The Felix Whitham Tribute Field Meetings 2010

Report by Mike Horne

As a tribute to Felix the Hull Geological Society held a series of field meetings in the summer of 2010 to visit places that Felix had studied; here are the reports of those meetings.

Monday 3rd May- Geology Walk in the Kiplingcotes area led by Mike Horne. A tribute to Felix Whitham field meeting and part of Yorkshire Geology Month 2010

The walk around the Kiplingcotes area on May Bank Holiday was attended by eight members. This field trip was one of our contributions to Yorkshire Geology Month. It also was in memory of two members of the Society Don Beveridge and Felix Whitham. The first time I did the triangular walk we were led by Don, though we started at a different corner of the triangle. Felix had published details of the sites we visited in Humberside Geologist and "Yorkshire Rocks and Landscape". We set off from Grannies Attic up the Arras hill stopping to view a disused quarry half way. Walking from the top of the Hill down the Wolds Way we could see all the way to the wind farm at Lissett and York Minster. . We stopped for lunch at the now overgrown Black Band exposure and as we bit into our sandwiches the skies opened with a hailstorm. We made a dash for Rifle Butts SSSI and were pleased that Don and Felix had worked so hard to get a shelter built there to protect the geology - it also keeps geologists dry! After the storm had cleared we stopped to look at the nearby springs before continuing along the Hudson Way to view the Kiplingcotes Railside Pit and nature reserve, on the way back to our vehicles. MH


Saturday 22nd May - South Ferriby Quarry led by Paul Hildreth. A tribute to Felix Whitham field meeting and part of Yorkshire Geology Month 2010. Unfortunately this meeting was cancelled.


Report of field trip to Filey Brigg on Sunday 13th June 2010 - A tribute to Felix Whitham.

The leader, Terry Rockett, writes - "A group of HGS members visited Filey Brigg to study the Corallian Rocks, their fossils and structure. We used field notes written by Felix when he led a trip in 1988. Unfortunately we were unable to reach the Lower Calcareous Grit (Ball Beds) because of access difficulty. However we did identify all the other strata using Felix's map and notes. We also found and identified a number of fossils described by him. The group also studied and discussed in detail the periglacial, glacial and post glacial features of the Brigg. Markers placed during earlier visits on either sides of some faults hoping to measure any recent movement were inconclusive at this time - these will be looked at in the future."

Reference -

Whitham F 1995. The geology and fauna of Filey Brigg, North Yorkshire. Humberside Geologist 11, 50-53.


The Corallian of the Malton area.

A report of the Felix Whitham Tribute Field Meeting of the Hull Geological Society on 2nd October 2010.

Seven members attended the event, meeting up with the leader, Richard Myerscough, at Malton Railway Station.

Richard first took us to two sites in Hildenley Woods. The "Main Quarry" was near the ruins of Hildenley Hall and contained a limekiln. The kiln was lined with bricks made locally from the Oxford Clay that was previously extracted in the valley. Richard told us that the Hildenley Limestone had been classified into five distinctive types and that type two was exposed here. It is a fine-grained micritic limestone, containing echinoids and oysters, that weathers to a pinkish colour. Richard suggested that the fine grained limestone was deposited in a fault-bound grabben in middle Oxfordian times and that the coarser, fossil-rich deposits seen elsewhere in the Vale of Pickering were formed in shallower areas where marine conditions were rougher. There were about 8 metres of it exposed here and under a bridge there was access to more. Here we saw bands of dark grey chert but no marl bands. We also observed fissures filled with clay and evidence of underground acid erosion of the limestone.

The top of the Hildenley Limestone was exposed in "the Boulder Quarry". A thick, hard, sparry limestone was exposed above an irregular erosion surface at the top of the Hildenley Limestone. This coarse limestone contained large intraclasts of the finer grained Hildenley Limestone as well as many broken fossils. Members found several large club-shaped cidarid spines.

After we had lunched at the Creswell Arms in Appleton-le-Street, we visited All Saints' Church and then drove to examine two more exposures. The first was a shallow cutting just off the road where Richard encouraged members to collect fossils from the Upper Leaf of the Hambleton Oolite. Examples of the echinoid Nucleolites scutata were found along with oysters, other bivalves and fossil wood. Specimens of cardioceratid ammonites were found by splitting open the thin blocks of limestone.

In a nearby disused quarry Richard pointed out the sequence of limestones. The Birdsall Calcareous Grit was sandwiched between the Upper and Lower Leafs of the Hambleton Oolite which overlays the Lower Calcareous Grit. The Lower Calcareous Grit contains large nodules which we were told are rich in rhynchonellid brachiopods. The meeting ended back at Malton where we examined the Coral Rag Member in a disused railway cutting. Here we found cidarid spines, pectenid bivalves, oysters and solitary corals in the rubbly oolite.

