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Geology of the area around Staithes, North Yorkshire.


The area around Staithes was formed during the period of the Earth's history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous.  The Jurassic and Cretaceous periods cover a time period of about 140 million years.  To give you some kind of time frame, the disappearance of the dinosaurs occurred, roughly at the end of the Cretaceous period, so in other words, a lot time ago...

....so millions of years ago this area was a tropical delta where layer after layer of sediments were laid down, it is these layers of sediments that form the cliffs that we can see today. These layers of rock tell us that the climate in Staithes, millions of years ago, was hot with periods of wet and dry.  The fact that Jet can be found within these layers indicates that the area was once covered in coniferous forests and as the type of fossils found here are marine this tells us that this tropical delta that once existed here contained salt water. 


some types of Fossils .... 


Ammonites - the ammonite fossils that we know today were once marine animals with a coiled shell, this shell gave the ammonite protection as well as allowing them flotation and movement.  Most of the shell was filled with gas or fluid, and by controlling these the ammonites could move around. 


Belemnites - were also once marine animals, belemnites had a body like the modern day squid, but unlike the squid, belemnites had an internal skeleton, it is the tail of the living belemnites that we find today as a fossil.


Bivalves -  the common mussel, that is served today in many seafood restaurants, is a bivalve, the bivalve have two hard curved shells which protect the soft body inside.  The two hard shells are called valves, and it is these valves that are found today as fossils, when these bivalves were alive the two shells were held together by a hinge but as this hinge was made to tissue it means it's more common to find them fossilized separately that together. 

Crinoids - are again a marine animal, fossilized crinoids have been found that indicate crinoids existed 300 million years before the dinosaurs and some types of crinoids have survived up to present times.  While these are a marine animal they look more like a plant and are usually found anchored to the sea bed while live.


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