson Lang, Sc.D., F.G.S., Leonard Frank Spath, D.Sc., F.G.S. and William Alfred Richardson, M.Sc., F.G.S.
Part 1 Stratigraphy. Includes: Fig. 1, Map of the lower part of the cliff, the beach and the foreshore, immediately east of Charmouth; Fig. 2. Section of the lower part of the cliff immediately east of Charmouth [this is a good log of beds 52 to 77 of the Shales- with-Beef. The scale is in feet. It shows the posiitions of concretions and of seams of beef. Detailed bed descriptions follow.
Part III. Petrology. By W.A.Richardson. There is a good discussion on the origin of beef and of associated cone-in-cone structure. Concretions are wrongly considered to have shrinkage cracks as a result of "drying out" (an old theory before septarian expansion was understood). Apart from this the sedimentology is good. Note that although beef seems separate around nodules, Richardson noted that they are thinner on non-existent beneath the nodules. Discs of barite (barytes) from Bed 71e are discussed. In all this is a good paper (or section of a paper).
Lydekker, R. 1889. Catalogue of the Fossil Reptilia and Amphibia in the British Museum (Natural History), Part II. British Museum [now the Natural History Museum, London].
Mansel-Pleydell, J.C. 1888. Fossil reptiles of Dorset. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club , 9, 1-40.
Marshall, J.D. 1982. Isotopic composition of displacive fibrous calcite veins: reversal in pore-water trends during burial diagenesis. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, 52, No. 2, 0615-0630.
By James D. Marshall, at the time, at the Department of Geology, Leicester University, Leicester, United Kingdom. (later at Shell Exploration and Production Laboratory, Rijswijk, The Netherland).
Abstract: Stable isotope and petrographic analyses of diagenetic calcite ("cone-in-cone" and "beef") veins from British Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous shales have been used to determine the environment of precipitation of fibrous calcites. Successive growth took place by antitaxial displacive addition at the vein margins, away from primary sedimentary laminations or early diagenetic conconcretions. Carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios (del 13 C plus or minus 0 and del 18 O -4 to -11%) indicate a relatively late diagenetic origin for the veins after tens or probably hundreds of metres of burial, and after cessation of bacterial activity and considerable modification of the oxygen isotopic composition of the pore water. Vein growth was discontinuous and took place in waters of changing isotopic and trace-element composition. Changes are not unidirectional and unlikely to result from the simple evolution of a single connate pore water; reversals in isotopic trends indicate that precipitation took place during periods of renewned (lateral?) groundwater flow, tapping different sources of bicarbonate-bearing solution.
[This is a key paper with very useful data and discussion regarding beef and cone-in-cone.]
Martill, D. M. 1991. Organically preserved dinosaur skin: taphonomic and biological implications. Modern Geology, vol. 16, pp. 61-68.
Martill, D.M., Batten, D.J. and Loydell, D.K. 2000. A new specimen of the thyreophoran dinosaur cf. Scelidosaurus with soft tissue preservation. Palaeontology, vol. 43, Issue 3, pp. 549-559, September 200. By David Martill, David Batten and David Lolydell.
A new specimen, comprising eight articulated caudal vertebrae in a cut slab of blue/grey carbonate mudstone, is comparable to the early thyreophoran dinosaur Scelidosaurus harrisonii Owen from the English Lower Jurassic. Palynological analysis indicates that the specimen is probably late Hettangian–Sinemurian (Early Jurassic), but the exact horizon and locality remain uncertain. The slab has been cut longitudinally in a parasagittal plane along the vertebral series and exposes several articulated centra, haemal arches, neural arches and osteoderms. An envelope of preserved soft tissue wraps around the vertebrae and includes osteoderms with organic material on both the upper and lower surfaces. Basal thyreophoran dinosaur osteoderms were covered by a horny sheath during life.
May , V. 2005 (?). Coastal Form Processes. Part of: Physical Changes to the Coast. Webpage: Coastal Form Processes . By Professor Vincent May of Bournemouth University. Part of Dorset Coast Digital Archive - Dorset Coast Digital Archive, operated by Bournemouth University, Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council and Dorset County Museum. [A very good website with specific data. Recommended.]
Sea Level Rise
Dunes and Estuaries
Example extract - Introduction:"The features of the Dorset coast between Highcliffe in the east and Lyme Regis in the west are the result of thousands of years of marine and sub-aerial processes acting upon a wide range of geological materials whilst climate, sea-level and the human use and modification of the coast have changed significantly. Coastal processes act on timescales that range from the few seconds of a wave breaking to the many millennia of sea-level change. Similarly, these processes also occur on spatial scales of a few millimetres to the scale of the English Channel and beyond. For example, a pebble falling from the cliffs at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon several thousand years ago and found today on Chesil beach has probably made a journey equivalent to the distance from Earth to the planet Neptune. During all of that time, the combined effects of waves, tides and currents have moved the pebble up, down and along the shore and buried within the beach as well."
Melville , R.V. and Freshney, E.C. 1982. British Regional Geology: The Hampshire Basin and Adjoining Areas. British Geological Survey (formerly the - Institute of Geological Sciences), Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 146 pp. [The general introduction to the geology of the region. 9 pages on the Lias and cliff sections and fossil illustrations]
Moore , R. and Brunsden, D. 1996. Physico-chemical effects on the behaviour of a coastal mudslide. Geotechnique, 46, 259-278. Abstract: Previous work has shown that the type of clay mineral, the valency state of adsorbed cations and the salt concentration of pore-water influences the residual strength of clays, Residual strength can therefore be modified through weathering reactions, clay mineral alterations and fluctuations in groundwater chemistry. This has implications for studies of the seasonal and long-term behaviour of clay slopes, The paper presents results from an investigation of a shallow coastal mudslide on the south coast of England which attempts to isolate the influence of physico-chemical processes on mudslide behaviour. Fluctuations in groundwater chemistry coincided with temporal movement patterns. Low pore-water ion concentrations were apparent immediately before seasonal mudslide reactivation or periods of high activity, Laboratory tests showed that low pore-water ion concentrations resulted in low residual shear strength; higher concentrations observed after movement events led to increases in residual strength.
Morris , S. 2007. Storm grows over Napoli's threat to World Heritage Coast. The Guardian Newspaper, Saturday, January 27, 2007, pp. 16-17. By Steven Morris. [re wrecked container ship, the MSC Napoli, causing major oil and container pollution off Branscombe, near Beer and Sidmouth, Devon. Bound for South Africa it suffered structural damage in the Atlantic Ocean in the storm of 18 January 2007. It was then heading for repair in Portland Harbour but, in danger of sinking, was beached about a mile south of Branscombe in January 2007.]
Example extracts: There were growing calls yesterday for an inquiry to establish why the stricken cargo ship the MSC Napoli was towed into one of Europe's most precious marine environments. Politicians and marine experts expressed concern that the decision to try to haul the vessel, loaded with oil and containers, some of which contained hazardous substances, into a port 140 miles from where it was holed. Questions are being tabled in the House of Commons, and the EU commissioner for transport, Jacques Barrot, is planning to send a teain to look into the incident. Environment experts were given little or no time to make the case against beaching the vessel off the coast of Devon before it was dragged on to the seabed last Saturday. Visiting the site of the drama yesterday, the shadow environment minister Greg Barker said the transport department would have to explain why the Napoli had been taken into Lyme Bay. He said he was very concerned about the long-term damage that could be caused to the Devon and Dorset coast, a world heritage site. "There remains a serious danger to the delicate maritime environment on the Jurassic Coast," he added. Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, said: "It was 50 miles off the Lizard [in Cornwall] in international waters. It must have been known there was a danger the vessel might have to be beached. There are other ports it could have reached before it got into trouble 90 miles away in Devon.... [continues]
[Sequence of Events]
Thursday January 18, 10.30am
Falmouth coastguard receives mayday call from MSC Napoli, foundering 45 miles south-east of the Lizard. Crew abandons ship and it is towed into Lyme Bay.
Saturday January 20, 11.25am
Large cracks on either side of Napoli have widened. Despite concerns by environment experts, the vessel is beached a mile off Branscombe beach in Devon at 2pm.
Sunday January 21, 12.03am
Gales sweep in and throw 103 containers into the sea, and on to the beach. Attempts to pull the vessel harder aground cause a 50-tonne oil leak creating a five mile slick.
, S. 2008. Jurassic Coastline Crumbles: Fossil Hunters Move in as Cliff Gives Way. The Guardian Newspaper, Thursday, May 8th 2008. By Steven Morris. [A very good and informative article]
Worrying event for home owners but exciting times fro beach scavengers.
