Compared to most other parts of Britain the rocks of Essex and adjoining counties are young in geological terms. Even the oldest surface rock in Essex (the Chalk) is only about 80 million years old. Much older rocks are, however, present at depth (see ‘The Basement of Essex’). We have some idea about these ancient rocks because of the records of boreholes that have been sunk in search of coal and oil.
The surface rocks of Essex that were formed before the Ice Age (from the Chalk to the Red Crag) are described as the ‘bedrock’ or ‘solid’ geology. Much of this bedrock geology is concealed beneath the deposits left behind by glaciers and rivers during the Ice Age. The material laid down during the Ice Age is known as ‘Superficial’ or ‘drift’ deposits.
For details of specific time periods in Essex geological history, click the links below: