British Silurian Stratigraphy
GCR Volume No. 19
Aldridge, R.J., Siveter, David J., Siveter, Derek J., Lane, P.D., Palmer, D. & Woodcock, N.H.
This book reveals how the entity we know as 'the British Isles' today was basically assembled in Silurian times. The sites record the changing environments and life during this period.


Britain has a unique geological heritage that provides one of the best samples of Earth history in the world. The British rock record of Silurian times is of particular interest and importance. The Silurian System of strata, as defined in Britain by Roderick Murchison in 1835, was one of the first of the Palaeozoic systems to be internationally recognized. Consequently, the subdivision of the British Silurian and the fossils on which it was based have considerable historical and scientific significance.
Image of British Silurian Stratigraphy, GCR Volume No. 19, coverScientific investigation of the British Silurian outcrop has continued for some 170 years, resulting in some of the most comprehensive documentation for any geological system in the world. Modern dating shows that the Silurian Period was relatively short, lasting about 30 million years (440 to 410 million years ago). The use of fossils has allowed a subdivision of this interval of Earth history into biozones, each with about a million years duration. Consequently, the history of the period, as represented in Britain, is now known in considerable detail.
Investigation of British Silurian rocks and their comparison with strata of similar age elsewhere has revealed an extraordinary phase in the geological history of these islands. Until late Ordovician times, northern and southern Britain, both then in the southern hemisphere, were separated by the wide Iapetus Ocean. The north was part of Laurentia (North America) and in the tropics. Southern Britain was attached to northern Africa (Gondwana) and close to the south pole until Early Ordovician time, when it broke away as part of the small continent of Avalonia. Avalonia moved north during the Ordovician, and Silurian successions record its progressive collision with Laurentia.
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542 pages, illustrations, A4 hardback
ISBN 1 86107 478 6
Please cite as: Aldridge, R.J., Siveter, David J., Siveter, Derek J., Lane, P.D., Palmer, D. & Woodcock, N.H. (2000) British Silurian Stratigraphy, Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 19, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough, 542 pp.