Watching yet more rocks, mud, vegetation and rubbish tumble down the steep Dorset cliff, Dr Colin Dawes was torn. As a fossil hunter he was delighted at the prospect of picking through the many thousands of tonnes of debris that had turned East Cliff Beach in Lyme Regis into a jagged obstacle course potentially packed with Jurassic treasures. But as a responsible citizen he was sorry for residents whose homes were teetering a little closer to the big drop. "It's an exciting day. Who knows what we may find in there?" he said. "But I do acknowledge it's also a worrying one too for those people whose homes are near the cliff. I'm also concerned for my broad beans. I've got an allotment up there. It's also a bit nearer to'the edge today.
The landslip, which was described by some as the biggest in the area for a century, began on Tuesday night. Firefighters were close to the beach carrying out an exercise when the cliff started to move. Watch manager Virgil Turner, 42, said: "It was odd because hundreds of seagulls starting going berserk and circled above the cliff. It was very eerie. "The next minute there was this loud rumbling noise. Then huge chunks of the cliff began breaking off. There were boulders the size of cars breaking off and rolling down the cliff into the sea.
"It was incredibly lucky it happened at high tide because had the beach been accessible then there would have been dozens of walkers and fossil hunters there. People wouldn't have stood a chance." Locals here are used to landslips. A little further along the beach is Black Venn, a landslide that moves constantly. It is partly why this stretch is so good for fossil hunters. But this slip was much more dramatic than the norm.
Alexander Burnfield, one of those whose cottage is suddenly looking a little less secure, said: "I heard a rumbling like thunder.
"We went and looked and saw tonnes of rocks, soil, trees and vegetation crashing down the cliff and into the sea. It was spectacular, exhilarating."
Then came a sickly, earthy smell, believed to be gas that had been trapped within the cliffs for thousands of years.
That brought us back down to earth a bit," he said. Rosalind Price, 62, who lives on the cliff, said: "I could hear the cracking-of trees uprooting and a very loud rumbling noise. It was quite frightening. My house is one of the last between here and the cliff face - it is too close for comfort really."
On the beach yesterday coastguards tried in vain to keep sightseers and fossil hunters away from the 400 metre-long gash in the cliff, which continued to crumble. There were no rich fossil pickings to . be had immediately. Most of the rocks ,accessible on the beach were from the shales-with-beef layer, which is not particularly good for fossils. Simon Titchener, owner of the Lyme Fossil Shop, said storms aQd high tides were needed to wash the 'rubbish' away and expose the more "fossiliferous" rocks.
Professional fossil collector Paul Crossley was pleased with a couple of non-fossil finds: as well as allotments and houses, an Edwardian rubbish tip is, or was, perched on top of the cliff.
"I've got a lovely bedpan in my rucksack and a Marmite jar from the 1940s or 50s. 'That'll be worth around £10," said Crossley. "But we're hoping over the coming weeks there will be fossils perhaps skulls, paddles, spine sections from marine reptiles."
West Dorset district, council is trying to protect and stabilise Lyme Regis. The latest phase of a £2lm project includes plans to build a new sea wall at the eastern side of the town to shore up the area. But just as it was impossible to keep the fossil hunters off the beach yesterday, it may be impossible to stop much of the town from falling into the bay. Paddy Howe, geologist at Lyme's museum, said: "The battle will go on'
[with a good, oblique, arial photograph of the landslide, and a block diagram, courtesy of West Dorset District Council, showing the location of the new landslide in relation to an ancient landslide, to the rubbish tip and to proposed sea defences.]
Murphy , F.J. 1999 (for 1998, issued 1999). Lyme Regis: Trade and Population 1575-1725. A Period of Decline?. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 120, 1-18.
Muir-Wood , H.M. 1928. The brachiopods, in: Lang, W.D. et al., 1928. The Belemnite Marls of Charmouth. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 84, p. 245.
Muir-Wood, H.M. 1936. Brachiopoda from the Lower Lias, Green Ammonite Beds, of Dorset. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 92, 472-487. Including a discussion on Lang, 1936, Spath, 1936, Cox, 1936 and Muir-Wood, 1936. By Helen M. Muir-Wood, D. Sc., F.G.S. "Introduction: Brachiopods are rare in the Green Ammonite Beds of Dorset and are represented by only three species, two of which belong to the Discinidae and one to the Rhynchonellidae. The specimens, with one exception, are of small size and are usually much crushed and distorted. The most abundant species is Scalpellirhynchia scalpellum (Quenstedt), which is found mainly in beds 129 and 130, just below the Middle Lias, while a few scattered specimens occur below in beds 122-126 and 127. This species occurs in part of the Lias of Wurttemberg, but has not been previously recorded from this country, owing probably to the lack of careful collecting in other areas of Liassic deposits. An investigation of the internal structure of S. scalpellum was made by grinding transverse and longitudinal sections of specimens that had been previously heated to redness and embedded in plaster cubes when cool. A full description of this method is given elsewhere (Muir-Wood, 1934). One pedicle valve of a Discinisca of exceptionally large size was obtained from bed 130. One small specimen of Discinisca holdeni was obtained from the Upper Limestone, bed 129a, and a second specimen from the Red Band, bed 126a of Stonebarrow Cliff. All the material was collected by Dr. W. D. Lang and is preserved in the British Museum of Natural History collection..." [continues].
Nature Conservancy Council . 1983. Fossil collecting licences at Charmouth, Dorset. Earth Science Convervation, 20, 40-42.
Norman, D.B. and Charig, A.J. 1996. The cranial morphology of Scelidosaurus harrisonii. Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Abstracts of Papers, 16, supplement to No.3, 56A.
Osborne , R. 1999. The Floating Egg: Episodes in the Making of Geology. Pimlico. 372 pp. ISBN 0-7126-6686-9.
Owen, R. 1861-1863. A monograph of a fossil dinosaur (Scelidosaurus harrisonii Owen). 13 (56), pp. 1-4, plates. 1-6; 14 (60), pp. 1-26, plates. 1-11. [The original description of the early Jurassic dinosaur Scelidosaurus harrisonii from the Lias of the Charmouth - Lyme Regis cliffs.]
Owen, R. 1861-1881. A Monograph of the Fossil Reptilia of the Liassic Formations . The Palaeontographical Society, London, 134 pp, 33 Plates. [by Sir Richard Owen, C.B., F.R.S., Foreign Associate of the Institute of France etc. etc. Famous vertebrate palaeontologist of the Natural History Museum, London.]
Page, K.N. and Bloos, G. 1995. The base of the Jurassic System in West Somerset, south-west England - new observations on the succession of ammonite faunas of the lowest Hettangian Stage, Geoscience in south-west England, vol. 9, pp. 231-235. Available in full online as a pdf file.
The West Somerset coast includes the type locality of the index ammonite species of the first Subchronozone and Chronozone of a Standard Jurassic System, namely Psiloceras planorbis (J. Sowerby) of the Planorbis Subzone of the Planorbis Zone, and also includes a proposed Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Jurassic System. The recent discovery of ammonite faunas below Psiloceras planorbis, including Neophyllites sp. and Psiloceras erugatum (Phillips), has facilitated a reappraisal of the nature of the earliest Hettangian faunas in western Europe, and the context of the proposed GSSP. The only known exposures in this region which show a complete succession of ammonite faunas at this level are here described. Within a re-defined Planorbis Subchronozone, the following biohorizons are recognized: erugatum Biohorizon, imitans Biohorizon, antecedens Biohorizon, planorbis Biohorizon, sampsoni Biohorizon and a plicatulum Biohorizon.
Charles Philip Palmer, Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD.
Palmer , C.P. 1972. Revision of the zonal classification of the Lower Lias of the Dorset coast. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 93, 102-116.
Palmer, C.P. 1966. The fauna of Day's Shell Bed in the Middle Lias of the Dorset coast. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 87, 69-80.
Palmer, C.P. 2002 (published in 2002, volume for 2001). William Dickson Lang: his Liassic work appraised. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, for 2001, 123, 69-74. By C.P. Palmer, Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London, SW7 5BD.
Summary: W.D. Lang's work is appraised in the context of his time, and errors and problems, by him and subsequent workers, are pointed out, and discussed. [end of summary].
Example extract from the Introduction:
The detailed 'inch-by-inch' stratigraphical recording by Lang, 1923-1936, in the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast, cannot be too highly praised. From the base of the Blue Lias up to the base of Three Tiers, he applied to some 600ft of shales, clays, and limestones a standard of precision which, contrary to popular belief, he did not initiate: S.S. Buckman and L. Richardson had already pioneered 'micro-stratigraphy' in the Inferior Oolite. This is not to belittle Lang's work but to put it in context. The bulk of Buckman's detailed stratigraphical work was carried out between 1883 and 1907: Richardson's between 1914 and 1932. The first of Lang's five classic papers was published in 1923, the last in 1936. Lang was not a lonely figure struggling to set new standards in stratigraphical recording but part of a movement to refine the rather coarse, pioneering, zonal stratigraphy of Albert Oppel. Buckman's work led to a, now defunct, polyhemeral system dealing with 'blocks of time' whereby ammonite-specific names were used to indicate the time of deposition of the rock unit in which the ammonite was found. In contrast, Lang's work, together with L.E Spath, led to the refined zonal and subzonal system for the Lower Jurassic of north-west Europe, proposed by Dean, Donovan and Howarth (1961), which was applied exactly to the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast by Palmer (1972). It also provided the basis for detailed facies studies in more recent times (Hallam 1960).
