Shoreham Cement Works, Beeding Quarry

Sussex RIGS number: TQ20/101

Grid Reference: TQ202088

Owner:
In private ownership. Leased for building waste recycling by Dudman Group.
Planning permission for the recycling activities has been renewed from 5/10/2015 to 31/10/2019

Site access:
This site does not have public access. Permission from the tenant or owner is required for entry.

Summary Description:

22/09/2010
(from West Sussex RIGS Survey 2010)

Interest Feature(s)

Bedrock:
Large disused chalk quarry exposing sequence from lower Lewes Nodular Chalk to upper Seaford Chalk formations. The exposed sections of Lewes Chalk and Seaford Chalk formations are both about 50 m thick. The quarry is 1 km long and varies in width from 250-450m.

Stratigraphy:
Lower Lewes Nodular Chalk Formation (Ringmer Beds) to upper Seaford Chalk Formation (basal Haven Brow Beds), White Chalk Subgroup, late Cretaceous in age (including the Turonian-Coniacian and Coniacian-Santonian boundaries. Key marker beds exposed are the Navigation Hardgrounds and Marls, Lewes Marl and Flint Bands, Cuckmere and Seven Sisters Flint Bands, Belle Tout and Shoreham Marls.

Sedimentology:
Lewes Chalk - rhythmic sequence of soft chalks, nodular chalks and hardground chalks with thin marls and regular seams of flints; Seaford Chalk - homogeneous white chalk with regularly spaced seams of large flints. The quarry shows an excellent range of the possible sedimentological variations in the Chalk. Deposited in relatively deep marine environments.

Sedimentary structures:
Lewes Chalk - ‘Augen’ (eye-shaped structures) seen at base of Bridgewick Marls. Extensive burrows and trace fossils are present. Interlaced (griotte) marl seams are visible in the lowest sections. Tubular flints extend down to about 3 m below the Lewes Marl and dumbbell-shaped flints occur above it. Nodular horizons in the upper Lewes Chalk are often stained red with iron.

Palaeontology:
A wide variety of fossils have been found including zone fossils and unusual forms of some species which are important for correlation with other sites. This site has huge geodiversity of echinoids, bivalves, aragonitic fossils, brachiopods and many others.

Structural geology:
Rock fracture patterns are similar to Seaford Head. A conspicuous fault is visible on the eastern face, and inclined faults or shear planes are visible on the north and south faces. Downslope movement has developed overfold structures and gulls towards the Adur valley.

Geomorphology:
Faults and shear planes have been exploited by solution processes resulting in cavities and infilling by younger sediments.

Site access:
This site does not have public access. Permission from the tenant or owner is required for entry.

RIGS Designation Criteria:
Stratigraphy: the quarry, which has recently stopped working, is in the Lewes Nodular Chalk; Ringmer Beds (depending on backfilling), and up to the Seaford Chalk; basal Haven Brow Beds. It thus spans both the Turonian-Coniacian and the Coniacian-Santonian boundaries. Key marker beds exposed are the Navigation Hardgrounds and Marls, the Lewes Marl and Flint Bands, the Cuckmere and Seven Sisters Flint Bands, the Belle Tout and the Shoreham Marls.
Sedimentology: There is an excellent range of the possible sedimentological variation available in the Chalk at this quarry. One major feature is the rock band formed by the welding together of the three Navigation Hardgrounds. The chalk itself is soft in some units (eg above the Lewes Marls). The flints range from the remarkable Lewes Flints - the tubular or finger flints extending down through about 3m below the Lewes Marl, there are more dumbell-shaped flints above the Lewes Marl, and above these are found the Cuilfail Zoophycos (trace fossil) flints. At the lowest sections interlaced (griotte) marl seams are visible. The easily accessible Bridgewick Marls pick out burrows and other disturbances in the chalk.
Sedimentary Structures: Chalk ‘Augen’ (eye shaped structures) are seen at the base of the Bridgewick Marls, and extensive burrows and trace fossils such as Thalassinoides and Zoophycos (in flint) are seen elsewhere. The Cliffe, Hope Gap and Beeding Flints are well developed and many of the fossils close to the major fractures with karst features show Liesegang-banding. In the upper half of the Lewes Chalk there are nodular horizons often stained red with iron.
Palaeontology: Many fossils have been found in this quarry and, in particular, a variety of zone fossils and unusual forms of echinoids, inoceramids, ammonites and brachiopods which are important in correlating beds with other sites. Fossils are helping with research into the exact relationship of individual beds in the condensed Chalk Rock with the expanded Sussex sequences.
Structural Geology: the structural geology is interesting; showing similar rock fracture patterns as those at Seaford Head. There is also a conspicuous normal fault on the eastern wall with a 4m downthrow expanded into cavities by solution which carries much water in winter. This fault can be traced in air photographs. There are over-fold structures indicating down-slope creep and development of gulls towards the Adur Valley. Within the Cliffe and Hope Gap Beds are marl seams containing shattered flints and other lithoclastic debris indicating widespread tectonic disturbance.
Geomorphology: Many of the faults and main inclined shear planes have been exploited by periglacial and solution processes resulting in large quantities and variety of sediments infilling them (eg sands, red clays, Clay-with-flints), penetrating to considerable depth.
Educational value: This quarry possesses the best section in the Lewes Member in Sussex, and in conjunction with the Small Beeding Quarry provides a complete sequence. The level of the Turonian-Coniacian boundary (around the Navigation Beds) has potential for assisting boundary research if certain key fossils can be found. The expanded sequences are of importance in Chalk Rock correlation research, and the geomorphological features and view from the top are good.

1: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Overview of Shoreham Cement Works Quarry and the Adur Valley from the South Downs Way on Annington Hill.
Photo taken: 16/07/2010
Grid ref TQ17440907
Direction ESE

2: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Overview from head (eastern end) of quarry. The faces in the upper quarrry are cut mainly in Seaford Chalk and up to 50m high.
Photo taken: 17/08/2010
Grid ref TQ20890911
Direction WSW

3: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Head of upper quarry with faces cut in Seaford Chalk. Shows well-developed flint seams in upper face (Cuckmere Beds).
Photo taken: 17/08/2010
Grid ref TQ20860913
Direction SSE

4: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Benches of lower quarry with upper quarry in background. Lower benches are cut in Lewes Chalk and higher benches in Seaford Chalk. The face on the right is up to 70m high.
Photo taken: 22/09/2010
Grid ref TQ20170896
Direction ESE

5: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Southern face of lower quarry up to 70m high. The upper two benches are cut in Seaford Chalk and the lower benches in Lewes Chalk.
Photo taken: 22/09/2010
Grid ref TQ20530886
Direction SSW

6: West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

West Sussex Local Geological Sites - Shoreham Cement Works

Upper part of quarry with faces up to 50m high exposing Seaford Chalk.
Photo taken: 22/09/2010
Grid ref TQ20530886
Direction ENE


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