Geography

Rock types in the British Isles

Granite, limestone, chalk and clay form in different areas and all have different properties. Watch this video to find out more.

Video

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Key points

  • Granite is a hard, igneous rock, made up of quartz, feldspar and mica.
  • Granite landforms include batholiths and tors. They surface when softer, surrounding rocks are worn away.
  • Limestone is a sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate. It reacts with the acids in rainwater and dissolves to form distinctive scenery such as limestone pavement, caves and gorges.
  • Chalk is also a sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate. It is porous, so water can penetrate it. It is eroded by solution.
  • Dry valleys are a common feature in chalk. They were eroded by fast flowing surface streams near the end of the ice age. Chalk forms gentle hills inland and steep cliffs at the coast.
  • Clay is a sedimentary rock made of tiny particles of weathered rocks and minerals.

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