Carboniferous: blocks, basins and sedimentary cyclicity, Northern England

From Earthwise
Revision as of 14:54, 5 May 2016 by Dbk (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
From: Stone, P, Millward, D, Young, B, Merritt, J W, Clarke, S M, McCormac, M and Lawrence, D J D. 2010. British regional geology: Northern England.
Fifth edition. Keyworth, Nottingham: British Geological Survey.


Rocks of Carboniferous age underlie about three-quarters of the Northern England region, either at outcrop or concealed by later beds. They are lithologically varied and accumulated in a range of depositional environments: marine, paralic, deltaic and terrestrial. Early in Carboniferous times, rapidly subsiding, fault-controlled, extensional basins developed between structurally elevated, emergent blocks. The variation in the thickness of lower Carboniferous strata throughout northern England reflects the close association between sedimentation and the widespread contemporaneous faulting. Syndepositional folding, related to dextral movement on some of the major faults, developed from late in Visean times. By the end of the Visean, thermal relaxation was also driving crustal subsidence, resulting in the gradual submergence of the distinctive block-and-basin regional topography, and the depositional onlap of the earlier structural highs.

Although subsidence was influenced by the broad pattern of structures established early in the Carboniferous, it interacted with eustatic changes in sea level, so that cyclical sedimentation patterns became a general feature of the Carboniferous successions. Throughout the period, the principal rock types of limestone, mudstone, sandstone, seatearth and coal succeed each other in a regular pattern of cyclothems, repeated at different scales and with varying degrees of complexity. Individual rock types within each cyclothem reflect changing environmental and depositional conditions. A particularly well-developed and distinctive cyclic succession built up during the late Visean to early Namurian interval and is commonly referred to as the ‘Yoredale facies’.

Stratigraphical principles
Depositional controls
Northern ‘Dinantian’ successions
Southern ‘Dinantian’ successions
Yoredale Group, Visean to Namurian
Pennine Coal Measures Group, Westphalian
Westphalian stratigraphy
Warwickshire Group


Arthurton, R S, Gutteridge, P, and Nolan, S C (editors). 1989. The Role of Tectonics in Devonian and Carboniferous Sedimentation in the British Isles. Occasional Publication of the Yorkshire Geological Society, No. 6.

Barclay, W J, Riley, N J, and Strong, G E. 1994. The Dinantian rocks of the Sellafield area, West Cumbria. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 50, 37–49.

Bott, M H P, Swinburne, P M, and Long, R E. 1984. Deep structure and origin of the Northumberland and Stainmore troughs. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 44, 479–495.

Burgess, I C. 1986. Lower Carboniferous sections in the Sedbergh district, Cumbria. Transactions of the Leeds Geological Association, Vol. 11, 1–23.

Calver, M A. 1968. Distribution of Westphalian marine faunas in Northern England and adjoining areas. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 37, 1–72.

Cleal, C J, and Thomas, B A. 1996. British Upper Carboniferous Stratigraphy. Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 11. (Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.)

Cossey, P J, Adams, A E, Purnell, M A, Whiteley, M J, Whyte, M A and Wright, V P. 2004. British Lower Carboniferous Stratigraphy. Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 29. (Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.)

Dickson, J A D, Ford, T D, and Swift, A. 1987. The stratigraphy of the Carboniferous rocks around Castletown, Isle of Man. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 46, 203–229. 268

Fairbairn, R A. 2001. The stratigraphy of the Namurian Great/Main Limestone on the Alston Block, Stainmore Trough and Askrigg Block of northern England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 53, 265–274.

Fielding, C R. 1984. A coal depositional model for the Durham Coal Measures of North East England. Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 141, 917–931.

Fraser, A J, and Gawthorpe, R L. 2003. An Atlas of Carboniferous Basin Evolution in Northern England. Geological Society of London, Memoir, No. 28.

Garwood, E J. 1913. The Lower Carboniferous succession in the north-west of England. Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 68 (for 1912), 449–586.

Guion, P D, Fulton, I M, and Jones, N S. 1995. Sedimentary facies of the coal-bearing Westphalian A and B north of the Wales–Brabant High. 45–78 in European Coal Geology. Whateley, M K G, and Spears, D A (editors). Geological Society of London Special Publication, No. 82.

Heckel P H, and Clayton, G. 2006. Use of the new official names for the Subsystems, Series and Stages of the Carboniferous System in international Journals. Correspondence. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Vol. 117, 393–396.

Johnson, G A L. 1984. Subsidence and sedimentation in the Northumberland Trough. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 45, 71–83.

Johnson, G A L, and Dunham, K C. 1963. The geology of Moor House. Nature Conservancy Monograph, No. 2. (London: HMSO.)

Johnson, G A L, and Nudds, J R. 1996. Carboniferous biostratigraphy of the Rookhope Borehole, Co. Durham. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, Vol. 86, 181–226.

Jones, N S, and Holliday, D W. 2006. The stratigraphy and sedimentology of Upper Carboniferous Warwickshire Group red-bed facies in the Canonbie area of SW Scotland. British Geological Survey Internal Report, IR/06/043.

O’Mara, P T, and Turner, B R. 1999. Sequence stratigraphy of coastal alluvial plain Westphalian B Coal Measures in Northumberland and the southern North Sea. International Journal of Coal Geology, Vol. 42, 33–62.

Owens, B, and Burgess, I C. 1965. The stratigraphy and palynology of the Upper Carboniferous outlier of Stainmore, Westmorland. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, Vol. 23, 17–44.

Reynolds, A D. 1992. Storm, wave and tide-dominated sedimentation in the Dinantian Middle Limestone Group, Northumbrian Basin. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 49, 135–148.

Rippon, J H. 1996. Sand body orientation, palaeoslope analysis, and basin fill implications in the Westphalian A–C of Great Britain. Journal of the Geological Society of London, Vol. 153, 881–900.

Rippon, J H. 1998. The identification of syndepositionally active structures in the coalbearing Upper Carboniferous of Great Britain. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 52, 73–93.

Rowley, C R. 1969. The stratigraphy of the Carboniferous Middle Limestone Group of West Edenside, Westmorland. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 37, 329–350.

Smith, T E. 1968. The Upper Old Red Sandstone–Carboniferous junction at Burnmouth, Berwickshire. Scottish Journal of Geology, Vol. 4, 349–354.

Tucker, M E, Gallagher, J, Lemon, K, and Leng, M. 2003. The Yoredale Cycles of Northumbria: High-Frequency Clastic-Carbonate Sequences of the Mid-Carboniferous Icehouse World. Open University Geological Society Journal, Vol. 24, 5–10.

Turner, B R, Younger, P L, and Fordham, C E. 1993. Fell Sandstone Group lithostratigraphy south-west of Berwick-upon-Tweed: implications for the regional development of the Fell Sandstone. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Vol. 49, 269–281.

Ward, J. 1997. Early Dinantian evaporites of the Easton-1 well, Solway Basin, onshore, Cumbria, England. 277–296 in Petroleum Geology of the Irish Sea and Adjacent Areas. Meadows, N S, and others (editors). Geological Society of London Special Publication, No. 124.

Waters, C N, Browne, M A E, Dean, M T, and Powell, J H. 2007. Lithostratigraphical framework for Carboniferous successions of Great Britain (Onshore). British Geological Survey Research Report, RR/07/01.