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The remarkable nature of Dorset's geology owes much to the structures which underlie the county. These can be shown to have controlled sedimentation over the last 280 million years. The Mesozoic and Cenozoic Formations were laid down in environments ranging from terrestrial to marine and include the stratotypes for the Kimmeridge Clay, Portland Sand, Portland Stone and Purbeck Limestone Formations as well as a number of others within the extensive Tertiary sequence at the western end of the Hampshire Basin. The early literature on Dorset and its geology was greatly encouraged by fossil collectors such as the Anning family in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They provided a wealth of new material for the academics of the day to work on (Taylor and Torrens 1987). The tectonic history of the area, with structures including faults and major folds, is superbly revealed on the coast. The county is famed for the geomorphological wonder of the Chesil Beach, the classic landforms of the Isle of Purbeck, and the immense landslips in the west. Both sediments and structures have been the subject of recent research inland and offshore in the search for oil and gas. At present this and the challenge of new ideas on the earth's mobile crust have meant that the extensive pool of published data is being rapidly augmented.

Whitaker and Strahan's bibliography of works on Dorset geology in the Geology of the Isle of Purbeck and Weymouth (Strahan 1898) has provided the only major work on the published literature before the twentieth century. Later the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society carried a series of valuable reviews of research literature for the decades 1930-40 (Arkell l940a), 1940-50 (Arkell 1951) and 1950-60 (House 1963g). In addition the Geological Survey Memoirs for the Country around Bridport and Yeovil (Wilson et al. 1958) and Weymouth, Swanage, Corfe and Lulworth (Arkell 1947 and later editions) have all aided to the sources from which literature searches may start.

We have long been aware that, valuable though the above works are for researchers into aspects of Dorset's geology. they provide only a partial review of the literature and are far from up to date. The lists for the three decades (see above) and the palaeontological review in Wilson et al (1958) provide the only subject indices.

This bibliography was started in 1978 when one of us (PCE), newly arrived at the Dorset County Museum, began to build a working index to the geological articles in the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society (formerly the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club) to assist with work on the geological collections in the museum. Soon after this small beginning Jo Thomas became involved and over the intervening 10 years has taken an ever increasing proportion of the work load on her shoulders. Without her enthusiasm and sustained pressure this work would not be where it is now.

Structure and scope of the bibliography

The bibliogrqrhy is a list of scientific papers, reports and articles etc. in alphabetical order of author name with a comprehensive subject index. The index is normally based on title with the compilers' own assessment of the content of the article in question and is cross referenced to open up as many lines of enquiry as possible. As always in such matters an ability to think laterally is an asset. The list includes the biographies and obituaries of many geologists. These have normally been included not only under their authors where known (Anon. where not) but also in [ ] under the name of the geologist concemed. In the General index under Field meetings references to the Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society where a volume number is given, are not to be found in the bibliography.

We have drawn the references from both primary sources (see Appendices 2 and 3) and from bibliographies and lists of references in other works with the inevitable risks that brings. Wherever possible these 'lifted references' have been checked. Where works have not been checked by the compilers they are normally marked #. We owe a considerable debt of gratitude to so many authors whose bibliographies we have combed for references and take this opportunity to apologise for any inadvertent infringement of copyright.

The compilers have searched as widely as possible but would be the first to admit that amongst the many hundreds of references there will be omissions, more especially from amongst the newspapers where a complete search has not been possible in the time available (see Appendix 2). In addition there may be references which have no right to be there at all. We implore all who use this volume to write to the compilers care of the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, Dorset, DTl 1XA, with any corrections/additions.

The journals which have been searched by the compilers are listed in Appendix 3.


Despite being aware of the likely proliferation of the same stories in numbers of different newspapers and the resulting duplication, in this volume we have been keen to try and include as much information from as far back as possible. If nothing else such detail will provide an interesting insight and commentary on our, or more specifically the press's, reaction to a variety of geological stories.

Only through hours of painstaking searching by volunteers has this side of the project been taken as far as it has. Appendix 2 provides a list of the titles and dates of newspapers which have been searched between 1778 and 1953. Most of the articles gleaned are anonymous and we have therefore placed the Anon section separately at the beginning of the author list, in date order. These dates in both bibliography and index are structured as follows: Where only the year is known that is all that is given. If the year and the month are known the following form is adopted: year.month.00.

We apologise to any writer whose name has inadvertently been missed. Where the writer of a newspaper article is known the reference is placed in the normal alphabetical order. The occasional article may have been missed, given the nature of newspapers and the hours of concentration required to locate such references in column after column of faint and mesmerising print.

In addition to the older runs (pre 1953) we have drawn on the considerable collection of cuttings held in the museum. This collection is subjective depending on who is searching the local papers, and current interests such as fossil collecting and attempts to control it, pebble picking or oil field developments. The result of this is rather patchy cover. However the range of details so far uncovered leads us to believe that this information is significant and will increase in interest in years to come.

Other sources

Apart from the published sources available to us (books, journals, magazines, newspapers) we have listed a variety of unpublished information. This includes PhD, MSc and BSc theses (including some in preparation noted from the Herrington List 1985) and supporting documents for some recent planning applications which are often prepared to a high standard and are very informative. While accessability of some of these documents may leave something to be desired, they provide information not available elsewhere. Much remains to be done in the sphere of 'manuscript' material and its documentation.


Some maps are listed in the text and have been indexed. We have not carried out a thorough search for all the maps which deal with the geology of the county, though for the sake of completeness we list the current British Geological Survey maps at 1:5000O in Appendix 1.

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