Upper Cretaceous rocks, primarily Chalk, cover a vast area of
England forming the Downs and Wolds as well as the spectacular
chalk cliffs from Flamborough Head to south-east Devon. In
south-east Devon and the Inner Hebrides of north-west Scotland,
white chalk rests on greensands, calcareous sands and commercially
important quartz sandstones. Scientific knowledge of these rocks is
an essential part of planning construction projects, developing and
protecting groundwater resources and utilising the materials such
as flint, chalk and sands for industrial processes.
Historically, the fossils from the Chalk, such as the echinoid
Micraster, have made major contributions to evolutionary studies.
Fossils, combined with detailed analyses of the structure and
sedimentology of the Chalk and associated rocks, continue to be a
focus for developing new ideas in stratigraphy, modelling past
climates and investigating biodiversity and mass extinctions.
Thirty-seven GCR sites across the British Isles are described
and linked to numerous other sites to provide a comprehensive
explanation of the geology and the geological significance of each
GCR site. Individual sites vary from coastal cliffs, many
kilometres long, to individual small chalk pits. Where possible,
sites have been extensively re-investigated to provide the most