When Lang began his monumental task of logging inch-by-inch up the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast, there was already a considerable body of published work, which also included his own earlier publications, 1913,1914,1917 and 1923.
In 1826 De La Beche published a paper 'On the Lias of the coast in the vicinity of Lyme Regis', in which he gave a detailed account of the Blue Lias logged in Pinhay Bay and Seven Rock Point. Later, Thomas Wright completed his 'Monograph on the Lias Ammonites of the British Isles' in 1886, and included a stratigraphical account of the Blue Lias of the Dorset coast. This was adopted and improved upon in the second edition of the Geological Survey Memoir 'The Geology of the Country near Sidmouth and Lyme Regis' published by Woodward and Ussher in 1911, which included four pages of described and measured lithological details between the base of the Blue Lias in Pinhay Bay and the base of Three Tiers at Golden Cap.
They recorded 119 lithological subdivisions classified within 12 broad zones, the lower part 'recycled' from Woodward's earlier 1893 'The Jurassic Rocks of Britain (Vol. 111) The Lias of England and Wales (Yorkshire excepted)'. As a member of the staff of the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington, and Keeper of Geology, all this early work was freely available to Lang for consultation and upon which he undoubtedly built..... [continues for another five and half pages, including graphic logs and the reference list]
Palmer, C.P. 2003. Carinopsis batei: a new bivalve mollusc from the Middle Lias (Lower Jurassic) of the Dorset coast, England. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 125, 119-123. By Charles Philip Palmer of the Natural History Museum, London. Summary: A new genus of heterodont bivalve mollusc is described and named Carinopsis. It is assigned to geographical, and exact stratigraphical positions; and classified in the subfamily Opinae, pending better preserved material. Biographical conclusions are drawn. [A small, unusual, heterodont mollusc from Day's Shell Bed about 0.9m below the Starfish Bed of Eype Mouth and Seatown.]
Parkinson, D.N. 1996. Gamma-ray spectroscopy as a tool for stratigraphic interpretation: examples from the western European Lower Jurassic. In: Sequence Stratigraphy in British Geology. Special Publications of the Geological Society, London, vol. 103, pp. 231-255. By D. Neil Parkinson.
Abstract: Portable gamma-ray spectrometry provides an objective and quantitative method of studying sedimentary cyclicity in otherwise-cryptic mudrock successions. Spectral gamma-ray data are presented from the Lower Jurassic sections of the Yorkshire and Dorset Coasts (England), from Peniche (Portugal) and from inland exposures in southern Germany, including a recent road-cut. In Yorkshire, where proximal-distal relationships are readily demonstrated from sedimentological evidence, there is good correspondence between more proximal facies and elevated Th/K ratios. This relationship may be extended to the Dorset succession where the sequence-stratigraphical interpretation of Lower Lias mudrocks has been a source of some controversy. Th/K ratio data here suggest a distal, starved, Hettangian-earliest Sinemurian (Blue Lias) and a prograding Sinemurian interval (Black Ven Marls and Shales-with-"Beef"). Flooding and further progradation in the Early Pliensbachian (Belemnite Marls) is also suggested. These results provide support for common "second order" stratigraphical forcing mechanisms between the Dorset and Yorkshire successions. Data from mainland Europe suggest that there are systematic regional variations in Th/K ratio, upon which local temporal variations are superimposed. These may reflect climatic or regional sediment transport effects.
Paul, C.R.C., Allison, P.A. and Brett, C.E. 2008. The occurrence and preservation of ammonites in the Blue Lias Formation (lower Jurassic) of Devon and Dorset, England and their palaeoecological, sedimentological and diagenetic significance. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, (December 2008), 270 (3-4), pp. 258-272. By C.R.C. Paul; Peter A. Allison; and Carlton E. Brett
More than two thirds of beds in the lowest Jurassic, Blue Lias Formation lack ammonites, which are commonly preserved in irregular or planar-bedded, bioturbated limestones, very rarely in laminated limestones and almost never in laminated black shales. Ammonites are preserved in 3D in nodular and planar-bedded limestones and at any orientation to bedding. Co-occurrence with macrobenthos and absence from beds without benthos suggest that Blue Lias ammonites were nektobenthonic. Scour structures and imbrication of ammonites in the Best Bed imply presence of traction currents. Lack of epifauna on large cephalopod shells (and other fossils) implies rapid deposition in event beds. Blue Lias deposition was episodic, not slow and continuous as the fine grain size implies. Undistorted trace fossils, uncrushed ammonites and stable isotope values all suggest early cementation of limestone beds from pore waters of a similar composition to contemporary Jurassic sea water. A clear diagenetic trend exists, with limestones having least, and laminated black shales most, modified stable isotope values. Contrast between trace fossil fills and host sediment demonstrates that Blue Lias rhythms are primary, but limestone beds have been diagenetically cemented.
Payne , D. 1953. Dorset Harbours. Christopher Johnson, London, 156 pp. With a Foreword by Vernon C. Boyle. [Poole Harbour to Lyme Regis, with monochrome photographs.]
Perkins , J.W. 1977. Geology Explained in Dorset. David and Charles, Newton Abbott, 224 pp. ISBN 0-7153-7319-6. [A good, clear, explanation of Dorset geology with well-labelled diagrams.]
Pierce , P. 2006. Jurassic Mary: Mary Anning and the Primeval Monsters. By Patricia Pierce. Sutton Publishing Ltd, Phoenix Mill, Thrupp, Stoud, Gloucestershire, GL5 2BU, 238pp. ISBN 07509-4039-5.
"Introduction: It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale - the story of a poor cabinet-maker's young daughter who discovered an important and massive fossil at Lyme Regis, Dorset. Mary Anning (1799-1847) unearthed the first complete fossilised skeleton of a 'fish lizard' or Ichthyosaurus, when she was about 12 years old. However, Mary's life was no fairy tale, but a struggle against near-impossible odds, although the mystery surrounding some of her life does imbue her story with a certain mythical quality.
In Lyme Regis Mary's future path was set when she was still a girl, and she followed it throughout her life, finding a sequence of some of the earliest palaeontological specimens in the world. For Lyme is situated on an exceptionally fossiliferous coastline, where fossils the remains or traces of animals and plants preserved by natural processes - were, and still are, to be found in abundance, and often of enormous size. But at that time few people knew what these strange bones and objects were or how they had come to be there.
In her twenties Mary discovered the first complete British Plesiosaurus giganteus (1823/4), which became the type specimen ...." [continues]
Pitts, J. 1974. The Bindon Landslip of 1839. A Survey of Historical Documents describing the Event, its Causes and Mechanism. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 1974, vol. 95, pp. 18-29. By John Pitts, B.Sc., Dip. Eng., F.G.S.
The landslip at Bindon is situated in the Axmouth - Lyme Regis Undercliffs National Nature Reserve, some 3 and a half miles west of Lyme Regis and 1 and a half miles east of Axmouth. With the Folkstone Warren landslip, it is probably the most widely documented event of this kind in the British Isles. The aim of this paper is to consider the work carried out on the Bindon landslip since 1839, and to briefly show its place in the context of a broader research programme being carried out on the mass movement features of the Reserve.
[This very interesting paper has 21 plates of the landslide at various dates in addition to sections and maps. The study was part of a Ph.D. programme at Kings College, London, under the supervision of Professor Denys Brunsden.]
Pitts , J. 1979. Discussion of : The contribution made to cliff instability by Head deposits in the west Dorset coastal area. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology, 12, 277-279.
Pitts, J. 1981. Landslips of the Axmouth - Lyme Regis National Nature Reserve, Devon. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of London, 710pp.
Pitts, J. 1982 (Proceedings for 1981). An historical survey of the landslips of the Axmouth - Lyme Regis Undercliffs, Devon. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 1981, 103, 101-105.
"In and earlier paper (Pitts, 1974), the present author indicated how basic research questions could be posed by a survey of one landslide event, namely that of Bindon, southeast Devon in 1839. General histories of landslipping within the region of which the Axmouth - Lyme Regis Undercliffs are part have been presented by various authors, most notably Arber (1940, 1973). Much of the landslipping in the Reserve is of considerable antiquity, and it is fortunate that the area is of great geological interest since much of the published information, although not directly related to the landslips, has yielded clues which are of relevance to them. The eroion subsequent to major landslipping, and the development of a luxuriant vegetation over the landslips, have masked much of the detail requiring study. It is the purpose of this paper to show that extremely valuable detail on processes and forms may be accumulated from historical documents pertinent to small and large scale studies of mass movements. The whole of the Nature Reserve is landslipped and Figure 1 indicates the locations of the sites referred to in the text.
