Category:Yorkshire rocks and landscape: a field guide

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Scrutton, Colin and Powell, John, Editors. Yorkshire rocks and landscape: a field guide. 2006. 3rd edition. Published by the Yorkshire Geological Society . Copyright Yorkshire Geological Society.

Geological history of Yorkshire

Field excursions

Lower Palaeozoic, Carboniferous and Quaternary

West and north

1 Lower Palaeozoic rocks of the Craven Inliers Eric Johnson

2 The Craven Fault Zone — Malham to Settle David Mundy and Russell Arthurton

3 Quaternary geology and geomorphology of the area around Kisdon, upper Swaledale James Rose

4 The North Swaledale Mineral Belt around Gunnerside Dick Ineson and Brian Young

5 The Carboniferous rocks of upper Nidderdale Albert Wilson

6 Dinantian and Namurian rocks of Bolton Abbey and Trollers Gill W. John Varker

7 The Millstone Grit of Almscliff Crag and Harlow Car, near Harrogate Ian Chisholm


8 The Carboniferous (Namurian and Westphalian) of the Cliviger Valley, Todmorden Paul Wignall and Paul Kabrna

9 The Upper Carboniferous of the Halifax area Brian Turner

10 Middle and Upper Carboniferous rocks (Millstone Grit and Coal Measures) of the Sheffield region Mike Romano and Martin Whyte

Post-Carboniferous and Quaternary


11 The Jurassic, Tertiary and Quaternary around Great Ayton and Roseberry Topping, Cleveland Hills John Senior and James Rose

12 The Quaternary features of Scugdale, northwest Cleveland Hills Donald Frost

13 The Permian and Carboniferous rocks of Knaresborough Anthony Cooper

14 The Permian rocks of south-central Yorkshire Denys Smith

15 Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks of the Market Weighton area Felix Whitham


16 The Lower Jurassic rocks between Staithes and Port Mulgrave Colin Scrutton

17 Lower–Middle Jurassic sequences between Whitby and Saltwick Martin Whyte and Mike Romano

18 Lower and Middle Jurassic rocks between Robin Hood's Bay and Hawsker Bottoms John Senior

19 The Middle–Upper Jurassic sequence between Cayton Bay and Yons Nab Martin Whyte and Mike Romano

20 Jurassic, Cretaceous and Quaternary rocks of Filey Bay and Speeton John Neale and John Catt

21 The Chalk of Flamborough Head Richard Myerscough

Geology in Yorkshire's museums Paul Ensom

Preface to the Third Edition

This field guide is mostly written and edited by members of the Yorkshire Geological Society. Publication of the Third Edition, which has been out of print for many years, was prompted by the successful publication of the Second Edition of the sister volume, Northumbrian Rocks and Landscape in 2004. The Third Edition includes minor revisions to the text, including logistical details since a number of the access routes and contact details have changed over the last decade. An appreciation of the British landscape and its underlying geology is becoming increasingly popular with walkers, naturalists and the general public, in addition to geologists who have always appreciated the link. We hope the new edition will encourage you to get out and explore the countryside with even greater enthusiasm.

The Yorkshire Geological Society wishes to thank the following for their financial support towards printing the Third Edition of the Guide: English Nature, especially Dr Jonathan Larwood; Dr C. T Scrutton; the late Dr. J. G. Capewell; and M. E. Broad of Cleveland Meat Co. Ltd. I should also like to thank Colin Scrutton, Editor of the original guide, for his help with the revisions to this edition. Thanks also go to the authors for their revisions to the text of the latest edition.

The Society has a long and distinguished history, having been founded in 1837. From small beginnings among amateurs with an interest in Yorkshire geology, it has grown to have influence well beyond the boundaries of the county and a membership of over 800 from all over the world. It brings together professional geologists of all descriptions, from universities, surveys and companies, together with amateur geologists who still form a significant proportion of our membership. The Society publishes a prestigious journal, the Proceedings, which has a major part of its original papers based on the geology of Yorkshire and northern England. The original aims of the Society are still observed in the lecture meetings held approximately monthly from October to March, and particularly in the programme of field excursions in the spring and summer months. The lectures are a mixture of original work, mainly on the geology of Yorkshire and northern England, and general reviews often of much wider scope. Field excursions range all over the region and offer an opportunity to demonstrate new observations and interpretations of the geology and geomorphology to beginners and professionals alike.

