Category:10. Central England area

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Topographic sketch map of the Central England region showing major towns and cities. The region is identified on the inset map of the United Kingdom. P902247.

This account provides a broad perspective of the geology of Central England, which includes the counties of Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and the West Midlands, and parts of Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire. The major towns and cities include Chester, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, Derby, Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, Leicester, Peterborough and Northampton. Figure P902247 provides a geological sketch map of this region showing the rock types occurring in relation to the major towns and cities.

Central England has a varied scenery and landscape determined by the underlying geology. Large areas are relatively flat or rolling, lying at heights between 100 and 300 m. The lowest area is in the east where the fens are below 10 m. The region is drained by several major rivers including the Severn, Trent, Dee and Nene. There are many industrial areas originally based on coal mining, which came to prominence in the industrial revolution. Other resources extracted include rock salt, iron ore, gypsum, brick clay and aggregates. This account outlines the geology to a depth of at least a kilometre and summarises the current and historical use of the geological resources in the area.

The geology is well known near the surface as there are many quarries, shallow boreholes and mining areas. At greater depths, below about 250 m, our understanding relies heavily on deep boreholes going down to depths of about a kilometre. Boreholes drilled for water are spread across the region, however those drilled to greater depths to explore for coal and oil are clustered in the areas containing potential for those resources. In these areas geophysical exploration surveys have also been undertaken to provide information on the rocks by sending sound waves through the ground (seismic surveys). These surveys allow geologists to understand where the different rock types occur between the boreholes themselves, and so help us understand the deeper geological structure. Finally, regional geophysical surveys, carried out on land or by low flying aircraft, reveal patterns of the Earth’s gravity and magnetic field which also give us clues to the deep regional geological structure and these are especially useful where boreholes are lacking.

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