[continues - Ware Cliffs, Pinhay Bay, Whitlands and Humble Point, Charton Bay, Rousdon, Dowlands, Bindon, Haven Cliffs to Culverhole Point, Conclusions, Acknowledgements, References.]
Pitts, J. 1983a. The temporal and spatial development of landslides in the Axmouth - Lyme Regis undercliffs National Nature Reserve. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 8, 587-604.
Pitts, J. 1983b. The recent evolution of the landsliding in the Axmouth - Lyme Regis undercliffs National Nature Reserve. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 105, 119-125.
Pitts, J. and Brunsden, D. 1987. A reconsideration of the Bindon Landslide of 1839. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 98, (1) 1-18. [On Christmas Day, 1839 there occurred " a most extraordinary and terrific explosion of nature". With a sound like " the rending of cloth" accompanied by "flashes of fire and a strong smell of sulphur" the cliffs at Bindon, Devon, subsided towards the sea. A complex block slide with a rear graben with produced a short-lived offshore toe reef in 1839. Result of high rainfall and strong marine erosion. Failure in the Westbury Formation. Main block non-rotational but some rotation in front. See also Jarvis, I and Tocher, B.A. 1987. Field Meeting: the Cretaceous of SE Devon, 14th - 16th March, 1986. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 98, same volume, 51-66. Inspired a piece of music composed by Ricardo Linter and called "The Landslip Quadrille".]
Risknat. 200? See:
Geotechnical Study Area. 200?. [Risknat Organisation]. Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK.
This is available online at: Risknat Geotechnical Study Area. Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK. It discusses coastal problems of Lyme Regis and the Sea Defences Phases 1,2,3 and 4. It is a short account of 16 pages with good maps and diagrams.
Raiswell , R. 1971. The growth of Cambrian and Liassic concretions. Sedimentology, 17, 147-171.
Raiswell, R. 1976. The microbiological formation of carbonate concretions in the Upper Lias of N.E. England. Chemical Geology, 18, 227-244.
Roberts , G. 1823. The History of Lyme Regis, Dorset from the Earliest Periods to the Present Day.
Roberts, G. 1834. History and Antiquities of the Borough of Lyme Regis and Charmouth. London. 286 pp.
Roberts, G. 1840. An Account of, and Guide to, the Mighty Land-slip of Dowlands and Bindon, in the Parish of Axmouth, near Lyme Regis, December 25th, 1839. With the incidents of its progress, the locality, historical particulars, its causes popularly treated, and the claims of being the effect of an Earthquake considered, with mention of more recent movements at Whitlands, February 3, 1840. 5 th ed. 8vo. Lyme Regis.
Abstract: In the Neuquen Basin of Argentina, 'beef' (bedding-parallel veins of fibrous calcite) is widespread within Late Jurassic black mudstones. A typical vein consists of two grey inner zones and two white outer zones. The inner zones contain inclusions of wall rock and hydrocarbons. Calcite fibres are perpendicular to the margins. In the outer zones, the angle between fibre and margin varies from about 45 degrees at the vein tips to 90 degrees in the centre. Imprints of fossils are offset, proving that the fibres have grown antitaxially. We infer that the veins opened in two phases. During Phase 1, the opening was vertical, against gravity. During Phase 2, the veins resisted tectonic shortening, so that shear stresses acted at the margins. The senses of shear account for the fibre angles. At outcrop, igneous intrusive rocks have cut and metamorphosed the veins. From burial curves, maturity calculations, growth strata, and ages of igneous intrusions, we estimate that the inner zones of the beef formed in the oil window, during the Aptian to Albian, and that the outer zones formed in the gas window, during the Cenomanian to Campanian. We infer that the beef is evidence for fluid overpressure during hydrocarbon generation.
[example of text - first part of Introduction]
'Beef' is an old quarryman’s term for bedding-parallel veins of fibrous calcite. These are common in some sedimentary basins,especially in black mudstones that are rich in organic matter and carbonates. Sorby (1860) described beef in coastal exposures of Jurassic strata (the ‘Shales-with-Beef’) in SW England. There are other occurrences in Great Britain (Marshall 1982), the USA (Franks 1969; Tobin et al. 1996), Canada (Mackenzie 1972; Al-Aasm et al. 1992, 1996), the Falkland Islands (Tarney & Schreiber 1976; Maillot & Bonte 1983), France (Becq-Giraudon 1990), Germany (Jochum et al. 1995), the North Sea (Hillier & Cosgrove 2002), the Czech Republic (Suchy et al. 2002), Eastern Siberia (Kolokol'tsev 2002), Venezuela (Macsotay et al. 2003), Mexico (Fischer et al. 2005) and Trinidad and Tobago (http://www.gstt.org/Geology/cone%20in%20cone.htm). In undisturbed sedimentary basins, veins of beef tend to be bedding-parallel and horizontal, whereas the fibres tend to be vertical. These fibres yield information about the kinematics and mechanics of opening. The fibres appear to have grown vertically, during progressive opening of the veins. More generally, for fibrous veins of any attitude, there is a consensus that the fibres have grown incrementally, partly or totally tracking the history of relative displacement of the walls (Taber 1918; Durney & Ramsay 1973). The infilling mineral seems to have acquired its fibrous habit during progressive opening, especially if the host rock is porous. In some examples, opening and infilling seem to have occurred episodically, by a crack-seal mechanism (Ramsay 1980). In other examples, growth appears to have been more continuous (Taber 1918; Durney & Ramsay 1973; Means & Li 2001). In crack-seal, the fibrous mineral fills an open micro-crack (Ramsay 1980), whereas in Taber growth, there is no open micro-crack, but a cohesive boundary between fibre and substrate. However, the details are subject to debate. For example, Means & Li (2001) could not exclude the possibility that micro-cracks formed during their physical experiments, in which they reproduced Taber growth of fibrous minerals in veins. Also in fibrous veins, crystal faces between neighbouring fibres tend to be smooth, not serrate, and this may indicate a lack of growth competition (Mugge 1928; Urai et al. 1991). Hilgers et al. (2001) numerically modelled the growth of fibres by crackseal, and estimated that growth competition is inhibited when the crack width is less than about 10 microns. According to the positions of the growing crystals with respect to the walls, Durney & Ramsay (1973) distinguished three kinds of fibrous veins: (1) in stretched veins, fractures open and seal repeatedly in different positions across the vein; (2) in syntaxial veins, fibres grow on one or both sides of the vein and towards the middle of the vein, where a fracture is inferred; (3) in antitaxial veins, the fibres grow from a median suture line towards the walls. Our current understanding is that the fibrous minerals in veins grow by precipitation, mainly from supersaturated aqueous solutions, as a result of chemical reactions or changes in physical conditions, especially of temperature and pressure. There are two potential mechanisms for transporting the nutrients (Elburg et al. 2002). Advective fluid flow transports them over long distances, until they precipitate in a vein, which is effectively an open system (McCaig et al. 1995). Alternatively, the nutrients diffuse over shorter distances (centimetres to decimetres), in what is effectively a closed system (Durney & Ramsay 1973; Oliver & Bons 2001). It should be noted that the assumption of an open or closed system depends on the scale of observation. Horizontal fractures may be a result of high pore fluid pressures (Stoneley 1983). These are common in sedimentary basins, especially at depth (Swarbrick et al. 2002). The term overpressure refers to a condition in which the fluid pressure is greater than that of an equivalent free column of water. The possible causes of overpressure are a matter for debate." [continues ..]
[This paper is very useful for understanding the origin of Liassic beef]
Romer , A.S. 1945. Vertebrate Paleontology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 687pp. By Alfred Sherwood Romer, Professor of Zoology and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in Harvard University. 2nd Edition (First Edition 1933; Sixth Impression of Second Edition in 1955). [Excellent reference book for vertebrate palaeontology, although now fairly old.]
Rukin, N. 1990. The diagenesis of the Shales-with-beef of the Lower Lias, West Dorset. Unknown Binding – 1990. By Nicholas Rukin (Author). Ph.D. Thesis. (This has not been seen; the supervisor is not known. Details or abstract have not been found. Any information would be appreciated.)
Sellwood , B.W., Durkin, M.K. and Kennedy, W.J. 1970. Field meeting on the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks of Wessex. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 81, 715-732. [Good diagrams of trace fossils, useful for identification purposes].
