The Geological Spine of Britain
from 3 billion years to now
The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, London, W1
November 17 – 27, 2015
Angela Palmer has created a ‘geological spine’ of Great Britain, using 16 rocks sourced from the length and breadth of the country, representing every geological period spanning 3 billion years of our country’s history. The rocks are polished on one side, showing the magnificent ‘underbelly’ of Britain in complete geological sequence, and left rough on the reverse, as we may encounter them in the landscape.
The spine begins with a 3 billion-year-old Lewisian Gneiss from NW Scotland , followed by a 2 billion-year-old White Anorthosite, also from NW Scotland, which is the same type of rock found on the Moon and retrieved by Apollo 15 astronauts in 1971. The penultimate rock in the spine is an erratic boulder, deposited in the most recent glacial episode. Through the sequence of rocks, you will be propelled from Britain’s origin near the South Pole – where Scotland and Northern Ireland were separated from England and Wales by the Iapatus Ocean – to our merging as a nation as we slowly drifted northwards, across the Equator, and towards our current northern location.
The final element in the spine symbolises the Anthropocene, the new geological age to be officially declared in the near future, reflecting man’s impact on the planet; it will supersede the current Holocene epoch. To represent the Anthropocene, the artist has created a rock-like structure in mirror polished steel, to reflect the onlooker.