GCR block - Aptian-Albian (APT-ALB)


Block Description

UK map showing distribution of GCR sites of GCR block APT-ALB
Distribution of GCR sites of GCR block Aptian-Albian

The GCR sites selected for this GCR Block represent the British geological record of Earth history from about 121 to 99 million years ago (Ma). This interval is the last part of the Early Cretaceous Epoch, which spans from 142 to 99 Ma. Rocks that formed during the Early Cretaceous Epoch (part of the Cretaceous Period) constitute the Lower Cretaceous Series (part of the Cretaceous System).

The Aptian (121–112 Ma) and Albian (112–99 Ma) strata are included in one GCR Block together because they are commonly closely associated in general lithology and palaeontology; these two stratigraphical stages precede the deposition of The Chalk, rocks formed during the Late Cretaceous Epoch –the name ‘Chalk’ reflecting the dominance of that rock type in strata of that age. They follow the Barremian Stage. See CEN-MAA and BER-BAR.

GCR site selection

For the purposes of site evaluation and selection, the GCR sites can be grouped into themes or ‘networks’, reflecting depositional setting, which was largely controlled by deep-seated structural features.

Although the relatively common invertebrate fossils do not have a separate selection category in the GCR in their own right, the scientific importance of many stratigraphy sites lies in their fossil content. Therefore, some of the GCR sites are selected specifically for their fossil fauna, which facilitates stratal correlation and enables the interpretation of the environments in which the animals lived. Moreover, some sites have international significance because they have yielded fossils that are the ‘type’ material for a taxonomic group.

Palaeontology, fauna and flora

The traditional means of subdividing the Cretaceous System is by means of ammonites, abundant and diverse nektonic cephalopod molluscs that, because of their rapid evolution, prove to be almost ideal ‘zone fossils’, enabling the correlation and division of the rocks into relative ages by way of a distinct fossil ‘signature’.

The British fossil record for the Aptian and Albian ages is rich and varied. Invertebrate faunas included simple and compound corals, calcareous sponges and bryozoa, abundant bivalve molluscs, such as oysters, smooth terebratulid and ribbed rhynchonellid brachiopods, gastropods (snails), asteroids (starfish), echinoids (sea urchins) and crinoids (sea lilies). Microscopic organisms included foraminifera, ostracods and phytoplankton (dinoflagellates and coccolithophorid algae).

Lobster- and shrimp-like crustaceans often produced burrows within sediments, preserved as trace fossils.

Belemnites, relatives of the ammonites, were abundant and along with fish were probably the main food of the aquatic reptiles, which were the largest vertebrate animals in the sea. These included ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, pliosaurs, crocodiles and turtles. The fish included both holostean and teleostean bony fishes, and sharks and rays.

On land, dinosaurs were advanced; mammals formed a minor but increasingly important part of the fauna. Land plants of particular prominence were the gymnosperms, notably conifers, cycads, ginkgoes, ferns and horsetails. Insect life included dragonflies.

In contrast to the manner in which most invertebrate fossils are represented in the GCR, fossils of vertebrates, arthropods (except trilobites) and terrestrial plants do have their own dedicated selection categories, owing to the relative rarity of the fossil material. See APD; JUR-CRE-RP; MES-MAM; MES-PALBOT; MZ-TR-FI-A; PALENT

Site List

Your selection found 31 GCR sites. Sites are sorted alphabetically by country, local authority and then by site name -
CodeNameCountryLocal AuthorityGrid RefGCR Site Account
734Double Arches PitEnglandBedfordshire CCSP937292Not available
735Nine Acres PitEnglandBedfordshire CCSP938277Not available
632East Cliff to White CliffEnglandDevon CCSY209880Not available
631Shapwick Grange QuarryEnglandDevon CCSY311916Not available
636Punfield CoveEnglandDorset CCSZ037807Not available
635White NotheEnglandDorset CCSY762814Not available
634Worbarrow BayEnglandDorset CCSY861803Not available
629Rifle Butts QuarryEnglandEast Riding of YorkshireSE892426Not available
658Atherfield to Rocken EndEnglandIsle of WightSZ451792Not available
659Compton ChineEnglandIsle of WightSZ369853Not available
657RedcliffEnglandIsle of WightSZ619853Not available
656Shanklin Chine to Monks BayEnglandIsle of WightSZ578779Not available
942DryhillEnglandKent CCTQ498552Not available
938FolkestoneEnglandKent CCTR235362Not available
941Otterpool ManorEnglandKent CCTR112364Not available
939SevenoaksEnglandKent CCTQ536578Not available
627Nettleton Bottom QuarryEnglandLincolnshireTF125982Not available
626Hunstanton CliffsEnglandNorfolkTF672413Not available
731South FerribyEnglandNorth and North East LincolnshireSE993204Not available
628Speeton Beck to Red Cliff HoleEnglandNorth Yorkshire CCTA154754Not available
630Wicklesham and Coxwell PitsEnglandOxfordshireSU285943Not available
633Snowdon Hill QuarryEnglandSomersetST312089Not available
869Brook Brick PitEnglandSurreySU931378Not available
868Stock Farm QuarryEnglandSurreySU876381Not available
873Bognor Common QuarryEnglandWest SussexTQ008213Not available
870Chantry MillEnglandWest SussexTQ093138Not available
872Horton Clay PitEnglandWest SussexTQ209124Not available
871Marehill QuarryEnglandWest SussexTQ064186Not available
874Park Farm CuttingEnglandWest SussexTQ039190Not available
732Dead Maid QuarryEnglandWiltshire CCST804323Not available
733Seend Ironstone QuarryEnglandWiltshire CCST937610Not available
Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access. Search Again