The geology of an area refers to the study and understanding of the area’s solid earth materials (e.g. rocks and minerals), and the processes that have shaped it. The types of substances found in an area can help provide a geographer with a greater picture of the area’s history and the UK’s geology shows a diverse range of rock types and formations.
There are three main rock types:
The formation process determines the type of rock. The existence of these rocks can tell us a great deal about an area’s geological history, and how the land formed to be as it is today.
The rock cycle shows the transitions between these three main types of rock.
Igneous rocks form from molten magma that cools and solidifies. These rocks can be found on or below the Earth’s surface. If it is on the surface, it is called extrusive and if it is below the surface, it is intrusive.
In the UK, Igneous rocks are primarily found in mountainous regions like Scotland, Wales and the North of England.
Sediment is a material that has broken down through natural processes such as erosion or weathering. It can include rock fragments, minerals and organic matter. Over time, the sediment accumulates and comes under enormous pressure, which causes it to compact. The sediment is then cemented together, forming Sedimentary rocks.
Sedimentary rocks are widely distributed in the UK and can be found in many regions.
Metamorphic rocks originate from pre-existing rocks that have been subjected to high temperatures and pressure. These ‘pre-existing rocks’ can be igneous, sedimentary, or even other metamorphic rocks. The temperature and pressure cause the texture to change without melting, and the rocks formed from these conditions are called Metamorphic rocks.