scotland Basalt columns on Staffa
October 14, 2014

In Celebration of Earth Science Week, Geological Society Of London Names Top 100 Geosites In The UK

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

As a part of the international recognition of Earth Science Week, the Geological Society of London in the United Kingdom has unveiled its list of the top 100 geological sites in the UK and Ireland.

Topping the list are several breathtaking sites on the British Isles, including the limestone-and-chalk Hunstanton Cliffs, the Assynt landscape in the Scottish Highlands, and the iconic Stonehenge.

The Society looked to the public for nominations, which led to over 400 suggested “geosites” – or any location “which highlights the importance of geology to our lives.”

The society pared down these suggestions to the final list of 100. In addition to numerous cliffs, caves and rock formations, the list also included sites with scientific or industrial significance. The final list divided geosites into ten categories: Landscape, Industrial and Economic Importance, Historical and Scientific Importance, Educational, Adventurous, Human Habitation, Coastal, Outcrops, Folding and Faulting and Fire and Ice.

Image Above: The iconic prehistoric monument Stonehenge, located in Wiltshire, England, was included in the Geological Society of London's list of the top 100 geological sites in the UK and Ireland. Credit: Thinkstock.com

"The list highlights the huge range of incredible geology the UK and Ireland have to offer," Rob Butler, a tectonics professor from the University of Aberdeen and chairman of the society's Geoconservation Committee, said in an interview with BBC News.

"From the Outer Hebrides to Cornwall, from rocks showing how the crust formed billions of years ago to young sediments pushed around by ice sheets a few thousand years ago, we are unique in having such a diverse geological heritage over a relatively small area,” Butler added.

One of the more unique sites on the list was the raised beach at Loch Tarbert. The tiered shoreline there was created by the growth and decay of ice sheets during the Quarternary Ice Age.

Another unique site on the list is Lyme Regis, which is known for the fossils discovered in its cliffs and on its beaches. Some of the earlier fossil discoveries, including some dinosaur remains, were made in this area, located in southwestern England.

From the Human Habitation category, Skara Brae is a geosite on the list that was home to Neolithic settlers. Located on Mainland, the largest island in Scotland’s Orkney archipelago, Skara Brae is comprised of eight homes and considered the most complete Neolithic village in all of Europe.

The Geological Society of London has marked Earth Science Week every year since 2011 and this year the society has gone with the theme of “Our Geo-Heritage.”

In addition to releasing the list of geosites, the society is also sponsoring a number of “geowalks” focused on the UK and Ireland’s geological history. Geowalks include trips to the quarry in Lickey Hills County Park, White Scar Caves and Glen Coe – a volcanic glen in Scotland.

The society is also unveiling its Geobingo game for 2014. The game encompasses 400 sites from the geosite campaign and works like regular bingo. Participants are asked to print out a bingo card from the society’s website. Then, participants must take selfies at the sites listed on their card to prove they were there. After completing a line of sites on the card, they can submit an entry to the geological society for the chance to win a weekly prize.

> Next Page - Celebrate Earth Science Week In The US With NASA And The American Geosciences Institute

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May we suggest - Stonehenge Complete (Fourth Edition) by Christopher Chippindale. For the fourth edition of this classic account, Christopher Chippindale has revised and expanded the story to include the most up-to-date theories and discoveries.

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