Sellwood, B.W. and Jenkyns, H.C. 1975. Basins and swells and the evolution of an epeiric sea (Pliensbachian - Bajocian of Great Britain). Journal of the Geological Society, London, 131, 373-388. Abstract: During Pliensbachian - Bajocian times northern Europe, including Britain, was covered by an epeiric sea. Sediments formed include clays, sandstones, limestones and ironstones, usually cyclically arranged; different facies were developed synchronously in different areas. There is very little evidence, by way of slumps or turbidites, that redeposition processes were active. The sequence clay, sandstone, limestone/ironstone is here interpreted as representative of a shallowing. Thus, at any one time, despite differing bathymetric zones, bottom slopes were apparently subdued enough to ensure that sediment displacement did not generally take place... To reconcile the concept of Jurassic 'basins' and 'swells' with subdued bottom slopes of the north European epeiric sea, we suggest that these structural elements were characterised by great and negligible subsidence respectively, but that sedimentation was always rapid enough to maintain a roughly level sea floor. We relate the Mendip, London Platform and Dorset coast 'swells' to early Jurassic positive fault movements in the basement. The Market Weighton 'swell' is ascribed to relative bouyant rise of a salt pillow or granitic body whose movement was probably triggered by the same motions. These, presumably extensional, tectonics were probably the driving force behind the formation of the whole north European epeiric sea and must be related, in turn, toe the the opening of the ocean central Atlantic and the Alpine-Mediterranean Tethys.
Sellwood, B.W., Wilson, C. and West, I.M. 1990. Jurassic sedimentary environments of the Wessex Basin. 13th International Sedimentological Congress, Field Trip Guide A16. 89p.
Sellwood, M., Davis, G., Brunsden, D. and Moore, R. 2000. Ground models for the coastal landslides at Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK. In: Landslides in Research, Theory and Practice. Thomas Telford, London, vol. 3, pp. 1361-1366.
Sheppard , T. H., Houghton, R. D. and Swan, A. R. H. 2006. Bedding and pseudobedding in the Early Jurassic of Glamorgan: deposition and diagenesis of the Blue Lias in South Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, London, vol. 117, 249-264. By T. Huw Sheppard, Richard D. Houghton and Andrew R. H. Swan.
Abstract: Sedimentary bedding planes in a succession of Lower Jurassic (Bucklandi Biozone) limestone-shale alternations at Nash Point, South Wales are represented by omission surfaces intermittently developed on the upper surfaces (limestone-shale contacts) of limestone beds. Other lithological contacts (shale-limestone contacts and the majority of limestone-shale contacts) are devoid of positive indications of an associated break in sedimentation. Statistical analysis of (a) limestone-shale contacts and (b) recorded omission surfaces suggests that limestone-shale contacts are regularly spaced and omission surfaces randomly distributed. Limestone-shale contacts and omission surfaces are interpreted as proxies for sedimentary bedding and shale-limestone contacts interpreted as pseudo-bedding planes, with the alternation of limestones and shales arising from the diagenetic differentiation of beds of lime mud. No short- or long-term cyc1icities at a scale greater than that of an individual couplet can be detected by the statistical methods employed, and it is therefore unlikely that a Milankovitch-type cyc1icity is present. Evidence of stratigraphical environmental succession, exhibited both by ichnotaxa and body fossil assemblages in the biofacies of omission surfaces, suggests that the succession represents part of a third-order shall owing event. It is proposed that beds of lime mud were deposited as a consequence of episodic storm action on a hemipelagic shelf, and diagenetic differentiation was 'steered' by this episodicity and not by any orbital control.
Simms , M.J. 1986. Contrasting lifestyles in Lower Jurassic crinoids: A comparison of benthic and pseudopelagic Isocrinida. Palaeontology, 29, 475-493.
Simms, M.J. 1988. Patterns of evolution among Lower Jurassic crinoids. Historical Biology, 1, 17-44.
Simms, M. J. 1989. British Lower Jurassic Crinoids. Monographs of the Palaeontographical Society, London, 142 (no. 581), 103 pp.
Simms, M.J. 1990. Crinoid diversity and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. Cahiers Scientifiques de l'Institut Catholique de Lyon, Triassic-Jurassic Boundary Special Volume, pp 67-77.
Simms, M.J. 1990c. Upper Pliensbachian stratigraphy in the Severn Basin area: Evidence for anomalous structural controls in the Lower and Middle Jurassic. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 101, 131-144.
Simms, M.J. 1999. Middle Jurassic of southern England. Pp. 197-202 in Hess, H., Ausich, W.I., Brett, C.E. & Simms, M.J. (eds), Fossil Crinoids, Cambridge University Press.
Simms, M.J. 1999d. Pentacrinites from the Lower Jurassic of the Dorset coast of southern England. Pp. 177-182 in Hess, H., Ausich, W.I., Brett, C.E. & Simms, M.J. (eds), Fossil Crinoids, Cambridge University Press.
Simms, M.J. 2003. Uniquely extensive seismite from the latest Triassic of the UK: Evidence for bolide impact? Geology, 31, 557-560.
Simms, M.J., Little, C.T.S. and Rosen, B.R. 2002. Corals not serpulids: mineralized colonial fossils in the Lower Jurassic marginal facies of South Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, London, 113, 31-36.
Simms, M.J., Chidlaw, N., Morton, N. and Page, K.N. 2004. British Lower Jurassic Stratigraphy. Geological Conservation Review (GCR), Volume No. 30 458 pages, illustrations, A4 hardback, ISBN 1 86107 495 6 £55. Distributed by: NHBS Environmental Bookstore. This volume describes 45 sites which represent the entire British outcrop of British Lower Jurassic strata. Summary: Britain has some of the most extensive and fossiliferous exposures of marine Lower Jurassic rocks seen anywhere in the world. They include remarkably complete stratigraphical successions and a great diversity of facies, forming the basis for many detailed investigations. Knowledge accrued at many of these sites has contributed enormously to enhancing our understanding of the factors that influenced these Early Jurassic sediments, such as sea level, basin subsidence, climate and diagenesis. British Lower Jurassic strata have also long been famed for its wealth of fossils, both vertebrate and invertebrate. Many species were first described from sites described in this volume, and these sites continue to contribute important new taxa and specimens. Numerous palaeontological case studies based on such material have contributed immensely to our understanding of biological diversity, evolutionary patterns and processes, marine palaeoevironments, and the processes of fossilization during early Jurassic times. Rich ammonite faunas at many sites have formed the basis for one of the highest resolution stratigraphies of any part of the geological column. Several GCR sites described in this volume have been either designated or proposed as the Global Stratotype Section and Point for various Lower Jurassic Stage boundaries. Described here are 45 sites, from small disused quarries to magnificent coastal cliffs, which represent the entire British outcrop, from north-east Scotland to south Wales and south-west England. Together they demonstrate the diversity of Lower Jurassic stratigraphy and facies in Britain. All are of considerable importance within a British and western European context, while many unquestionably are of international significance. [Some parts can be downloaded from: Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)]
Simms, M.J., Ruffell, A.H. and Johnson, A.L.A. 1994. Biotic and climatic changes in the late Triassic of Europe and adjacent areas.
Pp. 352-365 in N.C.Fraser and Hans Dieter-Suess (editors), In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs: Early Mesozoic Tetrapods, Cambridge University Press.
Solly , H.S. 1905. The Landslip, Lyme Regis. Proceedings of Dorset Field Club, 26, 182-186.
Sowerby , J. 1822. Mineral Conchology.
Spath , L.F. 1924. The ammonites of the Blue Lias. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 35, 186-211.
Spath, L.F. 1936. The ammonites of the Green Ammonite Beds of Dorset. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 92, 438-471, with plate 93. By Leonard Frank Spath, D. Sc., F.G.S. Follows paper by Lang, 1936. "1. Introduction. - As on previous occasions when I have had the privilege of examining the ammonites of the Lower Lias of Charmouth, collected by Dr. W. D. Lang, I propose to discuss the identifications, given in his stratigraphical account; also to comment on the generic classification and the phylogenetic relationships of the ammonites. Of four families recorded, only one (the Liparoceratidae) is really abundantly represented and important; but on account of the necessity for adequate illustration I am publishing a full discussion of the phylogeny of this family elsewhere. Here I may stress the fact that the V-shaped peripheral ribs so characteristic of the late capricorns first appear on the inner (not the outer) whorls of the early forms, a clear case of caenogenesis, as palaeontologists understand it, and comparable to that of schIotheimids (Spath, 1924, p. 198); also, the fact that the restriction of the various ammonites to certain beds is fortuitous and peculiar to Dorset, having nothing to do with the real range of these fossils. That is to say, the discovery of an Amaltheus at a level 11 feet below the Lowest Tier enables us to fix the local base of the Margaritatus Zone, and it is convenient that, at least up to the present, Oistoceras has not been found to range higher than within three feet of the lowest Amaltheus. But where even Prodactylioceras davoei passes up into the Margaritatus Zone, or where Liparoceras (Becheiceras) has its maximum in the Margaritatus Zone, delimitation of the zones is less simple than in Dorset..." [continues]
Stinton , J. 1995. Under Black Ven; Mary Anning's Story. Dorset Books, 64p. [Fictional story based on facts regarding the life of famous fossil-collector - Mary Anning.] "As a small child, Mary Anning was struck by lightning - and lived to tell the tale. And an extraordinary tale it turned out to be . Mary lived with her family in a house on the cliff at Lyme Regis in Dorset. After the death of her father, she and her brother eked out a living for the family by searching for 'curiosities' in the shifting, fossil-rich rocks of Lyme during the early years of the nineteenth century. Her finds made her famous, and this book tells her story as she herself might have told it at the time." [Example extract: "There had been a great storm, and the tide had run high (they said that seaweed had draped the cobbles all up along Broad Street). A sea-fret was obscuring Lyme Bay, in wanton patches, isolating the shore. Joe was further off, treasure-hunting like as not, and I was standing in the midst of silence when a sudden noise disturbed me. "]
Stoker , H. 1982. West Dorset Walks. 68p. Mill House Publications, Bridport. [At Christman 1839 half a mile of cliff top land at Dowlands, 3 and a half miles west of Lyme Regis slipped down overnight to open up a chasm hundreds of feet deep.]