Many of you using this guide may already be members of the Yorkshire Geological Society. If you are not, and would like to know more about this fascinating subject, why don't you join us? We would be pleased to welcome you.

John Powell, President, Yorkshire Geological Society


In the choice of excursions, an attempt has been made to provide a broad coverage of Yorkshire both geographically and geologically. Whichever part of the county you are in, we hope there will be something to interest you. However, Yorkshire is a large place (defined here on its pre-1976 boundary), and to keep this book to a comfortable size a selection has had to be made from among its many sites of geological interest.

An introductory chapter outlines the geological history of the Yorkshire area, providing a framework for the details of the local geology. Each excursion begins with general information on the geology and/or geomorphology covered in the itinerary. Brief notes cover access, parking and walking distances, together with lists of useful Ordnance Survey (O.S.) and British Geological Survey (B.G.S.) maps. In many excursions the background information or itinerary includes notes on the historical exploitation of geological resources, and on other related matters. A section towards the end of the book lists museums in Yorkshire that have geological displays or collections.

All excursions have certain basic requirements for both safety and enjoyment. These include stout shoes or walking boots, sensible clothes and appropriate maps. On higher ground, it may be much colder and more windy than in the valleys, and low cloud may not just spoil appreciation of geological and geomorphological views of the landscape, but may present a danger if you become lost. On foreshores, wellington boots may be a suitable alternative but, whatever your footwear, wet rocks can be very slippery.

For more specific dangers, notes are given in the introductions to the relevant excursions. However, it is worth repeating some general points. In locations near quarry or cliff faces, a safety helmet should be worn. Always look at the state of steep faces and, if in doubt about their safety, do not approach them. When using a hammer, it is advisable to wear safety goggles and to make sure that fragments you chip off do not hit other people. In any coastal situation, the state of the tide may be crucial, not only to your view of the geology but to your safety. Always check on the time of low tide and do not start an excursion on a rising tide where access to and from the foreshore is limited.

Some excursions include visits to Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These are designated not only to conserve our geological heritage but also to protect other features such as the flora. Please observe any specific requests not to hammer rocks or collect fossils.

As far as possible, excursion routes follow public rights of way and keep to open land or the foreshore. Where localities are on private land, permission for access should be sought beforehand. We have given as much information as possible to facilitate this. In general, observe the Countryside Code and avoid damage to walls, gates or property. The Geologists Association have published a Code for Geological Field Work, which outlines good practice in the field and can be obtained from the Executive Secretary, The Geologists Association, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0DU.

We hope that anyone with an interest in geology and geomorphology will be able to follow the excursions in this guide. However the technical level does vary from one to another, depending on the character of the rocks and the complexity of the area. As an aid, a limited number of technical terms are highlighted in bold where first used in each Section and are briefly defined in a Glossary at the end of the book. For more information on any term, or for terms not covered in the Glossary, reference should be made to a geological dictionary (see Bibliography). Bibliographic entries are placed towards the end of the book and are mainly general works. A very few more specific references are included where these have value for a particular excursion.

Finally, we would like to thank all those who have helped us in the compilation of this guide, our colleagues on the Council of the Society for their advice, and the authors for their contributions.

Colin Scrutton, past President, Yorkshire Geological Society and John Powell, British Geological Survey.


The details of routes given in this guide do not imply a right of way. Users of this guide are responsible for seeking permission where necessary to use footpaths and for access to any private land.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this book is accurate and up-to-date. However, information on any changes to footpaths or exposures, or on threats to any S.S.S.I., would be welcomed by the Society.

Notes on safety have been included but it is the responsibility of the user to take all necessary precautions for their own safety and that of third parties. The Society takes no responsibility for any accident or injury sustained on any of these excursions.


Acadian Orogeny See orogeny.

adit More-or-less horizontal tunnel to mine.

agate Variety of quartz with distinctive concentric colour banding.

alga (pl. algae) Primitive plant-like organism. Some may secrete calcium carbonate and algal mats may play a role in sediment accumulation in some environments. See stromatolite.

ammonite Extinct Mesozoic marine ammonoid mollusc (cephalopod), secreting a chambered shell of calcium carbonate, usually planispirally coiled (See goniatite).

anhydrite CaSO4 White to grey, rock-forming evaporite mineral.

anticline See fold.

argillaceous Describing silt to clay-grade sediments (grains less than 0.0625 mm in diameter).

arkose Sand-grade rock containing 25% or more feldspar.

