Berry Head Quarry

The forces of nature are never as evident, in my opinion, as they are in rock formations. You can never say that rocks are immovable – they have bent to the strains of their lives like the proverbial reed bends in the winds of change. The rocks don’t – can’t – hide their history which is there for all to see – except, perhaps those bits which are hidden in the mass. they too will reveal themselves as the rock breaks down to expose a new history and to create more.

Berry Head Quarry has long gripped me and, it seems to change every time I visit it, every time the strength and weakness of the rocks become more evident. Is it because I am expecting to see those stresses?

The dikes always fascinate me – they are opportunist minerals and sediments that fill up the spaces / fissures between rocks and will either flow into or build up in a space, often vertically but, because the earth is constantly moving, it can end up horizontal. What I want to know is why the spaces are so regular?

A vertical dike in the quarry.

A beautiful example of a dike that starts vertical and ends up horizontal :

A dike starting off vertical and ending up horizontal.

There are so many examples of dikes in both the quarry at Berry Head and the docking platform just below it, with some being more dramatic than others.

An inverted Y shaped dike.
Toad-in-the-hole dike?
A false dandelion in what’s left of a sandstone dike.
When sandstone meets limestone.

What I have discovered recently is that there are different types of sandstone and limestone and that they have different names. I will have to find out what they are.

When sandstone meets limestone with a fiercer limestone line in between.

I find this combination one of the strongest contrasts in my experience.


4 thoughts on “Berry Head Quarry

  1. That’s so interesting. What causes the horizontal as well as vertical lines? Is there a geologist you can get in touch with? I’ve never heard of a false dandelion – is it something that old grows in your area?


    1. The dike starts off in one orientation as molten minerals and sediment pour into and set in the space between two bodies of rock, and then, during subsequent movement in the rock. it folds to go in another direction. The false dandelion grows mainly in rocky crevices. You can see it on Dartmoor.


      1. Thanks for the explanation about the rock. It seems a bit unfair to call a flower that’d has its own name (surely) a false something else!


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