The Real Jurassic Park: Geological Explorations in Southwest England
University of Washington, Tacoma
TESC 417: Summer 2006
The Real Jurassic Park: Geology field course along the south coast of England (TESC 417)
July 31, 2006--We reluctantly checked out of Lesson House as we were pretty sure this lodging, along with their great staff, would be hard to replace. Reluctant as we were, we knew
the routine by this time, especially since we had a volunteer captain to keep up on target. So, up at 7:00 a.m., breakfast at 8:00 a.m., we said our goodbyes and
were on the road again. We would head for our new home-away-from-home and stop at Portland, Tout Quarry and Chesil Beach on the way.
The Isle of Portland is a peninsula of stone and has a long history of quarrying. Tout Quarry is located in the northern part the Isle of Portland and is known for its interesting sculptures made from the local stone. We had fun
searching for hidden sculptures. It was one of the first cultural quarries for art scupture and in 1983 a trust was formed. On-site artists sculpt the stone and hold workshops.
Brieanna and Lisa taking a break at Tout Quarry--Isle of Portland
Synopsis of Area:
The stone that makes up the Isle of Portland is one of the most famous building stones in the world. This fine white limestone was used as early as the Roman times and has
been used in many of England's fine cathedrals and palaces such as Buckingham Palace and St. Paul's Cathedral. The first area to be quarried was the east coast where
there were landslides. Next to be quarried was the northern end of the island at Portland Bill. (Brunsden, 44-45)
At Portland Bill, a good part of the overlying Portland Freestone was quarried away in the 1800s which left the lower and less resistant cliffs. The Portland Stone cliffs are
made of oolitic limestone and contain ammonites, gastropods and bivalves. These were deposited in the late Jurassic sea, approximately 150 million
years ago. (West, Portland Bill)
The Portland Limetone, named after this area, was actually a better
building stone than Purbeck stone. It was laid down during the Jurassic period in a marine, sub-tropical, shallow, warm environment. You will see that the stone is grainy
with calcite crystals; the small round balls embeded are called ooids and are cemented together by calcite. (Lecture by Sian Davies-Vollum, 7/31/06)
Heidi's find at the Tout Quarry
We arrived at Portland Bill to some strong, gusty winds and wonderful panoramic views of the sea. From the beach cliffs, we drove inland a bit to the Tout Quarry. Our
assignment for the morning was to search for hidden sculptures that the local artists had created on the grounds. We were to put ourselves in the shoes of one of the artists and
make a connection with their sculpture. We were then to imagine that we were the artist and come up with a story about why we made the piece. It was a fun hunt and everyone had a sucessful
search. We created stories to match the wonderful imaginations of the artists and these photos tell the story.
Lisa, Jeanine and Alison--what a find!
Raquel and Jenny find a sleeper!
Nels and Gus--trying to decide if it's a fossil or not??
Links to Related Projects:
From the Global to the Local: Environmental Art and the Creative Process Within. By Daniel Podrasky
Geology and Tourism on the South England Coast. By Jenny Ripatti
Holy Architecture!: Cathedrals, Abbeys, and Parish Churches of Southwest England. By Lisa Green
World Heritage: Conservation Efforts in the United Kingdom and Ireland. By Jeanine Riss
Geology, Landscapes, and Land Use of Dorset and East Devon. By Angus Leger
Other Related Links:
Geology of the Wessex Coast, Southern England by Ian West
References and Acknowledgements:
-- Brunsden, Denys. The Official Guide to the Jurassic Coast, Dorset and East Devon Cost World Heritage Site. Coastal Publishing. Wareham, England, 2003.
-- Dorset: Coast and Countryside, Historic Towns and Villages. J. Salmon, Sevenoaks, Kent, 2006.
-- Detail Map: 2006 Multimap.com. September 2, 2006. http://www.multimap.com
-- Dorset County Council (2006). Jurassic Coast. September 22, 2006. http://www.jurassiccoast.com/index.jsp
-- West, Ian (2005) Portland Bill - Dorset. Geology of the Wessex Coast of Southern England. September 9, 2006. http://www.soton.ac.uk/~imw/portbill.htm