The barton Group consists of the barton Sand Formation, barton Clay formation, Chama sand Formation, and Becton Sand Formation (informally known as the "Barton Sands. At Hengistbury head the barton Clay contains a sand member, the warren Hill Sand, forming the upper part of the cliff, at the higher, western part of the hill. See bristow, Freshney and Penn (1991) (see chapter 6, palaeogene - barton Group) see barton-on-sea location on zoomable bing aerial photographs and maps. See also google earth. Particularly see the Channel coastal Observatory aerial photographs. View Larger Map Get Directions view Bird's eye.2.
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There are fossil remains of numerous gastropods and bivalves, still preserved as aragonitic shells. Sharks teeth are common, and notable features are the bones of early cetaceans (whales) of sea serpent appearance. They are like the famous early whales of Wadi write El-Hitan, Egypt, but slightly older. Excellent fossil collections have been made of the well-preserved and uncrushed fossils of the barton Clay. Rapid erosion of the cliffs here has made this a particularly good place for collecting fossils. The barton Clay formation is Bartonian, a stage of the Upper Eocene. The barton Beds are of Upper Eocene age. The area was covered with an inland sea, at a palaeolatitude of about 40 degrees. The temperature was significantly higher than at the present day. The name, of course, comes from Barton-on-sea in Hampshire, southern England. The stage name "Bartonian" was introduced by karl mayer-Eymar in 1857 and intended for the continental equivalents of the series.
Christchurch bay is so young that it has developed by rapid coast erosion after the formation of these, now-submerged stream valleys. It is not suprising because the cliffs of Eocene clays and sands are not at all resistant and can be and have been very rapidly eroded. Examination of the map will show that even the sand and clay cliffs of bournemouth have retreated more slowly than at Barton-on-sea. A reason for this is that the bournemouth cliffs have some partial protection from southwesterly storms by the projecting headlands of Durlston head, Swanage and Handfast point (Harry rocks also in the Swanage area. Southwesterly storm waves can reach the barton paper Cliffs more easily. The barton Clay formation, middle eocene, of Barton-on-sea is remarkably fossiliferous. It originated in an embayment of a warm shallow sea, at about 40 degrees north. The date of formation approximately corresponded to the middle eocene Climatic Optimum, the meco.
The shells are not as strong or as abundant as in the barton Clay. The setting of Barton-on-sea online in Christchurch bay is first shown in relation to quaternary sea-flooding of palaeovalleys. The cliffs of Barton-on-sea are very new in geological terms. They are post-neolithic, when there was a relatively low sea-level. The most recent rise in sea-level took place in only the last four thousand years, in effect a very short, almost trivial interval of time. This is so modern that it is almost archaeological rathe than geological. The former stream pattern under poole and Christchurch bays has been mapped by velegrakis. (1999) and a map based on this is shown above.
A visit is recommended. East of Barton natural cliffs and good exposures start again near Becton Bunny. Longshore drift is from west to east because of the prevailing southwesterly winds. Much protective beach debris cannot get eastward past the barton sea-defences, which are designed to hold it, so here there is terminal scour and enhanced coast erosion. This enables the barton Sands or Becton Sand Formation to be seen in quite good exposures. There are some shells, of which the most robust is the white and conspicuous bivalve. Chama squamosa of the, chama, bed. Above this horizon the bivalves and gastropods are thin-shelled, being of sheltered lagoonal or estuarine origin.
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Clavilithes macrospira to the english rare fan-shell, hippochrenes amplus. The turreted gastropods, turritella imbricateria and. Turritella sulcifera are very common, and sharks teeth and ray-fish teeth (see above) can be found from time to time. Both the sea-defences and the retreat of the coast away from the most fossiliferous strata has much reduced the fossil-collecting potential. Nevertheless good specimens can still be found in the naish Farm area between Barton and Highcliffe, and the cliffs at the back of the beach here are well-worth a visit.
