Scarborough Strata #1

Copyright Tony Bartholomew

Copyright Tony Bartholomew

Owner and Director of Hidden Horizons, Will Watts, has started a regular monthly piece in the Scarborough Review newspaper.  ‘Scarborough Strata’ will look at different aspects of the geology of the area around Scarborough and perhaps further afield too. The column will be re-produced on this blog the month after it is printed in the newspaper. If you have any feedback or ideas for future pieces please do get in touch.

Welcome to the first in a new regular article that will explore the geological history of Scarborough and the surrounding area. Each month we will take a look at a piece of the world famous geology that helps make our coastline so special, this will range from an entire landscape to a single rock or fossil or a combination of these. Firstly I should introduce myself, I have lived in Scarborough for the last twelve years and until 2013 worked for the museums in the Town. As a geologist I was lucky enough to work on the 2008 redevelopment of the Rotunda Museum, and prior to that I ran the Dinosaur Coast project. Having spent my childhood living in and around the North York Moors National Park the coastline has always played an important part in my life, starting with fossil hunting trips for birthdays as a young lad. That fascination has never left me.

So why ‘Scarborough Strata’? The word strata is one of the terms used by geologists to describe a layer of rock, it is also a word that will feature a lot in 2015 as we celebrate an important geological anniversary. Two hundred years ago, William ‘Strata’ Smith, the Father of English Geology, published the first geology map of England and Wales, we will take a proper look at the map in a future article, but a replica of the map is on display at the Rotunda Museum. Smith was instrumental in the setting up of the Rotunda Museum which was built in 1829 by the Scarborough Philosophical Society, to whom we will also return, but to whet your appetite for future articles I want to leave you with a quote from Smiths nephew, Professor John Phillips written in 1825 ‘Scarborough’s Castle Hill is surely the finest spot for a geologist that the whole earth contains’, a sentiment that it is hard to argue with.

First produced in the Issue 18 of the Scarborough Review. 

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