Devonian in Cornwall

I’m an adopted Devonian, but I’m talking geology here. A trip to see a friend in Cornwall gave me the chance to visit the cove at Lansallos (near Polperro). A sunny day had brought out trippers in their dozens, so I didn’t stay long (empty beaches for me, every time!). But I couldn’t pass up the chance to take some photos of the wonderful rocks here, even at a fairly high tide.

The cliffs are a gloriously streaked fine mudstone of Devonian age (part of the Dartmouth Group, river sediments deposited on a lake bed). In enchanting shades of soft green and reddish-purple, the sea has worn them into abstract patterns, stripes and swirls, sometimes marked by quartz veins and lenses. The green comes from reduced iron and the purple from oxidised iron in the sediment; I find it fascinating that lithification has set these different chemical states for over 400 million years.

I also enjoyed looking at the limpid blue-green of the sea. Coming from the borders of East Devon, the sea is often murky with sediment, so seeing the clarity of the water was a real treat.

Lansallos, Cornwall, England, PL13 2PX, United Kingdom