The Northern Chalk Succession.

The Kenneth Fenton Memorial Lecture

[at the] Department of Earth Sciences, University of Hull

[by] F. Whitham

Thursday 12th December 1991

I am most grateful to the Hull Geological Society for inviting me to present the Kenneth Fenton Memorial Lecture this evening, may I also take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to Ken's wife Phil whose presence here tonight is most heart warming.

Ken was the backbone of the society from the late 1950's and was to a very large extent, the driving force which led to the Society’s revival from imminent collapse at that time. He was greatly involved with all the activities of the Society, holding the posts of President and Secretary, he was also a member of the Chalk Project Group. He led a number of Field Trips including several on the Drift Deposits of Holderness, a subject on which he was most knowledgeable. He was a very good and close friend of mine, we spent many happy times collecting in the field, usually on Sundays (the only days I managed to get off work). Speeton, the Scunthorpe iron ore pits, and the Cretaceous deposits around the Nettleton area in Lincolnshire were our favourite foraging areas, we also managed a weeks trip to the many quarries in the Cotswolds and to Leighton Buzzard. Memories remembered with much affection.

I feel most privileged to be able to present this talk as a fitting tribute to Ken, on a subject in which he had a deep interest and understanding.

Over the past 40 years or so I have worked the Yorkshire Wolds pits, and the coastal region collecting fossils from the chalk, logging exposures, and recording horizons of some of the main macrofaunas. Since retiring 7 years ago I have been able to complete this work with the help of members of the Hull Geological Society, particularly Mike Home and Lynden Emery who have given much assistance in measuring some of the more difficult parts where access in some instances has been precarious. Don Beveridge, Mavis May and others have also contributed.

Two papers have been submitted to the editor of the Y. G. S. Proceedings. The first is confined to the Stratigraphy of the Ferriby, Welton and Burnham Formations, which is made up of 10 exposures located North of the Humber and fills in some of the gaps in the composite section north and south of the Humber established by Wood & Smith (1978), (the key Willerby section was not fully exposed at that time), This later succession provides a firm framework for the first detailed account of all the main macrofaunas. More precise fossil ranges are established, enabling clearer definition of biozones, and an informal subdivision of the H. rostrata Z. introduced. The total succession of these three Lower Formations is approx. 215 metres.

The second paper (which has since been returned for attention to some referees recommendations) provides the first detailed account of the succession of the Flamborough Formation, mainly along the coast, plus several inland sections.

Some members of the society are already in possession of Part 1 covering the three lower formations and several people have expressed some difficulty in interpretating the new nomenclature in use which replaces the previous traditional terms of Lower, Middle and Upper Chalk stages. I therefore thought it might be helpful to clarify this situation by comparing the traditional succession with that of Wood & Smith (1978) and recent modifications made by myself.

I trust that those members more familiar with recent developments in chalk stratigraphy will bear with me for a few moments whilst I attempt to explain to other members who may wish to know where our Northern Chalk lies in the Geological succession and also about the more updated nomenclature now in use.

The Yorkshire Wolds Eastern outcrop can be traced inland along a line commencing at Sewerby Buried Cliff to the north of Bridlington, arcing through Bessingby to Driffield before turning due south through Beverley, Willerby and Hessle. The Northern edge of the Wolds sweeps inland from Speeton, to Hunamby, Staxton and West Hesslerton, with west facing outcrops seen near North Grimston, Bishop Wilton, near Pocklington, Market Weighton, South Cave, Welton and North Ferriby.

The chalk of the Wolds continues through Lincolnshire and into the Eastern part of Norfolk. Some of the flint and marl bands can be traced from Yorkshire to Norfolk and beyond. Fossil occurrences can also be correlated with events in N.W. Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Russian. Platform, this applies particularly to belemnites and inoceramids.

Chalk north of the Humber accumulated on the northern part of the East Midlands Shelf and adjacent southern margin of the Cleveland Basin. The basinal sequence is limited to the north eastern corner of the Wolds where Albian to Turonian chalks are considerably thicker than on the shelf. The white Chalk facies are fairly uniform over North and South Humberside, thickening towards the coast and into the North Sea, reaching 800 metres in thickness at the Dowsing Fault Line about 50 km from the coast.

[The rest of the lecture was based on the one given to the Yorkshire Geological Society at Keyworth on March 16th 1991.]

[scanned and edited MH10/8/10]

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