Bunter quartzites: remarkable journeys in time and space



Quartzite pebbles and cobbles, commonly known as Bunter quartzites, are widely dispersed throughout southern Britain. They can be traced back to Early Triassic pebble beds outcropping in the Wessex Basin and the English Midlands. Derived fossils within the quartzites confirm that most, if not all, were derived from Ordovician and Devonian terrains, over what is now the general region of the Armorican peninsula of north-west France. In Early Triassic times that area of ancient rocks formed part of a chain of young Variscan mountains which were subject to a monsoonal climate, and shed vast quantities of eroded quartzite. Ultimately, this debris was transported northwards into what is now southern Britain, by the Budleighensis river system.