aurichalcite (Zn,Cu)5,(CO3)2,(OH)6, Bright turquoise-blue mineral in radiating aggregates of thin pearly crystals. A secondary mineral in oxidized zones of zinc and copper bearing veins.

azurite Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2 Deep azure blue mineral associated with the oxidized zone of copper deposits.

baryte/barytes BaSO4 Baryte is a colourless to white mineral, crystals commonly tabular, noticeably heavy. A common gangue mineral. Barytes is the commercial product.

barytocalcite BaCa(CO3)2 Colourless to white or pale cream mineral.

basalt Dark, often almost black, fine-grained volcanic rock, low in silica (no quartz) and relatively rich in iron, magnesium and calcium.

belemnite Extinct mollusc (cephalopod). Internal skeleton consists of a solid calcium carbonate bullet-shaped 'guard' (part usually preserved), with chambered structure (phragmocone) in conical cavity at one end.

benthonic (benthic) Describing bottom-living organisms. bioclastic Limestone composed of shells or skeletal fragments.

biostratigraphy Use of fossils to date and correlate rock sequences.

biostrome Sheet-like accumulation of fossil shells or skeletons.

bioturbation The destruction of primary structures (i.e. bedding) in an unconsolidated rock unit by burrowing organisms; hence bioturbated.

biozone Fundamental unit of biostratigraphy.

bivalve Marine to fresh-water mollusc in which the plane of symmetry of the bi-valved calcium carbonate shell is in the plane of opening of the two valves (as in cockles and mussels).

blastoid Extinct Palaeozoic stalked echinoderm with a bud-like theca showing distinct pentameral symmetry.

bornite Cu5FeS2 (peacock ore) Reddish-brown to purplish-blue mineral, iridescent on tarnished surfaces; crystals often rough cubes.

brachiopod Solitary marine animal with bi-valved calcite shell. The plane of symmetry is perpendicular to the plane of opening of the valves.

breccia Coarse clastic rock in which the clasts are angular. See also fault.

bryozoa Small colonial animal with a calcite skeleton consisting of large numbers of tiny tubular or box-like chambers. Colonial form very variable.

calcite CaCO3 Colourless or white mineral which is the main constituent of limestone. Crystals when formed (i.e. in veins) may be tabular or prismatic.

Caledonian Orogeny See orogeny.

carbonate rocks Limestones or dolostones (dolomites).

carnelian Reddish-white cryptocrystalline quartz.

chalcopyrite CuFeS2 (copper pyrites) Brass-yellow mineral with an iridescent tarnish. Most common copper mineral. Crystals usually tetrahedra.

chalk Very fine-grained, white to pale grey, carbonate rock principally formed of coccolith ooze. Characteristic of the European Upper Cretaceous.

chamosite (berthierine) (Fe5Al)(Si3Al)O10(OH)8 Greenish-black mineral often found in sedimentary iron ores. Berthierine is the primary deposit which is converted to chamosite at moderate temperatures and pressures.

chert Nodules, lenses or impersistent bands of cryptocrystalline quartz, usually black, grey or red in colour, usually of diagenetic origin in sedimentary sequences.

chronostratigraphy Arrangement of rock sequences in terms of time.

cinnabar HgS Most common mineral of mercury, scarlet to brownish red.

clast Rock fragment; hence clastic rock. The principal clastic rocks are distinguished on grain size thus: conglomerate >2 mm > sandstone > 0.0625 mm > siltstones >0.004 mm> mudstone/shale.

Clast fabric (imbrication) may indicate direction of water flow where platy/tabular casts lean in the direction of the current.

cleavage A close-spaced, regular fracture or fabric imposed on strongly-folded beds and best developed in weaker, fine-grained rocks.

coccolith Minute calcium carbonate plate or disc, usually less than 0.02 mm in diameter, part of the covering of a microscopic marine, planktonic, unicellular alga. Coccolith ooze is a major component of chalk.

cone-in-cone Fabric of adjacent sets of vertically nested cones, each about 3 cm or more in diameter, caused by precipitation of CaCO3 under pressure in a mud-grade rock.

concretion Spherical or ellipsoidal, resistant mass formed by local early cementation of the sediment.

conformable Sequence of rocks in apparently continuous succession.

conglomerate Coarse clastic rock in which the clasts are rounded. An intraformational conglomerate is one formed of locally derived clasts from a recently deposited source.

conodont A microscopic phosphatic, tooth-like fossil, part of the jaw apparatus of an extinct group of primitive vertebrates. Very useful in biostratigraphy.

