Friday, November 22, 2013

Geological Map: New Cross at the seaside (50 million years ago)

The British Geological Survey 'Geology of Britain' viewer is an interactive map showing the different rocks under our feet. You can enter in a place of interest (here New Cross Gate), zoom in and out, and choose to show just the bedrock or the superficial deposits on top of it.

The geology of London has helped shaped the city, influencing the location of roads and buildings, and of course providing their raw materials of bricks and stone. Interesting to see for instance that the line of the New Cross Road broadly follows the boundary between the 'Lambeth Group' bedrock of clay, silt and sand (shown in orange) and the sandier 'Thanet Formation' bedrock (shown in blue)

This also tells us about the deep history of the area. Both 'Lambeth Group' and 'Thanet Formation' were formed long before humans more than 50 million years ago. The former were formed in periodically-flooded swampy, estuary areas while the latter were formed under shallow seas. So in that time maybe what is now New Cross was the seaside!

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