Thursday, 16 October 2014


A View of North Cliff Quarry

On Day 2 of the XP School “Rock On!” project - having decided that we would visit North Cliff Quarry instead of Barnburgh Crags - the first task of our group was to choose the best approach.

The easiest way is to park and then walk along the path next to the school playing fields; however, Marc decided that it would be good exercise to take the students on a much longer route that was previously unknown to me.

Arriving at the edge of the quarry face, and seeing only long wild grass, I made my way around and down to a place where Marc then directed the students down a much steeper path.

Looking up to a height of several metres, I walked halfway up to demonstrate that it was safe and, taking great care, they proceeded down the path one by one and then found a place to sit down and listen to further instructions. 

Making our way to the base of the Permian reef, walking on a large rocking stone, we found a place where we could all get comfortable and I then explained the various geological features at this site – before they started drawing. One boy wanted to know why he couldn’t just take a photo with his mobile phone and one or two weren't too keen but, in general, everyone was very enthusiastic with this task.

A plant spray
The uneven and sloping ground didn’t provide enough space for the students to undertake the measuring tasks themselves, so this was undertaken by Marc and me. Standing at the bottom of the outcrop, I spoke too loudly with my measurement and, quite remarkably, my very accurate figure of 5.7 metres appeared on many drawings that I saw – despite instructions that they should be estimated with a ranging rod.

When they had finished their annotated drawings, we explored the rock face, looking at variations in the lithology and beds that are packed full of tiny fossil shells. Here, I used a water spray to highlight the details of the rock, when looking at it with the naked eye or hand lens, but some students seemed more interested in the crickets and spiders' webs.

A geological map of Conisbrough
After finishing the tasks in the quarry, we stopped briefly to look at the surrounding topography and the limestone escarpment that stretches to the north.  With the aid of a 1:50,000 geological map, which none of the group had seen before, I pointed out our position in Conisbrough and briefly explained that, here, the Rivers Dearne and Don converge - before cutting through the limestone escarpment to form the Don Gorge.

The Permian reef at North Cliff Quarry

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