Key Contributors

© Craven & Pendle Geological Society

John Phillips

The present understanding of Carboniferous geology in the UK is in part attributed to the work of people such as Phillips, Garwood & Goodyear, Bisat, Ramsbottom and Riley. Below I shall attempt to summarise briefly the contributions of these eminent geologists'.

John Phillips (1836)

Phillips first recognised the Carboniferous limestone of the Yorkshire Dales. He put together the sequence Basement Beds, Great Scar Limestone, Yoredale Beds, and Millstone Grit noting the fact that they rest unconformably on Lower Palaeozoic rocks. The distinction between Carboniferous limestone and Millstone Grit was an important part of Phillip's work. He also introduced the term Bowland Shales.

In addition, Phillips was the first person to use the term "Block & Basin" as a method of distinguishing horizontally bedded limestones to the north of Settle and the Craven Faults from the thicker argillaceous rocks found in the Craven Basin. Phillip's work as so comprehensive that official surveyors and cartographers accepted the work without question. For nearly a century no further attempt was made to subdivide the Great Scar Limestone.

Nick Riley Ph.D (BGS)

In 1841, using William Smith's (John Phillip's uncle) principle of identifying rock formations with fossils, Phillips divided the fossil record into three major geological eras: Palaeozoic (Old Life- age of fish), Mesozoic (Middle Life - age of reptiles) and Cainozoic: now called Cenozoic (New Life - Age of Mammals).

Garwood & Goodyear (1924)

As a consequence of Vaughan's (1905) work on zoning Carboniferous rocks of the Avon Gorge using corals and brachiopods, Garwood (1913) and more comprehensively Garwood & Goodyear (1924) produced a monumental work in subdividing the Great Scar Limestone using faunal marker horizons. They also recognised that the limestone lapped up against and eventually submerged the Lower Palaeozoic landscape.

W.S. Bisat

During the early 1900's Wheelton Hind pioneered the use of goniatites in zoning Carboniferous rocks. He died suddenly in 1920 and fortunately had passed his notes on to William Sawney Bisat. Bisat's work, to many people, was the single most important contribution to Namurian stratigraphy. Prior to his work there had been gross miscorrelations of the Millstone Grits. His major contribution was his epic paper in 1924 on "The Carboniferous goniatites of the north of England and their zones". This brought Bisat international recognition. It is interesting to note that Bisat was an amateur having been in the employment of H. Arnold & Son until he retired!

More on its way . . . .