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You are in: > The Rocks that made the hills

Dinosaur in front of the Malvern Hills

Dinosaur in front of the Malvern Hills

The Rocks that made the hills

The Malvern Hills are some of the oldest and hardest rocks in the country. They've been quarried, tunnelled through, and filter the famous Malvern Water. Geologist travel across the world to study them - you can do it here.

To understand why the Malvern Hills stand up so proud of the surrounding countryside you have to go far back into pre-history.

The surface of the earth was very different, and the land that is now Great Britain was somewhere south of the equator.

Rock strata at Gullet Quarry in Malvern

Rock strata at Gullet Quarry

The ancient core of the Malvern Hills is more than 600 million years old, and was thrust through the sedimentary rocks that lay above them in a huge earth movement known to geologists as the Cheltenham Drive.

This core of rock is very very hard and the rocks on either side are much softer.

This leads to a phenomenon called 'differential erosion', where the softer rocks are worn away much quicker than the harder ones, forming the distinctive ridge of the Malverns.

The best place to see the various rock strata is Gullet Quarry, just off Castlemorton Common at the southern end of the hills.

Here the quarrying work has exposed the rock strata, showing how the sedimentary rocks, which were laid down horizontally on the sea bed, were pushed up nearly vertically by the Cheltenham Drive.

Geologist from all over the world come to the quarry to look at these unusual rock strata, but if you're planning to take a look yourself be warned - it's quite a stiff climb!

last updated: 04/06/2008 at 14:55
created: 26/07/2004

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SEE ALSO

You are in: > The Rocks that made the hills

Malvern Hills

Malvern Hills

Find out about the Malverns, hills, history and H20



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