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Rhopalomyia ptarmicae
find out more... Rhopalomyia ptarmicae gall on Sneezwort Copyright: Peter Furze

Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
registered charity
no 1113963
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
Autumn recording Record Grey Squirrel Record Fly Agaric
Record Ivy Bee
Record Wild Teasel
Record Sloe, Blackthorn
Record Garden Spider Record Nigma walckenaeri spider

Geology Site Account

Tesco Distribution Centre Quarry, West Thurrock, , Thurrock District, TQ570781, General geological site

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Site of geological interest with fine exposures of coombe rock.


Site description

Tesco’s distribution centre occupies the southern part of Greenlands Quarry (see separate site record for Purfleet Chalk Pits SSSI) and is accessed from Dolphin Quarry via Dolphin Way through a tunnel under the A1090 (Stonehouse Lane). Fine chalk cliffs encircle the building but the cliff on the north side is of particular interest as the top third is coombe rock.

Coombe rock is evidence of the severe climate that existed in Essex towards the end of the last glacial stage, between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago, when the ground was permanently frozen (permafrost) with only the top metre or so thawing during each brief summer and freezing again the next autumn. Here, the Chalk was close to the surface and the constant freezing and thawing turned the top layer into a mass of saturated chalk rubble, which was capable of slowly flowing down a slope like thick porridge to accumulate in valley bottoms. Now hardened into what is known as coombe rock it can be seen at the top of the cliffs here.

The best view of this cliff is obtained from the pavement on the west side of A1090 (Stonehouse Lane).

The top section of the chalk cliff to the north of Tesco’s distribution centre consists of coombe rock, proof of an arctic climate in Thurrock, about 20,000 years ago. Photo © G.Lucy


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