The Chalk of Sussex and Kent


Geologists’ Association Guide No 57

By Rory N Mortimore

This was the first GA guide I ever bought, and I suspect it is still the best. My copy is more than well-thumbed and water-damaged, through many a happy trip to the south of England to collect, what a friend describes as “white fossils in white rock”.

I don’t share his lack of enthusiasm, as I think that collecting from, and understanding, the not homogenous and not uniform chalk are fascinating things to do and the south (with relatively soft rock) is one of the best place to do so in the world.

In this way, The Chalk of Sussex and Kent uses eight itineraries to illustrate what was extremely new work in 1997 on the Chalk, especially its stratigraphy, sedimentology and tectofacies. Each is designed to illustrate the evidence that suggests that the underlying tectonic structure influenced chalk sedimentation history. Evidence is also pointed out to identify transgression events and rhythmic sedimentation.

That is, the chalk is very interesting, notwithstanding that it also creates beautiful places to visit and explore.

The itineraries include:

  1. Sussex: The Lewis and Mount Caburn Chalk Pits.
  2. Sussex: Holywell – Beachy Head – Birling Gap – Seven Sisters.
  3. Sussex: Seaford Head.
  4. Sussex:  Newhaven to Brighton.
  5. Sussex: The Adur Valley – Beeding Quarries.
  6. Kent: Folkestone.
  7. Kent: Dover East Cliff to Margaret’s at Cliffe.
  8. Kent: The Isle of Thanet.

When I was last in contact with Rory over his book, Logging the Chalk, I mentioned a review of a new edition of this guide and he was very enthusiastic. That was quite a while ago and nothing has been forthcoming. However, there are a lot of white holes (tunnels) through white rock being dug at the moment, which need his expertise, so I don’t blame him at all. However, come on Rory, don’t keep me waiting much longer.

The Chalk of Sussex and Kent, Geologists’ Association Guide No 57, by Rory N Mortimore, The Geologists’ Association, London (1997), 139 pages (paperback), ISBN: 0-780900717833.

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