coprolite Fossilised excreta.

coquina A (lenticular) bed consisting principally of shells.

coral A polyp or polyps (anemone-like) with a basal skeleton of calcium carbonate. Corals may be solitary or colonial, the latter varying from flat, tabular masses to clusters of branching tubes.

crinoid (sea lilies; feather stars) Echinoderm with a plated cup bearing feeding arms, supported in sea lilies by a stalk. The disc-shaped ossicles or columnals of the stalk are a major constituent of Palaeozoic limestones, hence crinoidal limestone.

cross-stratification, cross-bedding, cross-lamination Sedimentary structure in which the migration of the slip face of ripples, dunes or bars produces a series of inclined laminae (foresets) between sub-horizontal bedding surfaces. Different types are: planar, when the laminae are flat; trough, when the laminae are scoop-shaped; and hummocky, when individual sets of cross-beds cut across each other, leaving hummocky bounding surfaces.

cyclothem A sequence of beds, repeated again and again in vertical succession. Particularly notable in the Carboniferous.

dating, radiometric Rocks are dated by using the fixed rate of decay of parent isotopes of various radioactive elements to daughter products. The resulting age may be quoted with the parent isotope used, as in 'cC yrs', etc.

diagenesis The changes that take place in the conversion of a sediment to a rock.

diamicton An unsorted sediment with a mixture of larger clasts and a mud-grade matrix. Diamictite is the resulting rock.

dip The maximum angle of inclination of a planar surface, usually bedding. Measured in the vertical plane at right angles to the strike.

disconformity A break in the succession where the beds above and below are parallel.

disharmonic See fold.

dolomite CaMg(CO3)2 White, colourless, yellowish or brown mineral, in rhombic crystals with curved faces. Term also used for the characteristically brownish-yellow rock composed mainly of the mineral, but more correctly termed dolostone.

downthrow See throw.

drift Any superficial, unconsolidated sediments of the Quaternary.

drumlin Smooth, streamlined, oval mound of till (boulder clay), usually in groups (drumlin field or swarm), formed beneath an advancing ice sheet. The long axis of the drumlin is parallel to the direction of advance.

dyke More or less vertical, cross-cutting intrusion.

echinoderms Marine invertebrates including echinoids, crinoids, blastoids, starfish and brittle stars. Characterized by a fundamental pentameral symmetry.

echinoid (sea urchin) Echinoderms with body enclosed in a globular or discoidal test. Symmetry either pentameral radial (regular echinoids) or pentameral bilateral (irregular, burrowing, echinoids).

epicontinental On continental crust, as in epicontinental sea.

epiplanktonic Organism living in plankton by attachment to other planktonic organisms or floating objects.

erratic Glacially transported rock derived from outside the local area.

esker Long, sinuous, steep-sided ridge consisting of sands and gravels, formed either in an englacial tunnel or at the edge of a retreating ice sheet.

eustatic World-wide change in sea level.

evaporite Rock or mineral formed by precipitation of salts from natural brines by evaporation.

facies Features of a rock or rock sequence that reflect the environment of deposition.

fault A more or less planar fracture in a rock mass along which relative displacement of adjacent blocks has occurred. The hade is the inclination of the fault plane relative to the vertical. The face of the block above an inclined fault plane is the hanging wall, that below is the footwall. In most faults the direction of movement is known or assumed to be predominantly vertical. In a strike-slip or wrench fault, the direction of movement is predominantly horizontal. A thrust fault has a subhorizontal plane of displacement. Fractured rock on the fault plane caused by movement between adjacent blocks is a fault breccia.

feldspars Important group of rock-forming silicate minerals, common in igneous rocks and usually broken down quickly on weathering. Hence feldspathic.

fireclay See seatearth.

flat A lenticular zone of mineralization parallel to bedding.

flint A variety of cryptocrystalline quartz commonly present as grey or grey/black nodules and bands in chalk. It probably formed as a gel from organic silica (sponge spicules), and may fill or replace fossil tests, shells and burrows.

fluorite CaF2 Colourless to translucent yellow, green, blue or purple, more rarely red or black mineral commonly crystallizing in cubes. Fluorspar is the commercial product.

flute cast (flute mark) See sole structure.

fold A bend in bedded rocks or any planar rock mass. An anticline is arched upwards with older rocks in the core. A syncline is bent downwards with younger rocks in the core. An isoclinal fold has subparallel fold limbs. The dip of the fold axis is the plunge of the fold. Folds are disharmonic when they change shape and/or size when traced into adjacent beds.

