The Jurrasic Coastline of England is the only place in England that has been granted status for World Heritage. If you visit it, you can find out why this is so. The Swanage Bay lies between two very fascinating headlands. One is in the north – the Ballard Point and the other in the south – Durlston Head. This part of Dorset, stretching north from Durlston Head is a very interesting example of how geologically diverse a coastline can be.
It is all nature-made and you can visit it, like a museum through time. A museum of geology. You can see how erosion has been changing the landscape over the years. Actually, a walk through its length would allow you to experience approximately 160 Million years of history. That is why this part of England is so famous and popular among visitors, but also among scientists.
The two headlands are made from a different type of rock. Ballard Point, in the north, is made out of chalk, whereas Durlston Head is made out of Portland Limestone. Durlston Head lies in the southern part of the Purbeck isle. Standing beside it and looking from the side you can see quarry and caves. They look like small windows on a stone house. They have perfect views of the sea and the fresh green landscapes around them.
In Swanage Bay there are many interesting geological types of rocks, coming together. The coast is so naturally diverse, and the landscapes are beautifully formed. The Swanage Bay and the headlands are both formed from erosion. But, because they are made from a different type of rock, you can see the result. The bay is made out of soft rock. Mostly from clay and sand. They erode faster and are easy to be formed. Much easier than limestone and chalk. On the other side, headlands are formed from hard rock. In this area, from limestone or chalk. They need more time. And so, Durlston Head is very hard and resistant to erosion.
Portland Limestone is very well known in England. This area was also historically important because many people worked here and used this stone to build houses. It was also exported to other parts of the country. It is very hard rock and resistance does not erode easily. Limestone is a carbonate rock and it is very similar to Dolomite. A carbonate sedimentary rock, that is most often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams, and mollusks. After these organisms die, they leave their shells and skeletal fragments behind them. Then, the sea and some wind, slowly form these rocks, together, over the years. Limestone consists mostly of some form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), minerals like calcite and aragonite.
If you want to see all the beauty nature has to offer, you should visit Durlston Head. You don’t have to be a scientist to see and learn how fascinating these rocks, the headlands, and this whole area is. You will be amazed by it. All you have to do is come and see for yourself.