Wicklesham Quarry is extracting a type of rock called the Faringdon Sponge Gravel, which formed in the Cretaceous around 115 million years ago. The Sponge Gravel makes excellent building sand and is used for gravel paths. There used to be several quarries in Faringdon that were extracting the Gravel, but Wicklesham Quarry is now the only active quarry.
The Sponge Gravel is part of a type of rock called the Lower Greensand, and it consists of fossils and fossil fragments set in a sandy matrix. Most of the fossils are sponges, but other common fossils include shellfish, sea urchins and their spines, and bullet-like belemnites.
The Sponge Gravel formed around 115 million years ago, when the area was submerged under the sea. Sponges lived on the sea floor, but when they died they became detached from the sea-floor, and underwater currents swept them into deep hollows where they accumulated, and after millions of years became fossilized to form the sponge gravel.
Formation of the Sponge Gravel.
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