footwall See fault.

foraminifera Microscopic single-celled organism with a chambered, usually calcium carbonate, test.

foresets See cross-stratification.

galena PbS Lead-grey mineral crystallizing in cubes and octahedra.

gangue Bulk mineral in veins, formerly of no commercial importance, with which ore minerals are associated (i.e. quartz, fluorite, baryte). ganister See seatearth.

garnet Silicate mineral of variable composition, often deep reddish-brown in colour, found in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

gastropod Mollusc with a usually helically coiled calcium carbonate shell (snail) or naked (slug).

gelifluctate Rock material derived from flow of water-saturated sheets of rock debris over perennially frozen ground (cold climate variety of solifluction).

glaciofluvial Sediments or landforms produced by meltwater from a glacier.

glauconite Silicate clay mineral, characteristically green, formed in some marine sediments.

gneiss Coarse-grained, banded rock formed under high-grade metamorphic conditions.

goniatite Palaeozoic ammonoid. Goniatites are the direct ancestors of the ammonites.

graben A linear tract of country, lowered between two bounding faults. A half-graben is fault-bounded on one side only.

graptolite Extinct group of marine, pelagic, colonial organisms with an organic skeleton.

gypsum CaSO4.2H2O Evaporite mineral, usually white, as tabular crystals or massive. A transparent variety (selenite) may be precipitated within sediments under some conditions.

gyttja Rapidly accumulated organic-rich muddy deposit.

hade See fault.

half-graben See graben.

halite (rock salt) NaCl Common salt, an evaporite mineral, usually white; crystals usually cubes.

hanging wall See fault.

hemimorphite (calamine) Zn4(Si2O7)(OH)2.H2O White, grey, green-brown or pale blue ore ofzinc, small tabular crystals but normally radial or earthy masses.

hummocky cross-stratification See cross-stratification.

igneous Rocks crystallized or solidified from a molten state.

inlier Area of older rocks surrounded by younger rocks.

intermontane basin Sedimentary basin being infilled from erosion of surrounding mountains.

interstadial A period of increased warmth or retreating ice between stadials.

intraclast Carbonate fragment derived from the erosion of a nearby sediment and redeposited within the same area.

joint Fracture in rock, usually occurring in more or less regularly spaced sets, along which little or no movement can be detected.

kame Steep-sided mound of bedded glaciofluvial sand and gravel associated with stagnant ice. A kame terrace is a continuous linear feature formed between an ice mass and a valley wall. Subsequent ice melt may result in signs of marginal slumping.

kettle hole Depression in glacial drift, possibly containing a lake, left by the melting of an included mass of ice.

lacustrine Sediments or processes associated with lakes.

laterite Crust of mainly hydrated iron and aluminium silicates produced by the weathering of certain rocks in tropical, humid conditions.

limonite FeO(OH).nH2O Yellowish-brown earthy mineral derived from the weathering of iron minerals in rocks.

lithology Physical features of a rock. Hence lithostratigraphy, the stratigraphic ordering of different rock types.

loess Unconsolidated, wind-deposited, mainly silt-grade sediment.

Ma Abbreviation for 'million years'.

magma A hot, liquid or semi-liquid melt within the Earth's crust; the source for all igneous rocks and processes.

malachite Cu2CO3(OH)2 Bright green mineral usually found in banded spheroidal aggregates. A common secondary mineral in oxidized zone of copper deposits.

marcasite FeS2 Pale bronze-yellow mineral, often occurring in spherical masses of radiating crystals in chalk.

marl A calcareous clay with 35–65% soft calcium carbonate.

meltwater channel Channel cut by the action of meltwater from a glacier or snow. Usually unrelated to the present drainage pattern.

mesothem An approximately 5 Ma cycle of eustatic rise and fall of sea level. In the Carboniferous, many cyclothems may form sequentially within a mesothem.

metamorphic Rock formed by the alteration of a pre-existing rock by changes in temperature and/or pressure.

mica One of a group of silicate minerals characterized by a platy habit.

microfossil Any fossil too small to be studied without a microscope.

mineral veins See veins.

mollusc One of a very diverse invertebrate group including the bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods (ammonites, goniatites, belemnites and orthocones) and scaphopods.

moraine An unsorted deposit of rock debris associated with the actions of a glacier.

nannofossil Extremely small fossil derived from nannoplankton, generally less than 0.05 mm in size, for example a coccolith.