Stoneley , R. and Selley, R.C. 1986. A Field Guide to the Petroleum Geology of the Wessex Basin. Imperial College, London, Geology Department.
Storrs, G.W. 1997. Morphological and Taxonomic Classification of the Genus Plesiosaurus. Pp. 145-190 in: Callaway, J.M. and Nicholls (eds.), 1997. Ancient Marine Reptiles. Academic Press.
Tarr, W.A. 1933. Origin of the "Beef" in the Lias Shales of the Dorset Coast. Geological Magazine, vol. 70, issue 7, July 1933, pp. 289-294.
It is believed that the "beef" in the Shales-with-Beef resulted from the leaching of calcium carbonate of a find porous marl by groundwater solution and its subsequent redeposition. The initial redeposition was about the grains of calcite along bedding planes or similar divisional oppens, and as more material was added by the solutions moving to these planes, each original grain developed into a fibre in the layer of "beef". Growth was from both sides, but took place faster on the upper side because the dominant movement of the water was downward. Growth stopped due to the exhaustion of the supply of calcium carbonate in the marl or carbon dioxide in the solution. The thin paper-shales between the layers of "beef" may represent the original clay of the marl. This explanation of the origin of the "beef" would probably apply to other fibrous deposits of calcite also.
Taylor , P.D. (ed.) 1995. Field Geology of the British Jurassic. (Book) The Geological Society of London. [This includes Callomon, J.H. and Cope, J.C.W. - The Jurassic Geology of Dorset, pp. 51-103. Also - Hesselbo, S.P. and Jenkyns, H.C. A comparison of the Hettangian to Bajocian succession of Dorset and Yorkshire, pp. 105-150.]
Thomas , J. 1993. The building stones of Dorset. Part 1. The Western parishes - upper Greensand chert and lower Lias. Proceedings of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society for 1992, 114, 161-168. [Interesting history of cement working at Charmouth and Lyme Regis - Blue Lias cementstones.]
Thomas, J. and Ensom, P. 1989. Bibliography and Index of Dorset Geology. Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society. 102 pp. [Valuable guide to Dorset geological literature including journal articles, newspaper reports and obscure publications.] See also the internet version - Bibliography and Index of Dorset Geology.
Thulborn, R.A. 1977. Relationship of the Lower Jurassic Dinosaur Scelidosaurus harrisonii. Journal of Paleontology, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 725-739. July 1977. By Richard A. Thulborn.
The ornithischian dinosaurs of the English Lias (Lower Jurassic) are reviewed. The acknowledged type specimen of Scelidosaurus harrisoni, commonly regarded as a primitive stegosaur, is identified as an ornithopod adapted for graviportal locomotion; it probably resembled the iguanodontids Tenontosaurus and Iguanodon in general appearance, but cannot easily be related with any known line of ornithopod descent. A contemporary ornithischian, mentioned in the literature as a juvenile or small specimen of Scelidosaurus, is recognised as a lightly built ornithopod adapted for cursorial locomotion; it is not a close relative of Scelidosaurus harrisonii. This cursorial ornithopod is probably a fairly direct descendent of the Upper Triassic Fabrosaurus australis and may well be identical with a fragmentary Hypsilophodon-like form which is also recorded from the English Lias. None of these Liassic dinosaurs is related to stegosaurs or to ankylosaurs, and there is no convincing evidence that any ornithischian dinosaur had advanced beyond the ornithopod level of organisation before the Middle Jurassic.
[Since this paper was written, the Ornithischian, Scelidosaurus is now regarded as an early ankylosaur. See: Scelidosaurus harrisonii.]
Tickell , C. 1996. Mary Anning of Lyme Regis. Paperback booklet published by the Lyme Regis Philpot Museum. 32 pp, was priced at £2.99. By Sir Crispin Tickell, great, great, great nephew of Mary Anning. With a foreword by John Fowles. Extract: " Mary Anning, daughter of a cabinet maker or carpenter, was born on 21 May 1799, ten years before Charles Darwin. Through her discovery of creatures from a past vastly greater than anything she or her contemporaries can have imagined, she came to embody the open, radical and independent traditions of Lyme, and to contribute to an intellectual revolution whose affects are still with us." [This booklet includes pictures of Mary Anning and part of a letter from Mary Anning to Dean Sedgwick, 4 May 1843. Although quite short, it gives a good, perceptive and interesting account of Mary Anning's life and is referenced throughout.]
Todd , J.E. 1913. More about septarian structure. Geological Magazine, 10, 361-364.
Torrens , H.S. et al., 1969. International Field Symposium on the British Jurassic, Excursion No. 1 , Guide for Dorset and South Somerset, University of Keele, 71 pp. By Hugh Torrens.
Torrens, H.S. and Getty, T.A. 1980. The base of the Jurassic system . In Cope J.C.W. et al. A correlation of Jurassic rocks in the British Isles. Geological Society of London, Special Report, 14, 17-22.
Trueman , A.E. and Williams, D.M. 1925. Studies in the ammonites of the family Echioceratidae. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 53, part 3, 699-739, pls. 1-4.
Tubb, C D N, and Neilson, A P M. 1985. Landslip activity at the Pinhay water source, Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Ussher Society, Vol. 6, 246-252.
Weedon, G.P. and Hallam, A. 1987. Origin of minor limestone-shale cycles - climatically induced or diagenetic - Comment and Reply. Geology, 15, (1), 92-94. January, 1987.
Weedon, G.P. and Jenkyns, H.C. 1990. Regular and irregular climatic cycles and the Belemnite Marls (Pliensbachian, Lower Jurassic, Wessex Basin). Journal of the Geological Society, London, 147, 915-918.
Weedon, G.P., Jenkyns, H.C., Coe, A.L. and Hesselbo, S.P. 1999. Astronomical calibration of the Jurassic time-scale from cyclostratigraphy in British mudrock formations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series A, Vol. 357, pp. 1787-1813. Abstract: Three British Jurassic mudrock formations have been investigated, via time-series analysis, for evidence of sedimentary cyclicity related to orbital-climatic (Milankovitch) cyclicity: the Blue Lias, the Belemnite Marls and the Kimmeridge Clay Formation. Magnetic-susceptibility measurements through the Blue Lias (uppermost Triassic to Sinemurian) were used to generate high-resolution time-series. The data indicate the presence of a regular sedimentary cycle that gradually varies in wavelength according to sedimentation rate. Tuning of this cycle to the 38 ka Jurassic obliquity cycle produces spectral evidence for two additional regular cycles of small amplitude. These correspond to the 95 ka component of orbital eccentricity and the 20 ka orbital-precession cycles. Cycle counting allowed the minimum duration of four ammonite zones to be estimated and the duration of the Hettangian stage is estimated to be at least 1.29 Ma. Calcium carbonate measurements through the Belemnite Marls (lower Pliensbachian) are characterized by two scales of cyclicity that call be firmly linked to orbital-precession (20 ka) and the 123 ka component of eccentricity. A time-scale has been developed from the precession-related sedimentary cycles, with cycle counts used to constrain the duration of two ammonite zones. In the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Kimmeridgian-Tithonian), magnetic-susceptibility measurements made on exposures, core material and down boreholes can be correlated at the decimetre scale. Only measurements of magnetic susceptibility made below the Yellow Ledge Stone Band (midway through the formation) are suitable for analysis of the bedding-scale cyclicity. A large-amplitude sedimentary cycle detected in the lower part of the formation is probably related to the orbital-obliquity cycle (38 ka). In certain stratigraphic intervals, there is evidence for small-amplitude cycles related to orbital precession (20 ka). --
This study of the British Jurassic shows that, in the Rhaetian-Sinemurian, the dominant cyclicity was related to obliquity. In the Pliensbachian this had shifted dominantly to precession, and in the Kimmeridgian obliquity again dominated. These shifts in cycle dominance presumably reflect changing local or global palaeoclimatic and/or palaeoceanographic conditions.
