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Spectacular chalk cliff at Chafford Gorges Nature Park, Thurrock. The cliff represents a section through an ancient sea floor that existed across England about 80 million years ago. Photo © G. Lucy


The rocks beneath the Essex landscape are a record of the county's prehistory. They provide evidence for ancient volcanoes, deserts, glaciers and deep seas. Some rocks also contain remarkable fossils, from subtropical sharks and crocodiles to Ice Age hippos and mammoths. The geology of Essex is a story that stretches back over 100 million years.

This website provides an introduction to the geology of Essex, lists the best sites to visit and provides information on organisations and literature where you can find out more. It is an expanding resource so please visit again.

What's on

EVENTS Click here for full details
Scroll down for events organised by GeoEssex and other organisations.

Saturday 15th February 2014. Essex Gem & Mineral Show. North Romford Community Centre, Clockhouse lane, Collier Row, Romford, Essex. RM5 3QJ. 10:00am until 4:00pm. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society.

Saturday 29 March 2014. Conservation working party at Chafford Gorges Nature Park, Thurrock, Essex. To be confirmed. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Sunday 6 April 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Althorne, near Burham-on-Crouch, Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Sunday 27 April 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Wrabness, Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Tuesday 13 May 2014. Quaternary glaciations of Britain and especially Essex. Talk by Professor Jim Rose of the Centre for Quaternary Research, Royal Holloway, University of London. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. HOPWA House. Inskip Drive, Hornchurch. Visitors welcome.

Friday 16 to Monday 19 May 2014. Puddingstone and related silcretes of the Anglo-Paris Basin: Geological and archaeological perspectives. Conference at Burlington House, London and field trip organised by the Geological Society, the Geologists’ Association and the Society of Antiquaries.

Sunday 25 May 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Saturday 31 May 2014. Essex Field Club field trip to Collier’s Brick Pit, Marks Tey, Essex and Cudmore Grove, East Mersea (two sites). Non-members welcome but booking required.

Tuesday 10 June 2014. A pictorial history of Essex geology. Talk by Bill George of the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. HOPWA House. Inskip Drive, Hornchurch. Visitors welcome.

Sunday 22 June 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Chafford Gorges Nature Park, Thurrock, Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Tuesday 8 July 2014. The origin of flint. Talk by Professor Rory Mortimore of the University of Brighton. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. HOPWA House. Inskip Drive, Hornchurch. Visitors welcome.

Saturday 12 July 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Bulmer Brick & Tile Works & Gestingthorpe Roman Villa, Essex (near Sudbury). Non-members welcome but booking required.

Saturday 16 August 2014. Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Bulls Lodge Quarry, Boreham, Chelmsford, Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Saturday 13 September 2014 (provisional date). Essex Rock and Mineral Society field trip to Hadleigh Castle and Country Park, Hadleigh (nr Southend), Essex. Non-members welcome but booking required.

Saturday 4 October 2014. Recent developments in the Quaternary geology of the Lower Thames. Conference organised jointly by the Essex Field Club and the Quaternary Research Association. To be held at Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, near Basildon SS16 4UH.

Sunday 5 October 2014. Purfleet and North Kent. Field trips organised in association with the above conference.

Tuesday 14 October 2014. Making sense of all this sand and gravel in Essex. Talk by Professor David Bridgland of Durham University. 7:30pm for 8pm. HOPWA House. Inskip Drive, Hornchurch. Organised by the Essex Rock and Mineral Society. Visitors welcome.

Sunday 26 October 2014. Conservation working party at Limefields Chalk Pit, Saffron Walden, Essex(TL 540395). This event is organised by the Uttlesford Group of the Essex Wildlife Trust and is to clear vegetation from the nature reserve. Non-members welcome but please book.

Saturday 6 December 2014. Essex Field Club Annual Exhibition and Social 11am to 4pm. The Essex Field Club’s annual natural history event at their new centre at The Green Centre, Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea Hall Lane, Pitsea, near Basildon SS16 4UH.

About GeoEssex

GeoEssex is the primary source of information about the geology and physical landscape of Essex. The GeoEssex team, or 'Steering Group', consists of professional and amateur geologists, representatives from local authorities, geological and natural history societies, and from Natural England, the Government's nature conservation body.

GeoEssex promotes geology in all its aspects, from quarries, cliffs and boulders to spas, springs and building stones. The fascinating and often magical world of geology is all around us, if only we know where to look.

A primary task of GeoEssex is to identify the best places in Essex to find out about the Earth's distant past and the landscape processes going on today. These sites are called Local Geological Sites, or LoGS (formerly called Regionally Important Geological Sites or RIGS). For more information about geological sites click on the 'SITES' tab on the main menu above.

If you would like more information about the GeoEssex Steering Group please click here.
To find out what we plan to do see the Essex Local Geodiversity Action Plan.

Above - Bands of volcanic ash are preserved in the cliffs at Walton-on-the-Naze from volcanoes that were erupting in Scotland 50 million years ago. Photo © I.Mercer

Above right - 50 million year old sharks' teeth from the London Clay that were collected from the beach at Walton-on-the-Naze. Photo © G. Lucy

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