Lower Purbeck Beds of Swindon Facies in Dorset


IN the course of a yet unpublished study of the pseudomorphs after gypsum prevalent in the ‘Purbeck Caps’ and ‘Broken Beds’ of Lower Purbeckian age in Dorset, a marl has been discovered with a fauna resembling that of the freshwater facies of the ‘Swindon Series’. In the well-known Portisham quarry with the ‘fossil elephant’ (a silicified tree trunk1), the three-foot “impure marls with seams of chert” listed by Woodward1 as occurring 9 ft. 6 in. above the Portland Stone have been found to contain the Swindon ostracod Ulwellia papulata Anderson, and well-preserved charophytes in abundance. Gastropods are also abundant and perhaps have Swindon affinities. None of these has been recorded before in British strata of indisputably Lower Purbeck age, and a full palseontological investigation of the fauna is at present proceeding.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Woodward, H. B., The Middle and Upper Oolitic Rocks of England (Mem. Geol. Surv. 1895).

  2. 2

    Taitt, A. H., and Kent, P. E., Deep Boreholes at Portsdown (Hants.) and Henfield (Sussex) (Brit. Pet. Co., Ltd., London, 1958).

  3. 3

    Sylvester-Bradley, P. C., Proc. Geol. Assoc., 51, 349 (1940).

  4. 4

    Arkell, W. J., and Sylvester-Bradley, P. C., Proc. Geol. Assoc., 52, 321 (1941).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

WEST, I. Lower Purbeck Beds of Swindon Facies in Dorset. Nature 190, 526 (1961). https://doi.org/10.1038/190526a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.