Geology Site Account
Broomfield Sarsen Stones, BROOMFIELD, Chelmsford District, TL70531044, General geological site
Site name: Broomfield Sarsen Stones
Grid reference: TL 7053 1044
Brief description of site:
Two sarsen stones (the largest 60cm x40cm x30cm) can be seen in Broomfield by the church gate.
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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