non-sequence Any (usually) minor break in the rock sequence.

nunatak Rocky summit standing above a surrounding ice sheet during glaciation.

oncolite Spherical or sub-spherical particle, up to 50 mm in diameter, formed by the action of algae in trapping sediment on the surface of a mobile grain.

onlap See overlap.

ooid (oolith) Spherical to sub-spherical particle, less than 2 mm in diameter, formed by the concentric deposition of rings of (usually) calcium carbonate around a mobile grain.

oolite Rock formed largely of ooids. Characteristic of high-energy, shallow-water environments.

orogeny Process of mountain building by the lateral compression of thick rock sequences. The Caledonian Orogenic Cycle refers to a series of orogenic events in the Lower Palaeozoic of which the Acadian Orogeny (Lower Devonian) was the last. The Variscan Orogeny, whose main effects are seen in southwest England and Central Europe, spanned the late Devonian to late Carboniferous.

orthocone Extinct cephalopod mollusc with a straight, tapering, chambered shell.

outlier Area of younger rocks surrounded by older rocks.

overflow channel, spillway Channel carved by the overflow from an ice-dammed lake. Usually unrelated to the present drainage pattern.

overlap Relationship where successive beds of rock deposited by a transgression extend further than the one below, to rest in turn on (onlap) the surface of unconformity.

overstep Relationship where a bed deposited by a transgression rests on the eroded ends of several beds below the plane of unconformity.

paraglacial Subaerial processes acting on sediments and landforms produced by glaciation.

pelagic Organisms living in the body of the water, either floating (planktonic) or swimming (nektonic).

piedmont Tract of country at the foot of a mountain range.

pisolith Spherical to sub-spherical inorganic carbonate particle characterized by internal concentric lamination, usually several mm in diameter.

plate A part of the Earth's rigid outer shell (lithosphere), internally relatively free of earthquakes and volcanic activity but bounded by more or less continuous zones of earthquakes and volcanoes where the plates move against each other. Plate tectonics describes the processes and effects of plate motions and interactions.

plunge See fold.

pluton A large igneous intrusion.

progradation The outward extension of a sedimentary deposit, such as a delta building out from a shoreline.

pyrite FeS2 (fools gold) Common pale brass-yellow mineral, often crystallizing in cubes.

pyromorphite Pb5(PO4)3Cl Green, yellow or brown mineral, often with hollow prismatic or barrel-shaped crystals. A secondary mineral occurring in the oxidized zones of lead deposits.

quartz SiO2 Very common mineral, usually transparent or white but may be variously coloured. Occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks, is the main constituent of sandstones and siltstones and a common gangue mineral in veins.

regression Withdrawal of the sea from the land area due to a relative fall in sea level.

rock-salt See halite.

scaphopod Marine mollusc with a tusk-shaped hollow shell.

seatearth A fossil soil with root traces found immediately below a coal seam. A fireclay is a pure clay seatearth, whilst a ganister is a pure quartz sand seatearth.

selenite See gypsum.

septarian Nodules or concretions with a series of internal mineral-filled (usually calcite) cracks.

siderite FeCO3 Grey to grey-brown mineral widespread in certain sedimentary rocks, particularly sedimentary ironstone deposits and Coal Measures sequences.

siliciclastic Clastic rocks formed predominantly of quartz, other silicate minerals and rock fragments.

sill A tabular igneous intrusion, mainly concordant with bedding, although it may cut across beds from one level to another.

slickensides A lineation on a fault or bedding plane caused by the relative movement of rock masses on either side. The surface is often coated by fibrous crystals, usually of quartz or calcite, aligned in the direction of movement.

smithsonite (calamine) ZnCO3 Grey, brown or greyish-white mineral, usually occurring as spherical aggregations or stalactitic masses.

sole structure Sedimentary structure cut into an underlying mudstone by a turbidity current and infilled by the overlying turbidite bed. Preserved as a cast on the base of the turbidite. Flute cast (mark): ovoid scoop-shaped structure caused by turbulent water flow, preserved as a lobe on the base of the turbidite.

solifluction Downhill movement of surface layer of unconsolidated weathered material when saturated by water.

sphalerite (blende) ZnS Commonly a brown or black mineral with a resinous lustre and variable form. Most common ore for zinc.

spillway General term for meltwater or overflow channels.

sponge Primitive invertebrates with an often asymmetrical body supported by spongin and/or siliceous or calcareous spicules.

