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SECOND Edition – GA Guide Number 22

The Dorset coast has provided the training ground for many aspiring geologists, and also attracts large numbers of amateur geologists. This guide provides information that will be accessible to those from all levels of geological background. In addition to the description of the succession, the guide covers many other aspects of the geology as they arise, and includes information about access.

The coast forms part of the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site that stretches from Exmouth through to Poole Harbour, and includes, in Dorset, one of the most complete sections of Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks anywhere in the world. It has attracted geological attention for some two centuries and has been the focus of an extraordinarily wide range of geological research, not only on the abundant and often beautifully preserved fossils, but on the sediments that have a extensive range of clastic and carbonate lithologies on the diverse and sometimes complex structures, and on the varied coastal morphology. Surprisingly, new finds continue to be made and the careful observer can make significant discoveries. Applied geological fields are also covered in the guide. Dorset’s stone and ball clay industries continue to evolve, and more recently its petroleum geology has come to the fore, as Dorset is the site of Western Europe’s largest onshore oilfield, and there are superb coastal exposures of petroleum source and reservoir rocks. The geographical range of the guide begins in the west, just inside the Devonshire boundary, and describes the coastal geology eastwards (including some short forays inland) beyond the limits of the Heritage Coast to a point close to the Hampshire border in the east. The stratigraphical range is from the latest Triassic rocks upwards to the Mid Eocene, a time-range that encompasses some 170 million years.

This 232-page guidebook includes 91 mostly full colour maps and illustrations, an overview of the regional geology and history of research, a comprehensive reference list for further reading, and an index.