Ode to an abandoned quarry…No.1.

“Oh in thy darkest hour rest

Let Earth be thy humble grave

Remembering the glory days

For green and dewey grass

and willow trees and water

will comfort thee”

 

Lunnom Quarry

Lunnom Quarry in July 2005 (Photo: Leif Johansson)

I mourn the loss of the Lunnom Quarry, this classical Rhaetian (uppermost Triassic) excursion locality that was closed down in 2008. During the last couple of decades numerous geology students have visited the quarry and studied the quarry walls, where a ca 9m thick exposed coal-bearing succession opened a window into the past. There, we could observe how a once marine lagoonal clay had been turned into underclay as the sea had retreated and allowed the plants to invade and form a swamp on the former sea floor. Fossilized plant remains, large and small rootlets, tree trunks, leaves and seeds…the remnants of a 200 million year old dinosaur swamp. 

The coal at Lunnom was first mentioned in 1744 and for centuries the coal was economically important. However, since 1964 it was instead the aluminum-rich underclay that was quarried for high-quality ceramics.

When the quarry wasclosed down in 2008 it was due to environmental issues as acidic water from the claypit leaked into a nearby brook causing mass kill of fishes.

The Lunnom Quarry was also (and still is although it is no longer accessible) the type locality for the rare but beautiful dinoflagellate cyst, Lunnomidinium scaniense Lindström, which I described in 2002.

Lunnomidinium scaniense Lindström 2002

When I last visited the quarry site in the summer of 2010 it had turned into a small green lake, beautiful in its own way, but…

The Lunnom Quarry will be sorely missed by many geologists!

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