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Geological timeline leads the way to new BGS office

Visitors to the new British Geological Survey office in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire will be able to take a quick walk through geological history on the way, following the official opening today by UK government chief scientist Sir John Beddington.

The BGS has lined the 130m walkway to its new James Hutton Building with rocks and paving stones to represent the 3bn years of the UK’s geological succession. The Geological Walkway is laid out to represent the different geological time periods, with 40 different types of rock used.

According to the BGS, every step of the way tells a different story starting from a period before life began through to the last great ice age, along the way encountering forbidding deserts, tropical seas and a land stalked by dinosaurs.

Large boulders of archetypal rocks are scattered throughout the walkway from a 3bn year old, 15t boulder of Lewisian Gneiss from the Outer Hebrides. Smartphone users can use QR Codes to help identify the rocks as they take a stroll back to the future.

The new building is located at 3bn years on the timeline with a representation of the unconformity at Siccar Point, which gave James Hutton the proof that the ‘present is the key to the past’ and that our geological past can be explained with reference to present day processes.

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