S.S.S.I. Site of Special Scientific Interest.

stadial A period of increased cold or advancing ice.

strike Intersection of a bedding plane, or other planar surface, with the horizontal.

strike-slip See fault.

stromatolite A carbonate rock with a fine horizontal, domal or columnar banding, reflecting the control of deposition by an algal mat or microbial community living on the surface of the sediment.

strontionite SrCO3 White to pale green, grey or pale yellow mineral, usually with prismatic or needle-like crystals.

stylolite An irregular, suture-like contact, most common in limestones, produced by solution of the rock under high pressure.

subduction The process whereby oceanic crust descends into the interior of the Earth beneath oceanic or continental crust at a convergent plate margin.

syncline See fold.

tectonic Caused by deformation of rock masses, as in mountain-building episodes.

tholeiitic basalt A type of basalt oversaturated in silica, so that small amounts of quartz are present.

throw Description of vertical component of movement on a fault plane. Downthrow emphasises the relative downward displacement ofa block on one side of the fault, upthrow (less commonly used) emphasizes the relative upward displacement of a block.

thrust See fault.

till (boulder clay) Collective term for the group of unsorted sediments laid down by direct action of ice.

trace fossil A structure, such as a burrow or a grazing trail, resulting from the activity of an animal.

transgression An advance of the sea over the land, caused by a relative rise in sea level.

tufa Rock formed by the deposition of calcium carbonate (more rarely silica) as a sometime porous and/or banded mass around saline springs, or associated with stalactites and stalagmites.

turbidite Rock deposited from a turbidity current, a fast-flowing current charged with a high sediment load, initiated by the disturbance of soft sediment on a slope. A turbidite is poorly sorted but may show grading and sole structures on its base.

unconformity Surface of contact between two groups of rocks resulting from the tilting or folding and erosion of the lower group (often in an orogenic event) before the deposition of the upper group.

Variscan Orogeny See orogeny.

vein A fracture, usually sub-vertical, which is mineralized, often with quartz or calcite. A mineral vein implies the presence of ore minerals.

witherite BaCO3 A white or grey mineral, crystals six-sided prisms and pyramids. Notably heavy.

Yoredale Name applied to repeat cycles of limestone-shale-sandstone(-seatearth-coal) (cyclothems) in the Carboniferous (Dinantian, early Namurian), derived from the old name for Wensleydale, where they are typically developed.



Boardman, J. (ed.) 1985. Field Guide to the Periglacial landforms of northern England. 82pp. Quaternary Research Association, Cambridge.

Ellis, S. (ed.) 1987. East Yorkshire Field Guide. vi+ 1 16pp. Quaternary Research Association, Cambridge.

Hemingway, J. E., Wilson, V. & Wright, C. W. 1968. Geology of the Yorkshire coast. Guide No. 34. 47pp. The Geologists' Association.

Kent, P. E. 1980. Eastern England from the Tees to The Wash. British Regional Geology. 2nd edn, vii+155pp. HMSO, London.

Rawson, P. F. and Wright, J. K. (eds) 1992. The Yorkshire Coast. Geologists' Association Guide No.34. 2nd edn, 1 7pp. PSS Group, Ongar.

Rayner, D. E. and Hemingway, J. E. (eds) 1974. The geology and mineral resources of Yorkshire. ix+405pp. Yorkshire Geological Society.

Reference works

Allaby, A. and Allaby, M. 1990. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Earth Sciences. xxi+ 410pp. OUP, Oxford.

British Museum (Natural History) 1975. British Palaeozoic Fossils. 4th edn. 203pp. London.

British Museum (Natural History) 1975. British Caenozoic Fossils. 5th edn. 132pp. London.

British Museum (Natural History) 1983. British Mesozoic Fossils. 6th edn. 209pp. London.

Hamilton, W. R., Woolley, A. R. & Bishop, A. C. 1992. Minerals, rocks and fossils. 320pp. Hamlyn, London.

Roberts, J. L. 1989. Field guide to geological structures. 250pp. Macmillan, London.

Schumann, W. 1985 (1992) Rocks, minerals and gemstones. 380pp. HarperCollins, London.


Only works quoted in the text are listed here. Further articles on various aspects of the geology and geomorphology ofYorkshire may be found particularly in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society as well as in many other journals, British Geological Survey Memoirs, and Geologists' Association guides.

Arthurton, R. S., Johnson, E. W. & Mundy, D. J. C. 1988. Geology of the country around Settle. Memoir of the British Geological Survey, Sheet 60 (England and Wales), ix+ 147pp. HMSO, London.

