The geological history of the Isle of Wight : an overview of the ‘diamond in Britain's geological crown’

Hopson, Peter. 2011 The geological history of the Isle of Wight : an overview of the ‘diamond in Britain's geological crown’. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 122 (5). 745-763.

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The geology of the Isle of Wight has attracted both the amateur and professional geologist alike for well over two centuries. It presents a cornucopia of things geological and offers a window into the fascinating story of the geological history and landscape development of southern England, as well as an important teaching resource for all levels of study from primary education through to academic research. This paper provides a geological framework and a summary of the history of research as context for the papers in this issue can be placed. Inevitably, it can only offer a précis of the huge amount of information available, but it is hoped will also give added impetus to further investigation of the literature or, indeed, new research. The island offers a field workshop for topics such as lithostratigraphy, sequence stratigraphy, tectonics and climate change; studies that are becoming ever more international in their influence. There are 15 Sites of Special Scientific Interest designated because of their geological importance and a number of these are internationally significant. After a brief discussion on the concealed geology, this paper concentrates on an outline of the near-surface geology on the coast and inland, and introduces a different view on the structure of the Cretaceous and Palaeogene strata. The enigmatic Quaternary deposits are discussed particularly with reference to the development of the Solent River, human occupation and climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Geology and Landscape (England)
ISSN: 0016-7878
Date made live: 30 Nov 2011 10:35 +0 (UTC)

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