Photographic feature: Gypsum nodules at Whitmore Bay, Barry

Gypsum nodules at Whitmore Bay, Barry

This photographic feature discusses the gypsum nodules that can be found at Whitmore Bay, Barry, Wales, UK. Whitmore Bay is a popular sandy beach on the South Wales (UK) coastline. In the west of Whitmore Bay, the cliff sections expose red-brown mudstones and siltstones of the Triassic Branscombe Mudstone Formation (Mercia Mudstone Group, formerly known as the Keuper Marl).

Whitmore Bay, Barry

Whitmore Bay, Barry. Copyright Gareth James (Creative Commons Licence)


Within the sub-horizontal mudstones and siltstones are white to pinkish brown gypsum nodules, some of which have dissolved leaving hollows or voids, others have been partially replaced by calcite.… Read the rest

Uses of pyrite: historic and modern

Pyrite is the cause of many problems in engineering, but in the past (and more recently) it has found a number of uses. This post considers some of the historical and present uses of pyrite. Links to references are included where further information can be found. This post is frequently updated with new technologies, so please check back regularly.

Historic uses of pyrite

Ignition source

In the 16-17th centuries, pyrite was used as a source of ignition in early guns. According to (Willbanks 2004), the “wheel lock” weapon was invented in Germany around 1517.… Read the rest