Boardman J. (ed.) 1981. Field Guide to eastern Cumbria. 128pp. Quaternary Research Association, London.

Bristow, C. S. and Best, J. M. (eds) 1993. Braided Rivers: Form and Processes. Geological Society Special Publication.

Chisholm, J. I. 1981. Growth faulting in the Almscliff Grit (Namurian EI) near Harrogate, Yorkshire. Transactions of the Leeds Geological Association, 9, 5, 61–70.

Cooper, A. H. and Burgess, I. C. 1993. Geology of the country around Harrogate. Memoir of the British Geological Survey, Sheet 62 (England and Wales), xii & 106 pp. HMSO, London.

Cope, J. C. W., Ingham, J. K. & Rawson, P. F. (eds) 1992. Atlas of palaeogeography and lithofacies. Geological Society Memoir No. 13, 153pp, 106 maps.

de Boer G., Neale, J. W. & Penny, L. F. 1958. A guide to the geology of the area between Market Weighton and the Humber. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 31, 157–209.

Dunham, K. C. and Wilson, A. A. 1985. Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield. Vol. 2. Stainmore to Craven. Economic Memoir of the British Geological Survey, 247pp. HMSO, London.

Ehlers, J. Gibbard, P. L. & Rose, J. (eds) 1991. Glacial Deposits in Great Britain and Ireland. 580pp. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Howarth, M. K. 1962. The Jet Rock Series and the Alum Shale Series of the Yorkshire Coast. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 33, 381–422.

Lewis, D. (ed) 1991. The Yorkshire Coast. Normandy Press, Beverley, N. Humberside.

Milsom, J. and Rawson, P. F. 1989. The Peak Trough — a major control on the geology of the North Yorkshire coast. Geological Magazine, 126, 699–705.

Pounder, E. J. 1989. Classic Landforms of the Northern Dales. 28pp. Geographical Association, Sheffield.

Raistrick, A. 1975. The lead industry of Wensleydale and Swaledale. Vol. 1. The Mines. 120pp. Moorland Publishing Co. Ltd., Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Romano, M. and Whyte, M. A. 2003. Jurassic dinosaur tracks and trackways of the Cleveland Basin, Yorkshire: preservation, diversity and distribution. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society', 54, 185–215.

Rose, J. 1980. Landform development around Kisdon, upper Swaledale, Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 43, 201–219.

Rose, J. 1985. The Dimlington Stadial/Dimlington Chronozone: a proposal for naming the main glacial event of the Late Devensian in Britain. Boreas, 14, 225–230.

Rose, J. and Mitchell, W. A. 1989. Quaternary geology of upper Swaledale and adjoining regions: field meeting report. Mercian Geologist, 11, 275–283.

Scotese, C. R. and McKerrow, W. S. 1990. Revised World maps and introduction. In McKerrow, W. S. & Scotese, C. R. (eds) Palaeozoic palaeogeography and biogeography. Geological Society Memoir No. 12, 1–21.

Whitham, F. 1991. The stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous Ferriby, Welton and Burnham formations north of the Humber, northeast England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 48, 227–254.

Whyte, M. A. and Romano, M., 1993. Footprints of a sauropod dinosaur from the middle Jurassic of Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 104, 195–199.

Wright, C. W. and Wright, E. V. 1942. The Chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 53, 112–127.

Wright, J. K. 1968. The Stratigraphy of the Callovian Rocks between Newtondale and the Scarborough Coast, Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 79, 363–399.

Young, B. 1987. Uncommon Pennine Minerals. Part 1. Aurichalcite in the Yorkshire and Cumbria Pennines. Part 2. Strontianite from the Yorkshire Pennines. Transactions of the Leeds Geological Association, 11(2–3), 25–40.

Collections and collectors

Hartley, M. M., Norris, A., Pettitt, C. W., Riley, T. H., & Stier, M. A. (1987) Register of Natural Science Collections in Yorkshire and Humberside. Area Museum and Art Gallery Service for Yorkshire and Humberside.

Nudds, J. R. (ed. on behalf of the Geological Curators' Group) (1994) Directory of British Geological Museums. Geological Society of London Miscellaneous Paper No. 18. This provides significantly more detail for some of the larger museums in the region.

At all times follow: Countryside code and Code of conduct for geological field work

Pages in category ‘Yorkshire rocks and landscape: a field guide’

The following 22 pages are in this category, out of 22 total.