VISIT STAITHES & RUNSWICK BAY

FOSSILS & GEOLOGY

THE GEOLOGY OF THE DINOSAUR COAST

The varied landscapes of the National Park owe much of their appearance to the underlying geology, the result of over 200 million years of Earth history. This is a period that has seen North Yorkshire flooded by oceans, covered in huge river deltas and – most recently (20,000 years ago) – invaded by great ice sheets.

It is these events, and the evidence they have left behind, that has brought geologists to the area since the science began, starting with William Smith (1769–1839), known as 'the ‘Father of English geology', who created the first geological map of Britain. The museum he founded in Scarborough, the Rotunda Museum, is still first port of call for anyone fascinated by the local geology.

Today, geologists travel from all over the world to study the rocks of the North York Moors. The area is particularly famous for its fossil remains and dinosaur footprints, each telling a story from times when North Yorkshire looked very different.

Many locations also bear the scars of human exploitation of the many resources contained within the rocks of the North York Moors. The mining and quarrying of ironstone, alum, coal, building stone and jet have all left tell-tale signs and have had a significant impact on local history and heritage.

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ALUM WORKS
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ALUM MINE
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WHITBY CLIFFS
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AMMONITES
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IRONSTONE
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WHITBY JET