5 Perseverance Hill
Perseverance Hill affords another magnificent 360 degree panorama of the surrounding landscape. Note the strong north-south alignment of the ridge itself. This is one of the best place to look at the features lying to the east in Worcestershire.
The view east
Looking east, you are able to view much of Worcestershire. Immediately below you is a very steep slope which represents the position a major fault line in the Earth’s crust. Beyond this steep slope, the extensive flat area is largely underlain by Triassic mudstones and siltstones. Occasional harder sandstones and limestones form low hills and ridges. Lying on top of the solid geology, the rivers Severn and Avon have created sequences of flat terraces.
Below, what this part of the world looked like in the Triassic.
East Malvern Fault
This important geological fault runs from the Bristol area northwards through the Malverns and into the West Midlands. It is rarely active nowadays, with only small earth tremors occurring occasionally. The last was the minor but memorable earthquake centred on the Dudley area in 2002.
The fault marks the western edge of a large down-faulted area known geologically as the Worcester Basin, which is in fact a type of rift valley called a graben. The opposite, eastern edge of the rift valley is now not visible. It lies deep underground, covered by other rocks in the Inkberrow area, about 25km away in the Cotswold hills. The total amount of down-faulting (the ‘throw’) of the rift valley is of the order of several thousand metres and was initiated in the Carboniferous period of time over 300 million years ago. The rift valley has been gradually filled up by younger rocks, including the Triassic rocks of the Severn valley and later, buried by the Jurassic rocks of the Cotswolds. You can find out more about all the various periods of geological time by touching the clock (in the app) at the top of the screen. It not only tells you the time today, but when you touch it, it opens up lots of information about geological periods of time right back to when the Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago!
The Ice Age
A large ice sheet once covered the whole of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. However, the higher parts of the Malverns, such as Perseverance Hill, probably stood above the ice. Later in the Ice Age, tundra-like conditions caused soil and rock debris to slide down hill on the Malvern Hills and elsewhere. Much of Malvern town is built on these deposits. In the Severn and Avon valleys, sequences of level river terraces were created during the Ice Age.
During the last Ice Age, two glaciations affected the Malvern area. In the first, about half a million years ago, the ice invaded the region from the north and the west, pressing against the Cotswold scarp, and the Malverns. In a second glaciation, about 25,000 years ago, the ice sheet reached only as far south as the Wolverhampton area. However it had a major effect on the landscape further south, by blocking the course of the upper Severn in the north Midlands, causing it to flow through the Ironbridge gorge to join the rivers of the modern lower Severn valley. As a result, there are now several distinct terraces in this valley which are primarily composed of sand and gravels washed down from glacial deposits further north. Some of the terraces contain important archaeological remains relating to Early humans and Ice Age animals.
Task Site 5 Question
In the distance you can see Bredon Hill. Do you think it is:
a) An exposed dome of granite
b) A volcano
c) Remnant of the Cotswold scarp
d) Man made