Chalk Group

Brass Point, one of the Seven Sisters
The Needles, (Isle of Wight); part of southern England's extensive chalk outcrop.
Fossil echinoid Echinocorys from the Chalk Group of England
Contact between two units of the lithostratigraphy of South England: the Chalk Group (left, white, upper unit) and the Greensand Formation (right, green, lower unit). Location: Lulworth Cove, near West Lulworth, Dorset, England.
The Wealden Anticline.
Ivinghoe Beacon, Chiltern Hills

Lithostratigraphic unit (a certain number of rock strata) which contains the Upper Cretaceous limestone succession in southern and eastern England.

- Chalk Group

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Beachy Head

Brass Point, one of the Seven Sisters

Beachy Head is a chalk headland in East Sussex, England.

Chiltern Hills

Chalk escarpment in England.

Chalk visible in ploughed soil at the foot of the Chiltern Hill escarpment near Shirburn on the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire border
Viewed from The Ridgeway: eastern trailhead on Ivinghoe Beacon
Stokenchurch Gap, a cutting built to carry the M40 motorway through a section of the Chiltern Hills
Bottle kiln in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire (probably late 17th-century)
Watlington Town Hall
Vernacular architecture of the Chilterns is preserved at the Chiltern Open Air Museum

The Chiltern Hills are part of a system of chalk downlands throughout eastern and southern England, formed between 65 and 95 million years ago, comprising rocks of the Chalk Group; this also includes Salisbury Plain, Cranborne Chase, the Isle of Wight and the South Downs in the south.

White Cliffs of Dover

Region of English coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France.

Extent of the White Cliffs of Dover
The cliffs' multiple layers of flint match those seen across the channel at Cap Gris Nez, France, evidence of a land connection between England and France in prehistoric times.
Evidence of erosion along the cliff top
Landslide near Dover Harbour, June 2012
Exmoor ponies in their native habitat
Peregrine falcon off the cliffs
Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)
The Roman lighthouse at Dover Castle.
Dover Castle with the cliffs in the foreground — circa 1890 to 1900
South Foreland lighthouse
White Cliffs of Dover, seen from France
Samphire Hoe Country Park with local railway and tunnel (not the Channel Tunnel which is nearby).
Shakespeare Cliff, Dover ca. 1905
Lighthouse in Dover
Dover Castle
White Cliffs of Dover footpath
Folkestone and Dover from the International Space Station, showing the White Cliffs and the tracks of ferries.
Vintage photo taken by Walter Mittelholzer, Swiss photographer and aviator, 1933.

British chalk deposits are considered stratigraphically to belong in the Chalk Group.


Soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock.

The Needles, situated off the Isle of Wight, are part of the extensive Southern England Chalk Formation.
"Nitzana Chalk curves" situated at Western Negev, Israel, are chalk deposits formed in the Mesozoic era's Tethys Ocean
Open chalk pit, Seale, Surrey, UK
Chalk from the White Cliffs of Dover, England
Former underground chalk mine in Meudon, France
Chalk in different colors
Child drawing with sidewalk chalk

The Chalk Group is a European stratigraphic unit deposited during the late Cretaceous Period.


Iron potassium phyllosilicate mineral of characteristic green color which is very friable and has very low weathering resistance.

The Glauconitic Marl formation is named after it, and there is a glauconitic sandstone formation in the Mannville Group of Western Canada.

Salisbury Plain

Chalk plateau in the south western part of central southern England covering 300 sqmi.

Stonehenge, the most famous antiquity on Salisbury Plain
Rough map of military training area (green) on Salisbury Plain within Wiltshire (blue) (it accounts for about half the area of Salisbury Plain)
Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain
Military use makes some areas of the plain inaccessible to the public.
Typical grassland at Netheravon Down.
The burnt-tip orchid (Neotinea ustulata) can be found on Salisbury Plain
The Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina)
The cuckoo bee Nomada armata
The fairy shrimp Chirocephalus diaphanus
The stone curlew

It is part of a system of chalk downlands throughout eastern and southern England formed by the rocks of the Chalk Group and largely lies within the county of Wiltshire, but stretches into Hampshire.

Alpine orogeny

Orogenic phase in the Late Mesozoic and the current Cenozoic that has formed the mountain ranges of the Alpide belt.

Tectonic map of southern Europe and the Middle East, showing tectonic structures of the western Alpide mountain belt

Its effects are particularly visible on the Isle of Wight, where the Chalk Group and overlying Eocene strata are folded to near-vertical, as seen in exposures at Alum Bay and Whitecliff Bay, and on the Dorset coast near Lulworth Cove.

North Downs

The North Downs are a ridge of chalk hills in south east England that stretch from Farnham in Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent.

Geology of the South East, chalk is light green (6)
View from North Downs towards Reigate
The exposed chalk workings of the former Betchworth Quarry on the south-facing scarp slope of Box Hill.
A cross-section, showing the Weald Anticline, and relating it to the towns of Kent
Lady orchids growing in calcaerous woodland and scrub, Denge Wood.
Kit's Coty House, a chambered long barrow near Aylesford, Kent, was constructed circa 4000 BCE.
Looking east across Denbies Wine Estate towards Box Hill near Dorking, Surrey.
The North Downs at the Wye Downs National Nature Reserve
The North Downs above Hollingbourne.
A marker on the North Downs Way, Ranscombe Farm, Cuxton, Kent
Bluebells at Ranscombe Farm
Looking East, typical downland scenery in the Medway Gap, Ranscombe Farm
A dry valley on the dip slope of the North Downs near Hucking
Woodland on the North Downs at the Hucking Estate
Typical chalk downland trail near Hollingbourne
A modern metal trail marker near Harrietsham
A view South across the Kent Weald from the North Downs Way near Detling

The Chalk Group, composed almost entirely of chalk, a soft, fine-grained limestone. These strata have their origins in the late Cretaceous (approximately 100 – 66 million years ago). For the entirety of this period, south east England was covered by a warm, shallow sea in which coccolithophores, single-celled algae with small calcite skeletons, thrived. As the phytoplankton died, their calcium-rich shells were deposited on the sea bed and, over time were compressed to form rock. The chalk of the North Downs is generally divided into three distinct stata: The Upper Chalk, which has many flints; the Middle Chalk, with fewer flints; and the Lower Chalk or Coombe Rock, greyish, with few flints. The chalk is most commonly exposed on slopes or as cliffs, where the overlying acidic strata have been quarried or washed away. The buried upper surface of the chalk beneath the acidic strata is often eroded into pipes, gulleys and pinnacles, sometimes visible in road cuttings and quarries.


The Maastrichtian is, in the ICS geologic timescale, the latest age (uppermost stage) of the Late Cretaceous Epoch or Upper Cretaceous Series, the Cretaceous Period or System, and of the Mesozoic Era or Erathem.

Rendzina soil on the Maastrichtian Chalk in Kozubów Landscape Park, Poland
Fossil of Hemipneustes leymeriei Muséum de Toulouse
Maastrichtian landscape

The Maastrichtian was introduced into scientific literature by Belgian geologist André Hubert Dumont in 1849, after studying rock strata of the Chalk Group close to the Dutch city of Maastricht.

Dorset Downs

Area of chalk downland in the centre of the county Dorset in south west England.

The top of the downs from above Cerne Abbas, looking south east towards the River Piddle valley
Map of Dorset, including the Dorset Downs, showing the geology

The downs are the most western part of a larger chalk formation which also includes (from west to east) Cranborne Chase, Salisbury Plain, Hampshire Downs, Chiltern Hills, North Downs and South Downs.