Warwickshire Museum – Geology Collection

It may be hard to imagine, but over hundreds of millions of years Warwickshire has been created by deep seas, river deltas, volcanoes, swamps, shallow tropical seas and glaciers – a far cry from today’s rolling agricultural landscape.

The geology of Warwickshire is one of the most varied to be found in any English county. It ranges through many geological periods and the rocky foundations are still well exposed in a number of quarries and cuttings.

The oldest rocks of the Precambrian, Cambrian and Ordovician periods are confined to the north of Warwickshire where huge quarries have exploited them for aggregate. Silurian rocks are essentially absent, and Devonian rocks are confined to a narrow strip to the north-west of Nuneaton. The economically important rocks of the Carboniferous Period, which contain the coal of the Warwickshire Coalfield, are found north of Coventry.

The Permian and Triassic periods are represented by sandstones, which were used to build Kenilworth and Warwick castles, and red clays. These rocks underlie a large U-shaped area through the centre of the county forming the valleys of the rivers Arrow and Avon.

The Jurassic rocks are mainly clays, sands, limestones and ironstones and form all the higher land in the south and east of the country. These rocks have been used for building stone and cement making. Many are rich in fossils.

The Quaternary, commonly called the Ice Age, is represented by extensive deposits of clay, sand and gravel. Once again, these are important economically and a number of gravel pits have been opened.

Here are a list of links to information on Warwickshire’s Geology

  • Geological Conservation: Geological Heritage under Threat

    Warwickshire’s oldest rocks date back over 600 million years and many divisions of geological time are represented in the county. Although Warwickshire has great geological diversity, exposures of rocks are quite rare. [read more]

  • Displaying a Warwickshire Plesiosaur

    Among our geological collections there are a number of Jurassic reptile skeletons – the remains of ‘sea-dragons’ known as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. [read more]

  • Geological Localities Record Centre

    The Warwickshire Geological Localities Record Centre (GLRC) is the most comprehensive source of data on geological sites in Warwickshire. [read more]

  • Geological Periods of Warwickshire

    The history of the Earth is broken down into a series of divisions known as Periods. These vary in length of time, but often mark significant events in the Earth’s evolution such as environmental or evolutionary change. [read more]

  • Looking After your Rocks and Fossils

    Rock and fossil collecting is a popular hobby and an excellent way to explore the fascinating science of geology. [read more]

  • Meteorites at the Warwickshire Museum

    These meteorites were loaned to the Warwickshire Museum for our 2009 summer exhibition. This was entitled ‘Once in a Blue Moon’, and celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the first lunar landing by the crew of Apollo 11. [read more]

  • Moon Rock at the Warwickshire Museum

    These specimens are amongst nearly 400 kilograms of lunar rock and soil, collected by NASA’s Apollo astronauts and brought back to Earth for study. [read more]

  • Warwickshire’s French Connection

    During the Triassic Period, roughly 230 million years ago, the area that we now know as Warwickshire that would have been almost unrecognisable to us. [read more]