Secrets of Jurassic age are set to be revealed in major project

A village is taking part in a dino-sized project to discover the area’s Jurassic secrets.

 (L to R) Geologist, Stephen Hesselbo from Exeter University with Councillor Diana Foster and Chair of the Parish Council, Councillor Ray Hirons at the site of the Jet Project at Platt Farm.
(L to R) Geologist, Stephen Hesselbo from Exeter University with Councillor Diana Foster and Chair of the Parish Council, Councillor Ray Hirons at the site of the Jet Project at Platt Farm.

An Early Jurassic Earth System and Timescale (JET) scheme is being held in Prees, just outside of Whitchurch, by scientists from across the country.

The site is part of an 11-year project involving about 50 scientists from 14 different countries who are studying the climate and environment of the Early Jurassic (201-174 Million years ago).

Prees was found to be the best place in the world to provide a very complete record of Jurassic history. When the team were searching for somewhere to obtain a core sample for this project, scientists found records from the drilling of an old bore hole on the site from over 40 years ago.

Their findings led them to believe that a core sample from this site would provide the best evidence because of the consistent and relatively thick layers of sedimentary rocks laid down up to 200 million years ago.

Jet Project site at Platt Farm

The results of the project will reveal the type of organisms that were thriving at the time and which ones were less common.

Further analysis will reveal what the climate, sea level and ocean circulation were like at the time and how these observations relate to other events such as volcanic eruptions or variations in the position of the Earth’s orbit relative to the sun.

The results may help us to understand the climate change that is occurring now and predictions for the future.

When completed, the 800 core samples will provide an astronomical model of the early Jurassic period and will be stored in the British Geological Survey National Core Repository in Nottingham.

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