The Society's Secretary proposed a vote of thanks to the leader for organising the meeting. He said that Felix Whitham had frequently collected fossils from the Corallian of the Vale of Pickering and had led the Society on field trips to the area. He felt sure that Felix would have enjoyed Richard's trip and been pleased that geological research was continuing in the area.


Further reading recommended by the leader-

Blake J and W Hudleston. 1877. On the Corallian Rocks of England. Proceedings of the Geological Society

Fox - Strangways. C. 1881. The Geology of the Oolitic and Liassic Rocks to the North and West of Malton. Memoir of the Geological Survey

- 1892. The Jurassic Rocks of Britain. Memoir of the Geological Survey

Myerscough. R. 2005. Hildenley Limestone Project. Ryedale Vernacular Building Materials Research Group

Senior J (in Parsons) 1990. Hildenley Limestone: A Fine Quality Dimensional and Artefact Stone from Yorkshire. Phillimore Press.

Wright. J. 1972. The Stratigraphy of the Yorkshire Corallian. Grimston. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 39, 225-266.

- 2009. The Geology of the Corallian ridge (Upper Jurassic) between Gilling East and North Grimston, Howardian Hills, North Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 57, 193-216.


Report of the Field Meeting at Flamborough on Sunday 10th October 2010 by the leader Mike Horne.

Six members and guests attended the meeting, which was held in memory of Dr Felix Whitham.

The party walked east from South Landing towards Sand Hole. Mike told the party about the research that Felix had carried out with the members of the Hull Geological Society Centenary Chalk Project, which aimed to log the lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk. Mike thought that this site had the been most problematic in correlating the lithostratigraphy. The team had logged it in the winter of 1987-1988 and re-measured it in the winter of 1992-1992.

There is little apparent dip in the Chalk of the cliffs towards Green Stacks. The Chalk has no flints in it and there are many thin marl bands. Without flints or thick marl bands it was difficult to correlate the stratigraphy across the fault of South Landing bay. It was the late Lynden Emery who solved that problem by recognising two sequences of Chalk beds that he nicknamed "bricks" and "dry stone walling". Simply concentrating on the detailed measurements caused another problem and it was the late Donald Beveridge who recognised that we had measured part of the sequence three times! Whilst we were trying to correlate the thin marls across what we thought were faults, from the low tide line he realised that a large section of the cliff had simply slipped down as a complete block.

This part of the Chalk sequence is not rich in fossils and the biozonation is still in need of revision and clarification. The party closely searched the cliffs for fossils as it walked slowly back towards South Landing, which is why hard hats were required. No convincing specimens of the zonal marker Hagenowia anterior were seen, but we did spot several examples of the pea-like calcareous sponge Porosphaera along with broken fragments of starfish, crinoids, Inoceramids and oysters. Many stylolitic bedding planes were seen but most of the marls had been washed out of the cliff by the sea.

After lunch at the Ship Inn at Sewerby the party headed down the Steps towards the buried cliff. Here the youngest beds of the Chalk are exposed on the coast. The leader explained that the Centenary Project had not defined the biostratigraphy and that it is still largely based on the work of Rowe (1904), with some refinement by the Wright brothers (1942) and Chris Wood (1980). At the time of Felix's publication (1993) the ammonite Discoscaphites binodosus had only been seen at Sewerby in fallen blocks or high in the cliff. Consequently Felix placed the zonal boundary approximately near the top of the cliff. The leader had seen examples in situ on the wave cut platform more recently which, if the base of the sub-zone is taken at the first appearance of the ammonite, means that it begins lower than originally thought.

The party found examples of sponges, Echinocorys, belemnites and Inoceramus lingua in loose blocks of chalk. The sand was very high, both at Sewerby and South Landing, so there was little of the wave cut platform visible that weekend.

References -

Rowe A W 1904. The zones of the White Chalk of the English Coast. IV Yorkshire. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 18, 193-296.

Whitham F 1993. The Stratigraphy of the Upper Cretaceous Flamborough Chalk Formation, North of the Humber, north-east England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 49, 235-238.

Wood C J 1980. Upper Cretaceous. p92-105 of Kent P British Regional Geology. Geology of Eastern England from the Tees to the Wash. H.M.S.O. 155pp.

Wright C W & E V Wright 1942. The Chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 53, 112-127.



I wish to thank Anne Horne for her help in preparing this report.

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