Thursday, 30 June 2022

Clunch - and its origins …

 

Clunch – this soft-stone building material used in Berwick Church … was created by the inundation of much of southern England, beginning 115 million years ago during the 'Cretaceous Period'.


Beachy Head, on the edge of Eastbourne ...
the Sussex Downs stretching westwards
towards Brighton and on ... 

At that stage in earth's history the sea covered most of Britain and Europe … it is estimated that 98 million years ago the sea level was more than 20 metres (60.6 feet) higher than it is today …




Cross Section of Wealden Down - showing
the wearing away of sands, Gault clay and
chalk of the Downs

it was a period with a relatively warm climate resulting in this high sea level, as well as numerous shallow inland seas.



Global distribution of coccolithosphores
in the oceans


The world was ice-free, forests extended to the poles … while different life forms waned and new ones appeared …




False-colour scanning electron micrograph of
Gephyrocapsa oceania, showing the coccoliths


and the extensive beds of chalk were laid down from the shells of minute marine invertebrates, principally coccoliths, found in calcium carbonate in the waters.






Examples of Four Invertebrates
Different Phyla are:  a Cnidarian;
an Arthropod; a Mollusk; and an Annelid
The Totternhoe stone was formed from the Grey Chalk sub-group – this period occurred between 98.5 million and 93.5 million years ago – and is recognised as a slightly stronger stone, than the fine dusty chalk we have here on the south coast, which is purer and thus more white.



Berwick Church from the east

So in warmer times many moons ago England's white cliffs of Dover, our Sussex Downs coastline were being created … and the term 'clunch' was established.


Post on Berwick Church and how the 'Clunch stone' has been used in the restoration ...


Hilary Melton-Butcher

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24 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you so much for continuing my education. In the most delightful (and decidedly eclectic) way.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I recall now learning this in Geography at school... but if you'd have pressed me to remember, I'd have failed! YAM xx

Sandra Cox said...

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing, Hils.
Cheers,

hels said...

Beachy Head is so perfect, I assumed it was made by nature then perfected by humans for the tourists. But is it dangerous? I cannot see a fence.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - thanks ... I appreciate you enjoy the rabbit holes I post about and they are eclectic, aren't they ...

@ Yam - well good for you ... the only subject I was reasonable at was Geography ... but I don't remember stones - I guess I learnt about chalk.

@ Sandra - thanks for being here ...

@ Hels - Beachy Head is all natural as is shown in the photos above ... no improvement needed. It is dangerous if you're near the edge, and also if you're walking under/near the cliffs ... as the chalk has large fissures - and fairly often huge 'crumbles' occur. People have been killed by falling over, or by the cliff edge giving way, or being buried underneath - let alone Beachy Head's notoriety as a suicide spot - the drop is over 500 feet.

It's stunning, but can be dangerous if one isn't wise to the potential danger. It couldn't be fenced - too long and the chalk isn't stable ... so signs are put out ... but really people should have more common sense - shouldn't they?

Thanks for your visits ... cheers Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Thanks for this, Hilary, it is all very interesting. I shall try to inject this new knowledge into a conversation somewhere to impress people with my erudition. (I might fool them for a minute if I am lucky!). The word itself is quite lovely, and I can only imagine it being used in the accent of one of those heavy, flat dialects of the north of England. It would add to the impact. Maybe if ever I clinch a deal again, or get in a clinch with someone, I will substitute clunch and give myself an inner chuckle. Ah, the things that amuse me!

Dan said...

Thanks for the interesting historic details, Hilary. I love learning about stuff like this. Today, we look and marvel, but it was millions of years in the making.

Jeff said...

The cliffs of Dover are beautiful and unique. Thanks for teaching us more about them and this geological feature, as well as adding to our vocabulary.

Jacqui Murray said...

Definitely interesting. I love this sort of paleo-geology.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

This was interesting

Liz A. said...

Interesting stuff.

retirementreflections said...

I had never heard of 'clunch' before. Thank you for the continuing education!

Damyanti Biswas said...

Wow, this has been so informative, thanks for sharing this Hilary!:D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - I hope you have a happy conversation over 'clunch' ... I couldn't find the etymological history of the word, which frustrates me ... Oddly it's a southern building material ... it will enjoy the addition of a Canadian dialect ... while using 'in a clunch' instead of clinch would be an interesting change - one wonders the effect on the outcome of the potential clinch?!

@ Dan - you're right ... our earth is an extraordinary world ... taking those millions and millions of years to build up. London has three feet of Roman 'dark earth' overlying the present surface ... and each continent is constantly on their own move ...

@ Jeff - thanks for your kind thoughtful comment - it's good to meet you ...

@ Jacqui - yes I know you love your paleo-geology ...

@ Jo-Anne - thank you ...

@ Liz - thank you ...

@ Donna - I hadn't heard of clunch either, til the Church used the stone to build the new airlock porch - then I needed to look it up - as you'd expect ...

@ Damyanti - the earth's land mass has changed so much over millennia - while the continents are constantly on the move ... imperceptibly to us ... but on the move ... I find it all fascinating ...

Thanks so much for you all your comments and thoughts - cheers Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

Once again you've told me about things I should have known but didn't, particularly as I live close by! A really interesting piece, Hilary.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Fascinating stuff! Thanks so much for sharing. Amazing how we know all this now.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - we do live in a wonderful part of the world - while the chalk has its early history ... so pleased you enjoyed the post ...

@ JL - thank you - it is, I agree, interesting that we have so much learning available to us ...

Thanks to both of you - cheers Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

It's fascinating to consider the awe-inspiring forces that created the landscape we see around us.

Inger said...

One always learns something new, reading your posts. I always found those cliffs amazing, you wonder why them, why there. Hope you are doing well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick ~ yes and you would know this area well … from your time down here- and if one considers the duration of the planet from its birth to now … so much has happened to the earth …

@ Inger - I expect you came down here from your Kent/Sussex host family for the odd day out. It is beautiful … gorgeous countryside, with some interesting history around too. The white chalk geology is here, because that’s how the planet upheavals occurred and the minerals developed. All well here … some happy summer sun!!

Cheersto you both - Hilary

D.G. Kaye said...

This was fascinating Hilary. I've seen the white cliffs in Dover and wondered how history had created them. <3

Sandra Cox said...

Beachy Head looks magnificent. I'd love to visit it sometime.
Cheers,

Haddock said...

The crustacean period is interesting. Now I know how the term 'clunch' was established.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Debby - thank you ... our white cliffs are pretty impressive aren't they ... and wonderful to live nearby ... I hope this post enlightened you as to how they came about over 'deep geological time' ...

@ Sandra - Beachy Head is very eye-catching ... it'd be great to see you here for a visit ...

@ Haddock - thanks so much ... the time frame is so long that these beds of chalk are quite extraordinary ... especially made from these microscopic creatures over millions of years ...

Thanks to you all - cheers Hilary