Mendip Hills: Geology and Landforms.

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Presentation by Professor Simon Haslett at the University of the Third Age Mendip Hills Study Day at Draycott, Somerset, on 1st March 2012.

Simon Haslett is Professor of Physical Geography and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales.

The talk is based on extracts from S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books. Available from:
https://sites.google.com/site/blackbarnbooks/publications/somerset-landscapes-geology-and-landforms

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Mendip Hills: Geology and Landforms.

  1. 1. The Mendip Hills: Geology and Landforms Professor Simon Haslett Presented at the University of the Third AgeMendip Hills Study Day, Draycott, 1st March 2012
  2. 2. Somerset Landscapes
  3. 3. Somerset GeologyFrom: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  4. 4. Geological TimescaleFrom: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  5. 5. Palaeozoic Geology of MendipFrom: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  6. 6. Tectonic settingVariscan Orogeny (also known as the Hercynian or ArmoricanOrogeny).From: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  7. 7. Mendip AnticlineFrom: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books.
  8. 8. Chew Valley Syncline
  9. 9. Silurian Fossils e.g. Beacon Hill • Deposited in a shallow marine setting. • Warm subtropical waters. • Continental drift implication.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  10. 10. Old Red Sandstone • Deposited in a delta setting within an arid environment. • Implications for continental drift.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books.
  11. 11. From: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books. • Deposited in a shallow marine setting. • Warm tropical waters. • Chemical precipitation and dissolution. • Continental drift implications. Carboniferous Limestone
  12. 12. Western MendipRounded profile to the Mendip Hills.Flat core to steep flanks.Little surface drainage.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books. Shute Shelve Hill
  13. 13. Axe Valley and Inliers• Flanks of the Mendip Hills – an ancient feature.• Mendip inliers can be seen.• Jurassic beaches occur on its flanks.• Jurassic sediments infill fissures in Carboniferous Limestone. From: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  14. 14. Knowle Hill Inlier • Indicate southern limit of Mendip Hills. • Older Carboniferous surrounded by Jurassic. • Clues to the age of the Axe and other valleys. • Complex landscape evolution and history.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books.
  15. 15. Permo-Trias Dolomitic Conglomerate River Sheppey, CroscombeFrom: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  16. 16. Mining landscape at Priddy• Hot water rising from earth’s interior guided by the anticline structure.• Introduced hydrothermal minerals.• First phase – Carboniferous• Economically important: lead, zinc and iron ores.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  17. 17. Jurassic on Mendip Plateau • Second phase – silica-rich water. • Silicified Jurassic Harptree Beds on top of the centre of the Mendip Hills.From: S. K. Haslett (2010) Somerset Landscapes: Geology and Landforms. Blackbarn Books.
  18. 18. Brean Down• Where the Mendip Hills meet the sea.• Steepholm and Flatholm in Bristol Channel.• Extends to South Wales – rim of the coalfield syncline. From: S. K. Haslett (2010) SomersetLandscapes: Geology and Landforms.Blackbarn Books.
  19. 19. Thank you• Economic exploitation.• Limestone quarrying.• E.g. Torr Quarry Photo by Dr John Robb.• Further Reading:

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