Cheddar Gorge - Geology and Tourism

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Cheddar Gorge

Where is Cheddar Gorge?

Cheddar Gorge is in the county of Somerset in England. Cheddar Gorge is one of Britain's best known limestone features and also it is the largest gorge. A gorge is a deep and narrow and is formed by a river eroding vertically (downwards) through the land. 

What does it look like?

The gorge is a wooded landscape with grey limestone cliffs, almost vertical in places, reaching almost 500 feet and three miles long. These limestone are sediments that have been compressed over millions of years. There are many huge mountain range hill tops that are incredible to climb, as well as vibrant greenery alongside eroded rocks.

How was Cheddar Gorge formed?

Firstly, the cheddar gorge started as a tropical reef full of vibrant fishes. Slowly by time, the fishes decay away leaving the remains of fish bones and other fossils. Which then is compressed to form layers of the sediments, however the plate tectonics were on the move, which means that the colliding of the plate tectonics formed mountains (this took probably thousands of years to form). Furthermore, ice age formed on top of the mountains, when the warmer seasons came, the ice melted and passed in through the cracks. This causes the rocks to erode and gradually produce caves. When the river flows at a fast speed, it erodes vertically downwards through the land which then creates a gorge.

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This is a flowchart on how the Cheddar Gorge was formed:

What are the features of the cave and what do they look like?

Caves are the main attraction in the Cheddar Gorge area. They are formed due to the structure and the composition of limestone. There are many features found in the caves, most of them which attract the tourists are stalactites and stalagmites. The shape of the stalactites and stalagmites depents on the speed of flow with thicker stalactites are resulting from slower flow and thinner ones from rapid flow.   ...

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