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GCSE Geography: Rock types

Rock Type

Formation

Characteristics

Landscape

Case study

Granite:
intrusive
igneous

280 million years ago in subduction


zones (meeting of continental shelves)
where batholiths/plutons (giant
masses of magma) cool underground.

- Hard & durable


- Criss cross joints
- Contains quartz, black mica

Found in Cairngorms, Lake


District, Devon, Cornwall and
the Scilly Isles.
- Marshy, wet climate
- Acidic soil
- Tors (exposed outcrops)

Dartmoor
- Ten tors
- Livestock farming
- Military training
- Meldon resevoir
- Granite & china clay quarries

Carboniferous
limestone:
sedimentary

340 million years ago in warm,


tropical seas where calcium carbonate
(CaCO3)from dead crustaceans
accumulated on the seabed.

- Physically strong but

Found in Penine Hills and the


Mendips, distributed in bands.
- Karst scenery
- Gorges and dry valleys
- Asymmetric valleys
- Limestone pavement (clints
and grykes)
- Caverns and caves
- Stalactites, stalagmites,
pillars and curtains
- Swallow/sink holes
- Resurgent streams
- Alkaline soil (good pasture)

Cheddar Gorge
- 500,000 tourists p.a
- 350 graded rock climbing
passages.
- Whatley Quarry & other
quarries employ 2000 and
150 mill. profits p.a
- Stone used in Bath and Bristol
and roads in SW
- Pastoral farming in Mendips on
calcareous grassland.
- Cheddar Yeo river feeds
Cheddar reservoir, holding 135
million gallons.
- Mendip forestry ltd (ash trees)

Chalk:
sedimentary

Cretaceous period (145-65 million


years ago) in shallow, tropical seas
where crustaceans rich in calcium
carbonate accumulated in beds. A
purer form of limestone.

Permeable
White
Heavily jointed and porous
Physically weak
Chemically vulnerable
Contains deposits of Gypsum
and Flint

Clay:
sedimentary

Mainly Jurassic and Cretaceous


periods (199-65 million years ago)
as a result of the chemical
decomposition of other rocks like
granite or the disintegration of shale.

Weak
Impermeable
Contains kaolinite.
Contains tiny pores that are
easily water logged

Clay is very common. It exists


alongside chalk in the North
and South Downs around
Sussex, the Chilterns and the
Yorkshire Wolds.
- Chalk aquifers
- Clay vales
- Springs
- Dry valleys (from ice age)
- Synclines and antilines
- Escarpments (with scarp &
dip slopes)
- Rendzina soil

Sussex Downs
- Naturally filtered water used for
watercress and paper
production.
- Horse racing (Epsom)
- Water pumped from chalk
aquifers to service London.
- Cretaceous meadowland hosts
rare wildlife such as the Bee
Orchid and the Adonis Blue
butterfly.
- Lack of vegetation and gentle
slopes allow paragliding and
hang gliding.
- The Icknield Way (E. Thomas)

and pink feldspar

- Impermeable
- Decays via hydrolysis

chemically weak
Carbonation
Fossils
Horizontal bedding planes
Blocky appearance
Permeable but non-porous
(water passes through joints)