Won­der­ful Wor­bar­row Bay

Dorset - - Jurassic January -

Dr An­jana Ford of the Juras­sic Coast Trust shares a ge­o­log­i­cal gem.

“One of the Juras­sic Coast’s lesser known ge­o­log­i­cal gems is Wor­bar­row Bay in Purbeck. The rocks here are tilted spec­tac­u­larly, of­fer­ing a snap­shot of the tremen­dous ge­o­log­i­cal forces that shape our world. They’re part of the Purbeck mono­co­l­ine, a gi­gan­tic ge­o­log­i­cal fold that is re­lated to the for­ma­tion of the Alps, when Africa smashed into Europe and the forces rip­pled out for thou­sands of miles.

The va­ri­ety of rocks at Wor­bar­row Bay re­veals how sea lev­els changed over mil­lions of years. The lime­stones here were formed in swamps and la­goons pa­trolled by di­nosaurs - ge­ol­o­gists have found ev­i­dence of di­nosaur foot­prints in these rocks! The bay’s clays and sand­stones tell us that sea lev­els then rose, cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment of rivers. Sea lev­els con­tin­ued to rise to be­come oceans, where bil­lions of mi­cro­scopic al­gae lived and died, fall­ing to the seabed to be­come fos­silised in what we know as chalk.

A trip to Wor­bar­row Bay is a lovely fam­ily day out. You can park at Tyne­ham vil­lage all day for £2, and the path to the beach is smooth and stroller-friendly. It’s one of my favourite places to visit on the Juras­sic Coast.

'The lime­stones here were formed in swamps and la­goonspa­trolled by di­nosaurs'

Dr An­jana f Ford

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