You are standing on the site of Scotland's first industrial estate, all based on COAL.
During the Carboniferous period, this area would have seen even more rainfall and mud than today. The area was covered in swamps and shallow seas. Plants that died sank into the water and mud, where their decomposition was slowed. Peat bogs formed out of the decaying plants.
Over millions of years the sea level rose and fell, allowing for the build up of peat at some times, and the deposition of sediment by water at others.
Peat becomes coal through being buried and compacted by sediment, which squeezes out water. As more and more material buries the peat, and through heat and time, the peat gradually changes through lignite to coal. Around 10 vertical feet of peat is required to make 1 vertical foot of coal.
Over millions of years, the land has been tilted and folded, then eroded to form the present landscape.
Coal has been mined in this area for centuries, and its production on this site drove a number of other industries. You can see the history of these industries here, and trace how the presence of coal and other rocks, as well as the landforms, have affected development of this "industrial estate".
The whole area has been developed as a free open-air museum. Access is available all year, but the Visitor Centre and Cafe are only open April-September, Monday - Sunday, 11:30am - 4:30pm.
To log this earthcache, please email the cache owner through the profile with answers to the following questions BEFORE logging the find. You do not need to wait for a reply, I will contact you if there is a problem with your answers.
From information given at the site, AND from your own observations,
- Who is first recorded as mining coal in this area, and when?
- Coal has been described as "buried sunshine". Can you explain why this is a good description?
- Waypoints COAL1 and COAL2 are at structures required for the coal mining. Describe the structures and state what they tells us about the underground geology.
- Industries present at this site include:
Match the waypoints IND1, IND2 and IND3 to these industries, stating what contribution the local geology and landforms made to each one.
- A - Brick production
- B - Salt and chemicals
- C - Glass and pottery
- Optional please post a photo with your favourite piece of industrial archaeology