Friday, 5 November 2010

Flamborough Head - August 2010

Well, it's taken a while, but I finally persuaded Anna to download the photographs she took on our brief visit to Flamborough Head while on holiday in Lincolnshire back in early August.

So, Flamborough Head is located off the east coast of England, north-east of the coastal town of Bridlington. My family and I started this particular day with a visit to the rather disappointingly sad spectacle of Scarborough, a place which rather reminded me of Blackpool 'up north' - all a bit run down and desperately trying to return to it's former glory days of the fifties and sixties. I kinda felt that these types of seaside holiday resort need to reinvent themselves somehow. The days of donkey rides and 'Kiss me Quick' hats are long gone I think!

Anyway, our detour to Flamborough was the highlight of the day - for me at least! For those wishing to visit, there is plenty of parking space available near the lighthouse and access to the chalk cliffs is possible down some scarily steep and slightly uneven steps, but it's worth the effort, trust me!

'Yours truly' with the stacks and cliffs of Upper Cretaceous chalk at Flamborough Head

The photo of me was taken by this lovely person, my step-daughter Anna-Ruth. The equally lovely Amy, her younger sister, declined the opportunity to descend the steep steps and stayed up top with her mum!

Anna-Ruth by the way, studied for a GCSE in Geography virtually on her own. The teaching for this subject seemed pretty rubbish in truth, so it's to her enormous credit that she passed it so well! On our walk down the steps (see later photo!) she proudly pointed to the stack and told me all about its formation, so there's definitely a potential geologist deep within her! She currently has her heart set on drama, but you never know!
Now here's a thought . . . she could forget drama and do a Geology degree instead! We could even study at the same time on the same course? How cool would that be? Actually, to the average teenager, that would probably be the most embarrassing thing ever! In a classroom with their 'old man'!?! OMG!!!

'Nature' - the worlds greatest sculpter!

Anyway, I digress. The most striking thing about Flamborough is the distinctly layered chalk cliffs and their associated features. The great accumulation of tiny, fossilised sea life that make up this rock took place some 70 - 90 million years ago. The classic stack shown above, formed comparatively quickly over thousands of years. Constant battering of the now exposed rock by the waves, erodes weak areas in the rock eventually creating caves. Where this occurs on an area jutting out into the sea the cave will eventually break through to form an arch. With further erosion the roof can collapse to form an isolated lump of rock - the stack shown above.

Another view of the stack, chalk cliffs and glacial till above.

Above the chalk cliffs lies a layer of glacial till which is a layer of deposits left behind by a glacier during the last ice age.

I have since learnt that there is a fine example of an arch here, I think on the far right  in the above photo, though from our view point we couldn't see through it!

Layered chalk cliff at Flamborough Head.

See what I mean? Scary steps, but solid and safe enough!

Okay, now this is where I need some help. Maybe in 'x' years time after I've actually done my geology degree, the answer to this will be more obvious, but I am currently a bit puzzled by this photo. Throughout the cliffs, the chalk layers are either horizontal or dipping about 10 degrees or so. Here however, at the bottom of the steps there is this section which seems to fold upwards as can be seen at lower right of the photo. At the upper middle of the photo the beds are at about 80 degrees from horizontal! So whats gone on here? Seems a quite localised fold that's quite out of step with the surrounding features!?! Answers on a postcard to . . . .

Me looking for fossils but not finding anything significant - or even insignificant for that matter!

Beautiful! Anna obviously, not the layered chalk and dipping beds! Obviously!

So there you have it. The geological delight that is Flamborough Head - go visit next time you are on the east coast!

Cheers for now,


  1. I don't think I have any plans to become a geologist, although I do find parts interesting I'm not that passionate about it :P
    I wouldn't be bothered by the studying in the same classroom as you though, chances are I'd rather talk to you than anyone my age which I'm sure you know anyway.
    Well done for getting all the pictures on finally!
    Anna xxx

  2. As if I'd ever think you would give up your potential performing career in favour of Geology! With your voice, that would be a bit of a waste m'dear! Alyn xxx


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