Clee Hill - laterite formation

During the Palaeocene Period, the earliest part of the Palaeogene (previously known as the Tertiary), Shropshire experienced significant uplift and the upper levels of the modern day landscape evolved. This was a period of much warmer climatic conditions accompanied by intense subtropical weathering. Remnants of this ancient weathered landscape can still beeen, for instance in Clee Hill quarry where red laterite soil has developed within a thick Carboniferous dolerite sill.

The end of the Palaeocene (55.5 million years ago) was marked by one of the most significant periods of global change: the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. This upset oceanic and atmospheric circulation and led to the extinction of numerous deep-sea benthic foraminifera and, on land, a major turnover in mammals.

Clee Hill Dhu Stone

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A characteristic feature of laterite soil development is spheroidal weathering, rotting the rock but leaving residual corestones as shown in this detailed photograph taken on the village side of the quarry face shown in the other image.

Spheroidal weathering of dolerite