Warwickshire has one of the most varied selections of rocks in the country. It spans over 600 million years from the depths of the Precambrian period, with violent volcanic eruptions, through to the much more recent sands and gravels which formed during the Pleistocene ice age, whose latest phase was only 10,000 years ago.
The rocks vary from hard lavas, sandstones of many colours, grey and honey coloured limestones, coal, and soft silts, clays and gravels. They reflect environmental conditions which at various times have been desert, marine, equatorial and arctic. The rock types also influence the scenery with, for example, harder limestones and ironstones. forming high ground such as Edge Hill in the of south Warwickshire. In rural areas the building materials of cottages and farms often reveal the nature of the local rocks.
The county boasts a superb variety of fossils from Cambrian triolobites to the huge range of Jurassic invertebrates. Unique reptile and amphibian bones and footprints from the Triassic are of special interest, while marine reptile remains from the Lower Jurassic, such as the Wilmcote plesiosaur, are equally spectacular.
are commercially valuable, with quarries and
mines being dug to extract them. Some rocks
have been used for building stones and others
as sources of metals like iron and manganese.
Coal was exploited as fuel, clays for pottery
and brick making; limestone provides cement
and the sands and gravels are sources of
aggregate. The county has many abandoned
quarries and today, these give us perfect
opportunities to see the underlying geology.