Bolton Library and Museum Services


Geology, broadly, is the study of the Earth. The word was first used by Swiss physicist and mountaineer Horace Benedict de Saussure in 1779. The study of geology can be broken into three basic areas; Rocks, Minerals and Fossils.

Bolton Museum holds a good general geology collection, comprising around 25,000 specimens. In this section, we will look at general aspects of these collections and some specific objects.

Local geology

The geology of the Bolton district is dominated by the shales and sandstones of the Carboniferous period. These are rocks formed between 360 and 299 million years ago.

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A fossil is any trace of a once-living organism, plant or animal, preserved in the rock. The study of fossils is called Palaeontology.

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The ice age

Bolton has a good collection of specimens from such sites, particularly from Creswell Crags and Kents Cavern

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Although the local geology means there are no dinosaur fossils to be found in the Bolton area, many residents will still think of dinosaurs when they think of the museum.

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Collectors and collections

Like most museums established in the 19th Century, Bolton possesses material from many private collectors and fossil dealers.

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Rocks and minerals

Bolton Museum has a good representative collection of British minerals, supplemented by specimens from all over the world, acquired through more than 100 years of collecting.

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Geology resources

Links to websites where you will find more information on areas discussed in the geology section of the site.

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