Not much of the barton Clay can be seen from Barton eastward to the end of the marine Drive east. The cliffs have large blocks of limestone at the base, some timber piles, much gravel spread above and some iron sheet-piling here and there. The engineering works also require roads or tracks for vehicles and machines. This central section is writer instructive with regard to the development of landslides, the use of and failure of sea-defences. It is also a good area to see the Pleistocene gravel at the top of the cliff and the yellow, oxidised Barton Sands or Becton Sand Formation. Apart from geologists it is of interest to geography students, environmental science students and civil engineering students.
They correspond roughly in age with the famous Eocene gypsum deposits of Paris (from whence comes the name - plaster of Paris). The type-section of the barton Clay and Barton Sand at Barton Cliffs on the mainland consists of sandy clays in the lower part, dark sandy clays and stiff drab clays in the middle part, and clayey sands and light-coloured sands in the upper part (29.26m). The total was given.56m. Burton (1929) but, barton (1973) has more recently considered the barton Clay to be thicker (46.4m) and given a total figure for the barton Beds.4m (note that. Bristow, Freshney and Penn (1991) gave the range of the barton Clay thickness in the bournemouth area as 20 - 60m, less than this figure but probably based on Burton).
Most of the strata are very fossiliferous. The barton Clay has yielded more than 500 species of fossil mollusc shells. These are quite robust and can easily be cleaned by simply washing them with a soft brush. They look much like modern subtropical shells but have lost their colour. The shell, though, is still of the original aragonite and only the organic matter has been lost. They range from minute corals (. Turbinolia ) and the little, prickly gastropod. Typhis pungens to the robust and fairly common gastropod.
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It is rare that rising tides cut off people at Barton-on-sea and Highcliffe, although it could happen in unusual circumstances. Slipping or falling on hard rock armour can lead to injury and it is better not to scramble. It is obvious that one should not hammer flint pebbles, which give off dangerous splinters, but there is little reason to. There is a very small risk of being cut off in places by rising tide, but a sensible person is unlikely to be trapped in this way on the barton coast. Individual geological visitors and field leaders should make their own risk assessment and no recommendation to take any risk is made in this or associated webpages and no liability is accepted. The barton Clay, the barton Sand and the overlying headon Hill Formation (of the solent Group) form part of the well-known Hampshire basin, and are exposed at Barton and Highcliffe in Christchurch bay, and also at Alum bay and Whitecliff bay, in the Isle. The strata are of the bartonian and Priabonian Stages of the Upper Eocene series. In terms of age in years these strata were deposited between london about.1 amd.4 million years (. Harland., 1982 ).
bites are very rare. There is of course, some risk of falling from a cliff edge. It is, of course, hazardous to stand on the cliff-top of gravel close to the edge. At some places there is an overhang which might collapse. Injury from falling debris from the cliffs is possible to the east of Barton, particularly in the becton Bunny area of rapid erosion. It is not a frequent hazard.
The soft-mud risk to a person scrambling friend on the cliffs can be quite major in places. Once someone is stuck in mud by even one leg above the knee, it is extremely difficult to get out. The moving mud of mudslides has large hard lumps or blocks within it and cannot be simpley dug out. Professional help might well be needed. I have seen a person stuck in mud there for several hours. In wet and muddy conditions it is wise to stay on the beach and collect from the lowest part of the cliffs. On the few Highcliffe and Barton coast sections with steep cliffs there is a small risk of being struck by a falling rock, pebble or lump of mud. Safety helmets might be needed where such risk exists.
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The barton Clay of the cliffs of Christchurch bay on the southern England coast is famous for its rich literature fossil content. The strata were better exposed in the past, when there were no sea defences and when there was less tendency for vegetation to grow on cliffs. Some superb fossil collections have been made and they are now preserved in various museums (such as at bournemouth Natural Science society for example). The stretch between Highcliffe and the first sea defences east of this at Barton-on-sea is still good for fossil collecting. It is easy to access from Highcliffe but less so from Barton now because of sea-defences, cliff collapse and mudslides. The main hazard at Barton-on-sea, highcliffe, and of Hordle Cliff is that of sinking into soft mud and becoming stuck. This is particularly a risk on landslides or mudslides or on the clay terraces above the beach level. It can be a worse problem in winter and spring (the cliffs may not dry out much until late April).