The diverse geology of the Humber river catchment helps us to characterise structural frameworks and facies across the east Midlands shelf. Our research focuses on the stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Permo-Triassic Sherwood Sandstone Group and how this may affect the sandstone's ability to yield water or provide adequate foundation conditions for buildings. We are also investigating how historic human exploitation of the Pennine coalfield in Leeds is impacting on people in the 21st Century.
The geology of the Humber river catchment includes several Upper Carboniferous coalfields, economically valuable Permian evaporite (salt) deposits, major Triassic sandstone aquifers, and a variable but sometimes thick succession of comparatively young Quaternary sediments laid down by glaciers, rivers and wind.
The Leeds – Humber catchment project is primarily interested in the study of the Sherwood Sandstone Group, which is a 300 – 400 m thick succession of sand and in lesser amounts gravel, silt and clay. The Sherwood Sandstone Group is a sedimentary succession that was originally deposited in the Triassic (approx. 250 million years ago) in a dry and hot climate. The sediment that formed the Sherwood Sandstone Group was deposited by huge, wind blown sand dunes and by a series of ephemeral rivers that flowed and migrated over much of England's ancient landscape. This compacted sediment is responsible for some well known features like the brilliantly exposed cliff at Nottingham Castle.
As part of the Leeds – Humber project we are interested in the rock properties of the Sherwood Sandstone Group and how they vary within the succession. Central to the research aim of the project is to better understand the stratigraphical relationship of the formations that comprise the Sherwood Sandstone Group and also to better define and understand the sedimentology of the entire group.
This research will produce work that will help characterise the internal variation in rock type and properties within the Sherwood Sandstone Group, which has huge implications to numerous areas such as:
As well as the applied aspects of this research, the ability to study the ancient environments that deposited the Sherwood Sandstone Group and how they changed through time allows us an important insight into how the landscape we see today was influenced by past events and environments.
Team leader: Ed Hough.