Rocks are naturally occurring material composed of minerals.

There three main rock types: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous.

Limestone landscapes[edit | edit source]

Limestone solution: Limestone is made up of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), originally formed from the skeletons of microscopic sea creatures in tropical seas many millions of years ago. Limestone landforms (sometimes called 'karst scenery') are highly distinctive. They form by erosion because limestone rocks gradually dissolve.

Rainwater is naturally slightly acidic (approx pH 6) because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere combines with water to form carbonic acid: CO2 + H2O → H2CO3.

When this acidic rain falls onto limestone, it reacts with the limestone to form calcium bicarbonate, which is carried away in solution: H2CO3 + CaCO3 → Ca(HCO3)2.

Limestone pavements (clints and grykes)

Sinkholes and swallowholes

Springs (resurgences)



Stalactites and stalagmites

Case study area Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.

Granite landscapes[edit | edit source]


Igneous intrusions (sills and dykes)


Case study areas Dartmoor in Devon, and the Cairngorms in the Scottish Highlands.

Chalk and clay landscapes[edit | edit source]


Scarp and dip slopes

Dry valleys

Case study areas the North Downs - Box Hill in Surrey (near Juniper Hall), and the South Downs in Sussex.

Quarrying[edit | edit source]

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