West Dorset District Council 2005. 26/07/05: Funding good news for Lyme Regis. Funding good news for Lyme Regis. Dorsetforyou Website.
With coast protection and land stabilisation work under full steam in Lyme Regis, funding has already been secured to start planning the next phase of work to protect the town. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has approved £1 million funding for preliminary design work at the eastern end of the town in East Cliff and Church Cliff. DEFRA will pay 65% of the costs with West Dorset District Council meeting the rest of the costs. District council Leader Robert Gould says: "I'm delighted that DEFRA have agreed to support costs to start planning the next phase of work in Lyme Regis. This money will allow us to see if a scheme is feasible in future years. That includes producing design options, consulting with local people as well as other groups and, not least, securing more funding to actually implement the scheme. In the region of 170 properties plus road and amenity land are at risk from coastal erosion and landslides in the eastern part of the town. The preliminary design work will critically evaluate earlier studies plus update ground, geological and environmental models to assess change. It will prepare options to protect the coast, property as well as the natural environment - which makes the area so attractive to locals and visitors alike. Initial steps will be to commission collection of new data with a high and low level fly past taking detailed photographic images of the coastline from the air. It also includes a laser scan of the beach, cliffs and landslip areas – similar to a supermarket bar code reader collecting a detailed picture of the ground profile. The preliminary design will be led by West Dorset District Council's engineers based at offices on the Cobb in Lyme Regis. Regular updates will be available from the council's coastal scheme information centre on the seafront and this website.
Since opening in April, the centre has welcomed over 25,000 visitors and has become something of an attraction in the town. As well as updates about current work, the centre includes information about coastal erosion processes plus past problems and likely future issues.
West Dorset District Council. [Gallois, R. - by Dr. Ramues Gallois] 2006. Report on the Geology of the Area between Devonshire Head and the River Lim, Lyme Regis, Dorset. June 2006. West Dorset District Council. The Ware Cliffs report comprises 73 pages including 22 figures
The following pages are a small sample
All material is copyright WDDC. Church Cliffs report 72 pages 20 figures. Ware Cliffs report, 73 pages 22 figures, available as a single CD-rom £5.00 plus postage and packing.
A sample extract is online at: Report on the Geology of the Area between Devonshire Head and the River Lim, Lyme Regis, Dorset.
Wetzel , A. and Reisdorf, A.G. 2007. Ichnofabrics elucidate the accumulation history of a condensed interval containing a vertically emplaced ichthyosaur skull. Sediment-Organism Interaction: A Multifaceted Ichnology. SEPM Special Publication, No. 88, pp. 241-251. By Andreas Wwetzel and Achim G. Reisdorf. Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Universität Basel, Bernoullistrasse 32, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland. e-mail: Andreas.Wetzel@unibas.ch
Abstract: A three-dimensionally preserved skull and parts of the postcranial skeleton of an ichthyosaur (Leptonectes) was found vertically oriented within on-average slowly deposited (0.5 m/My) Lower Jurassic shallow-water marls. The ichthyosaur sank headfirst into the seafloor because of its center of gravity, as anatomically similar comparably preserved specimens suggest. The skull penetrated into the soupy to soft substrate until the fins touched the seafloor. There is no evidence either for active penetration of the ichthyosaur during death agony or an acceleration by explosive release of sewer gas that would have pushed the skull into the substrate. Ichnofabrics and crosscutting relationships among trace fossils preserved therein allow analysis of stratigraphic completeness. In spite of on-average slow accumulation, the ichthyosaur-hosting sediments formed rapidly during three distinct but similar deposition–bioturbation phases. First, 10 to 15 cm of mud accumulated rapidly. Biodeformational structures subsequently produced therein imply a soupy consistency. As sedimentation slowed down, muds slightly dewatered and consolidated, as reflected by trace fossils with distinct outlines (Palaeophycus and Planolites, thereafter Thalassinoides and Chondrites). The contact with the overlying depositional interval is obliterated by biodeformational structures. Hence, the previously rapidly deposited mud must still have been soft. A short time after the third deposition–bioturbation phase, the ichthyosaur parts penetrated into the still-soft mud and started to be degraded microbially. Below the bioturbated zone, but before compaction, a concretion started to form around the ichthyosaur parts and led to their excellent preservation. During further burial, the skull-hosting concretion experienced differential compaction and moved downward relative to the underlying beds. The skull-hosting concretion penetrated through condensed deposits representing three ammonite zones. Restoring differential compaction, the initial porosity of the sediment can be estimated to have been >70%. Compared to modern analogues, such muds are soft, as ichnofabrics imply.
Whalley, P.E.S. The systematics and palaeogeography of the Lower Jurassic insects of Dorset, England. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology Series, vol. 39, No. 3, 31 October, 1985. [Fossil insects from the Flatstones and Woodstones of the Obtusum Zone of the Upper Sinemurian with a few from the Birchi Nodules of the older, Turneri Zone. Found mostly in loose material at Charmouth. Crickets were noisy in the early Jurassic here!]
Wignall , P.B. 2001. Sedimentology of the Triassic - Jurassic boundary beds in Pinhay Bay (Devon, SW England). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, London, 112, 349-360. Abstract: New exposures in Pinhay Bay (SE Devon) of the White Lias (Langport Member of the Lilstock Formation) and basal Blue Lias reveal rapidly changing palaeoenvironments during the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) boundary interval. During deposition of the topmost White Lias a soft seafloor of micritic mudstone was lithified and bored. The resultant hardground was locally eroded, probably in a shallow marine setting, to form a spectacular intraformational conglomerate that was itself lithified. Brief subaerial emergence then followed and produced a fissured and pitted top surface to the White Lias. The regression was short lived and rapid transgression at the base of the Blue Lias established organic-rich shale deposition with a small framboidal pyrite population and low Th/U ratios indicative of a stable, sulphidic lower water column (euxinic conditions). The White Lias/Blue Lias contact thus records a short duration, high amplitude relative sea-level change. This sea-level oscillation has also been postulated for other J-T boundary sections in Europe, although failure to identify it in regional-scale sequence stratigraphic studies is probably due to its brief duration. Deposition of the basal beds of the Blue Lias was marked by a discrete phase of syn-sedimentary folding and small growth fault activity that may record a regional pulse of extensional tectonic activity.
Wilson, R.C.L. , West, I.M. and Sellwood, B.W. 1983. Post Congress Geological Tour D: Dorset and Yorkshire. 11th World Petroleum Congress, London and York.
Wilson, V. , Welch, F.B.A., Robbie, J.A. and Green, G.W. 1958. Geology of the Country Around Bridport and Yeovil (Explanations of Sheets 327 and 312). 239pp. With contributions on The Purbeck Beds by F.W. Anderson, D.Sc.; Palaeontology by R.V. Melville, M.Sc.; and Ground Water by S. Buchan, B.Sc., Ph.D. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. [The map and area considered has an eastern limit about 3 miles west of Dorchester, and a western limit at Charmouth. It does not quite include Lyme Regis.]
Woods, M.A. 2011. British Geological Survey (BGS). (Compiler Woods, M.A.) 2011. Geology of South Dorset and South-East Devon and its World Heritage Coast.
Special Geological Memoir for 1:50,000 geological sheets 328 Dorchester, 342 West Fleet and Weymouth and 342/343 Swanage and parts of sheets 326/340 Sidmouth, 327 Bridport, 329 Bournemouth and 330 Newton Abbott. Compiled by M.A. Woods. By Barton, C.M., Woods, M.A., Bristow, C.R., Newell, A.J., Westhead, R.K., Evans, D.J., Kirby G.A., and Warrington, G. Contributors: Biostratigraphy - J.B. Riding; Stratigraphy - E.C. Freshney; Economic Geology - D.E. Highley and G.K. Lott; Engineering Geology - A. Forster and A. Gibson. British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, 2011. 161 pp. This is the new version of the Geological Survey Memoir for the Dorset Coast etc. and replaces Arkell (1947) and the earlier memoir by Strahan (1898). It covers a wider area than these old memoirs, though, and includes all of "Jurassic Coast", UNESCO World Heritage Coast. It is a key reference work and easily obtainable.
Woodward , A.S. 1895. Catalogue of Fossil Fishes in the British Museum (Natural History), Cromwell Road, SW [London], Part 3, containing the Actinopterygian Teleostomi of the Orders Chondrostei (concluded), Protospondyli, Aetheospondyli, and Isospondyli (in part). British Museum (Natural History), London, 544 pp. plus plates. By Arthur Smith Woodward, F.G.S., F.Z.S. Printed by order of the Trustees. [See also volume 1 - March 1889 largely on Elasmobrachs - sharks, rays and chimeras; volume 2 - January 1891 on Devonian ostracoderms, on Dipnoi, Crossopterygii, Palaeoniscidae and Platysomidae; and volume 4. Part 3 is the main volume on Jurassic bony fish.]
