Science Questions

Why are there fossils in some rocks but not others?

Sun, 14th Jan 2007

Part of the show Naked Science Q & A and the World of Chemistry

Question

Norman in Hunstanton asked:

The Hunstanton cliffs are made up of layers of white chalk, red chalk and the main part is sandstone at the base. Why are there fossils in the white chalk and the red chalk but none in the sandstone?

Answer

The sandstone was probably produced in the permian period when the country was basically a big desert. And then the rocks probably all dropped a few metres and was under water, which is when the chalk was deposited by little things under the sea. And then it's all been lifted up again to make the cliffs you know at the moment.

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