Welcome to Totternhoe Escarpement. Best to visit on a clear day to take advantage of the spectacular views. This escarpement is part of the Dunstable Downs hill range at the north-eastern edge of the Chiltern hills.
The chalk downlands forming the Dunstable downs were formed around 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous geological period. Chalk is a relatively soft sedimentary rock. A form of limestone, chalk is composed of calcite or CaCO3. Formed in, relatively, deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of skeletons of micro-organisms called coccolithophores.
At the published co-ordinates you are at the top of one of the Totternhoe escarpments. It faces, roughtly, north with views out to Leighton Buzzard and beyond. To the north-east you will see the escarpement loop north on a spur upon which Totternhoe castle was constructed. To the east is another escarpement looping back to the north.
Directly in front of you is a dramatic drop down the scarp. In front of that is a field of level ground or "lynchete" before you come to the Totternhoe Knolls. A former quarry for Totternhoe stone it is now a nature reserve. Beyond that another scarp drops to the Ouzel Brook vally floor.
An escarpement is an area where the land level changes dramatically as is the case here. Escarpements are usually created through erosion or because of a geological fault line.
To log this Earthcache email, through my profile, your answers to the following questions.
1. At the published co-ordinates estimate the height difference between the bottom of the scarp and the top.
2. Turn 180 degrees and describe the land behind the scarp; is it the same?
3. What process do you think created this landform? You may need to use some research to find the answer.
Optional. Take a photograph of you or your GPS at the published co-ordinates.
Please do not reveal any of the answers in your logs. Any logs containing answers will be deleted without warning.