The geology and landscape of Levisham and Newtondale, Yorkshire: an overview

This article is about the geology and geomorphology of the Levisham Bottoms and Newtondale area of Yorkshire. This is an interesting strip of virtually level land, which forms a shelf at about 150m above sea level, between Levisham Moor and the bottom of Newtondale. It is a fascinating geological region that allows a visitor to see exposures of Middle Jurassic rocks and Quaternary deposits from the Ice Age, together with examples of interesting glacial geomorphology. There are many noteworthy features, including features within the solid bedrock indicating the depositional environment of the Middle Jurassic strata, and the drift geology of ice-age deposits, including erratics. The aim of this article is to allow the reader to understand the geological processes and features at this locality.

The strata of Levisham Bottoms comprises of Middle Jurassic, fluvio-deltaic rocks and Upper Jurassic marine deposits. The beds dip at an angle of approximately 5° due south, and contain no faulting, folds or crush zones (Robinson, 2010). The bedrock geology of the area is detailed in the table accompanying this article. The topography has been created primarily by quaternary glacial and post glacial Devensian activity.

Fig 2 Ginkgo huttoni
Fig. 1. Ginkgo huttonii, from the Long Nab member of the Scalby Formation.

The environment in the Middle Jurassic consisted of a large river delta flowing into the Cleveland Basin, bound to the north by the Mid-North Sea High, and to the west by the Pennine High (van-Konijnenburg-van Cittert and Morgans, 1999; Powell, 2010) and was comparable to the size of the modern Nile or Mississippi deltas.


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