Geology Site Account
Bentfield End Sarsen Stone, STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET, Uttlesford District, TL50562538, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Bentfield End Sarsen Stone
Grid reference: TL 5056 2538
Brief description of site:
A large sarsen stone 1.2 metres (4 feet) long sits outside a cottage at the junction of Wetherfield and Bentfield End Causeway.
Sarsens are extremely hard boulders of sandstone formed around 55 million years ago when the climate of Britain was hot and a layer of sand beneath the surface of the ground became cemented with quartz. They are thus very resistant to erosion and have survived the rigours of the Ice Age. They originated on the chalk downland north and west of Essex and were carried here by rivers and glaciers. After retreat of the ice they became concentrated in river valleys.
The formation of silcretes (which includes sarsens and puddingstones) has been the subject of recent scientific debate. Research has compared the conditions under which sarsens and puddingstones may have been formed with the present day climate in the Kalahari Desert and parts of Australia.
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Reference: Lucy 2003a
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