Woodward, H.B. 1886. Report on erosion of sea-coasts - Axmouth to Eype, etc. Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science for 1885, Aberdeen, 1885, 423-426.
Woodward, H.B. 1889. Preliminary excursion to Lyme Regis. Report by the Director. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 11, pp xxvi- xlix. [April 18th to 22nd, 1889. Report by the Director: Horace B. Woodward, F.G.S., of the Geological Survey of England and Wales]
Woodward, H.B. 1893. The Jurassic Rocks of Britain, vol. 3, The Lias of England and Wales (Yorkshire excepted). Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. 8vo., London.
Woodward, H.B. 1902a. Notes on a new railway in course of construction between Axminster and Lyme Regis. Summary of Progress for 1901, Memoirs of the Geological Survey, 53-59.
Woodward, H.B. 1902b. Note on the occurrence of Bagshot Beds at Combe Pyne, near Lyme Regis. Geological Magazine, 515-516, and Reports of the British Association for Advancement of Science, for 1902, 601-602.
Woodward, H.B. 1907. The History of the Geological Society of London. Geological Society, London. 336 pp.
Woodward, H.B. 1908. Burning Cliffs. Geological Magazine, p. 561.
Woodward, H.B. 1911. History of Geology. Watts and Co., London. 154 pp.
, H.B. and Ussher, W.A.E. 1900. Excursion to Seaton, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Exeter; Easter 1899 Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, London, vol. 16 for 1899-1900, pp. 133-153. By Horace B. Woodward, F.R.S., F.G.S. and W.A.E. Ussher, F.G.S.
[Example extract - pp. 133-134]
"Twenty-eight years ago, Prof. James Buckman and Mr. J. Logan Lobley conducted an excursion of the Geologists' Association to the Yeovil district, and spent a short time on their fourth and last day along the cliffs east of Seaton. It seems strange, however, that forty years should have elapsed since the foundation of this Association before any expedition was made to the South Devon coast between Seaton and Exmouth, with its iringes of Blackdown Beds and its famous pebble-bed of Budleigh Salterton.
In 1889 an excursion was made to Lyme Regis, under the guidance of the present Director, and the members then advanced as far as the eastern portion of the Great Landslip. It was now planned to continue the exploration from the Landslip westwards to the mouth of the Exe.
On Thursday evening, March 30th, the members of the party, which numbered nearly forty, arrived at the Royal Clarence Hotel, Seaton. On Friday, March 31st, the members started at 9 a.m. along the esplanade to Axmouth Bridge, where the Director pointed out that the trend of the beach turned the outlet of the river eastwards, and had been the means of choking the harbour of the once flourishing little fishing-town. At the close of the last century, a large tract of salt marshes extended above Axmouth, but these had been drained to the advantage of the neighbourhood. In far earlier times, when the river was more potent in action, spreads of valley-gravel were laid down, and from these at Broom, in the parish of Hawkchurch, above Axminster, some fine palaeolithic implements, fashioned from Upper Greensand chert, had been obtained. Remains of Mammoth had been found in the Sid Valley, further west.
The party now proceeded by Squire's Lane to the lime-kiln beyond the Coastguard Station, where the Middle Chalk, zone of Rhynchonella cuvieri, had been noted by Mr. A. J. Jukes-Browne. This division cropped out along the 300 ft. contour-line. Several specimens of Inoceramus mytiloides and poor examples of the characteristic Rhynchonella were obtained. Passing on through Barn Close and Stony Close Lanes, a pleasant walk over the grassy Chalk-plateau, here, in places 400 ft. high, led to the western end of the Great Landslip at the Bindon Cliffs. The view eastwards through the chasm was grand and striking, the slipped masses of Chalk and Greensand forming a platform about 100 ft. lower than the cliffs from which they had broken away. As some account of this Great Landslip, which happened at Christmas, 1839, has already been published by the Association, no particular description need now be given.
Leaving the chasm, the members proceeded a short distance westwards along the brow of the cliffs and descended by a foot-path to the shore a little west of Culverhole Point. Here in the low cliffs fringing the beach a fine section of Rhaetic Beds [Penarth Group] was exposed."
Woodward, H.B. and Ussher, W.A.E. with contributions by Jukes-Browne, A.J. 1906 (second edition 1911). The Geology of the Country near Sidmouth and Lyme Regis. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of England and Wales. Explanation of Sheets 326 and 340. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London. 102 pp. With contributions by A.J. Jukes-Browne.
Woodward, H.B. and Young, G.G. 1906. Excursion to Lyme Regis. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 19, 320-340.
Wright , T. 1860. On the zone of Avicula contorta, and the Lower Lias of the south of England. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 16, 374-411. [Proceedings of the Geological Society section, February 17, 1860. Covers various localities such as the Glamorganshire coast, Cheltenham, Robin Hood's Bay, and Lyme Regis, Dorset. See p. 401 et seq. for Lyme Regis: "The zone of Ammonites Bucklandi is admirably exposed in the coast-section at Lyme Regis in Dorset, both in the Church Cliffs and at Pinhay Bay." --- continues -- . There is a useful record of ichthyosaur and plesiosaur occurrences, amongst other information.]
Wright, T. 1875. On the occurrence of the genus Cotylederma in the Middle Lias of Dorsetshire. Geological Magazine, 12, 505.
Wright, T. 1876. On the occurrence of the genus Cotylederma in the Middle Lias of Dorsetshire. Geological Magazine, 13, 94.
Wright, T. 1878-1886. Monograph on the Lias Ammonites of the British Islands. Monograph of the Palaeontographical Society, London. By Thomas Wright, M.D., F.R.S., F.G.S., Vice President of the Palaeontographical Society etc. [The Southampton University library copy is bound as two large volumes. Volume one is of pages 1-264, with 40 plates -etchings of ammonites.] "This Monograph on the Lias Ammonites (a memorial of the ability of its painstaking Author and representing the desire of a life) possesses a melancholy interest. Commenced in 1878, and continued year by year until only a few pages remained unprinted, its further progress was, in 1884, stayed by the hand of death. Sufficient notes, however, were in existence to complete the work, and with these it is offered in its present form. " - Thomas Wiltshire, 2nd January 1886. Printed by J.E. Adlard, Bartholomew Close.
Zeuner , F.E. 1957. Insects from the Lower Lias. Preliminary Report in Lang, W.D. 1957. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 78, 30.
Zeuner, F.E. 1958. Lower Lias, Black Marls, Flatstones. Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, 79, 23.
Zeuner, F.E. 1962. Fossil insects from the Lower Lias of Charmouth, Dorset. Bulletin of the British Museum, Natural History (Geology), 7 (5), 153-171.
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Geological fieldwork involves some level of risk, which can be reduced by knowledge, experience and appropriate safety precautions. Persons undertaking field work should assess the risk, as far as possible, in accordance with weather, conditions on the day and the type of persons involved. In providing field guides on the Internet no person is advised here to undertake geological field work in any way that might involve them in unreasonable risk from cliffs, ledges, rocks, sea or other causes. Not all places need be visited and the descriptions and photographs here can be used as an alternative to visiting. Individuals and leaders should take appropriate safety precautions, and in bad conditions be prepared to cancell part or all of the field trip if necessary. Permission should be sought for entry into private land and no damage should take place. Attention should be paid to weather warnings, local warnings and danger signs. No liability for death, injury, damage to, or loss of property in connection with a field trip is accepted by providing these websites of geological information. Discussion of geological and geomorphological features, coast erosion, coastal retreat, storm surges etc are given here for academic and educational purposes only. They are not intended for assessment of risk to property or to life. No liability is accepted if this website is used beyond its academic purposes in attempting to determine measures of risk to life or property.
Disclaimer: Geological fieldwork involves some level of risk, which can be reduced by knowledge, experience and appropriate safety precautions. Persons undertaking field work should assess the risk, as far as possible, in accordance with weather, conditions on the day and the type of persons involved. In providing field guides on the Internet no person is advised here to undertake geological field work in any way that might involve them in unreasonable risk from cliffs, ledges, rocks, sea or other causes. Not all places need be visited and the descriptions and photographs here can be used as an alternative to visiting. Individuals and leaders should take appropriate safety precautions, and in bad conditions be prepared to cancell part or all of the field trip if necessary. Permission should be sought for entry into private land and no damage should take place. Attention should be paid to weather warnings, local warnings and danger signs. No liability for death, injury, damage to, or loss of property in connection with a field trip is accepted by providing these websites of geological information. Discussion of geological and geomorphological features, coast erosion, coastal retreat, storm surges etc are given here for academic and educational purposes only. They are not intended for assessment of risk to property or to life. No liability is accepted if this website is used beyond its academic purposes in attempting to determine measures of risk to life or property.
Webpage - written and produced by:
Ian West, M.Sc. Ph.D. F.G.S.