Barns Ness - Geological Walk
The rocks around this place are 320 million years old and belong to the Carboniferous Period. At that time Scotland was located south of the Equator with a tropical climate. The sea level kept rising and falling in the ice ages so the place was under water or a flat coastal plain.
You can find different sediments here like:
- Sandstone (forming a river delta)
- Mudstone (softer mudstones get eroded to form sandybeaches)
- Limestone (from a coral reef)
- Coal (from a forest)
Even lots of fossils can still be found like:
- Colonial and solitary Corals
The limestone at Barns Ness was quite important in the past and still is. When you follow the way you can see an old limekiln. Layers of coal and limestone were burnt here to create quicklime for agriculture. This dangerous work helps to increase the crop yield.
To the right of the coordinates you can find the UPPER LONGCRAIG LIMESTONE. It was quarried around this place for use in the limekiln and it is still quarried in the Dunbar Cement Works Quarry.
The Limestone is pale grey. One layer to the far right is made up almost entirely of a solitary fossil coral.
Looking forwards the lighthouse you will find the LOWER SKATERAW LIMESTONE. Close to the quarry, which is occasionally flooded, there is a promontory. Just below this point is a layer of darker limestone with lots of broken fossils of ancient sea lilies.
At the edge of the beach between here and the limekiln is a low cliff. There you can see a small layer of coal. Directly beneath this is a fossil soil. It is formed on the top of the "macaroni" and "spaghetti" limestone after the sea level fell and the area became dry land.
If you arrive at this place on a time of low tide you can see lots of basin shaped hollows each about one metre across. Look closely in the hollows and you will find some are partly filled by a grey rock called “seatearth”. This is a fossil wetland soil, full of preserved roots. The hollows are an original feature of the limestone, perhaps formed when the sea receded to expose the top of the limestone allowing a forest to grow on the newly exposed land. Perhaps each pothole is the location of the roots of an individual tree.
All information were taken from an old panel, which has been removed or from these two interesting flyers about the Barns Ness:
The removed panel
I made the photos during our Scotland Trip in May 2015.
Please answer the following questions and send your solutions to me per Messenger:
- Have a look at the cliff and describe two sediments you can find there.
- What did people do with the limestone in the past and what do they do right now with it?
- Look at the photo of the removed panel. There is another name for the sea lilies. What name is it?
- Search for some fossils and please make a picture of it (non-obligatory).
- Another picture of you or your GPS with the lighthouse in the background would be nice, too (non-obligatory).
You do not need to wait for a reply to log the cache. If there is a problem I will contact you.
!!! Attention !!!
You have to pay a car park charge. So do the EQ first, than vistit the lighthouse and have a nice day at the beautiful beach. :-)
This cache is placed with the kind permission of the East Lothian Council. Thanks to the Ranger-Team !!!