Geology Site Account
Farnham Sarsen Stone, FARNHAM, Uttlesford District, TL48062432, Potential Local Geological Site
Site name: Farnham Sarsen Stone
Grid reference: TL 4806 2432
Brief description of site:
Large sarsen stone at the side of Hazel End Road near the road junction.
At the side of the Hazel End Road near the road junction is a large sarsen stone 1.30 x 1.1 x 0.5 metres in size (4’6” x 4’ x 1’6”) with a thick band of pebbles running through the centre. This stone appears to have been recently moved to this position.
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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