Market Lavington Geology

One of the most recent acquisitions at Market Lavington Museum is an Ordnance Survey geological map of the area. In some ways this item, originally published in the mid nineteenth century tells us about the oldest times in the area, for the underlying rock is the most ancient thing anywhere. Geological maps are based on the normal map, but overlaid in glorious technicolour, to indicate the rock underneath.The key alongside this shows most of the colours used on this map. Much of the area around Market Lavington is in some shade of green.High on Salisbury Plain we get upper chalk – soft and white and with many flint nodules.In the high and dry valleys on the downs, which formed in the ice ages, we have middle chalk, harder and white and with not all that much flint.

The lower slopes  and valleys of the downs are lower chalk which is grey and marly. In Market Lavington and Easterton these areas are referred to as ‘The Clays’.

The other green colour, to the north of the village, is upper greensand.

There are areas shaded in blue which is gault – marly, sandy clay.

As we get towards Potterne there are areas of gravel amd alluvium deposits.

 Here we see the area around Market Lavington and Easterton

Geological survey of the Lavington area at Market Lavington Museum

The mixed nature of the underlying rock in Lavington is what makes for the big variety in scenery, vegetation and farming. The rocks really do make our area what it is.

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2 Responses to “Market Lavington Geology”

  1. Ian Hodgson Says:

    I have started walking around the village and surrounding area and it is impossible to miss the surprising amount of sand. I would appreciate an explanation as it would seem to indicate some kind of inland sea or at least sand being brought from somewhere else and deposited. Could you explain this to me? I can’t seem to find a clear explanation of how this came about.

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Hi Ian

      It was, indeed, under the sea. All of the chalk hills, including Salisbury Plain are made of chalk which is the remains of shells from shell fish.

      But now you have to get into plate tectonics. The theory is that the crust of the earth (the top layer) is broken into slowly moving sections called plates. Just as when cars collide, when two plates move towards one another they crumple up. Some bits get raised up. As I understand it our area is an outer ripple from a plate ‘collision’ which threw up the Alps.

      I hope that helps and I hope that a real geologist can put me right.



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