This area of the Lakes is made up of various volcanic rocks that are from 450 million years old but the oldest in
the Lakes are 460 million years old. The volcanoes from 450 million years ago were explosive and erupted much
ash, pumice, ‘bombs’ of lava and lava that flowed slowly as it was sticky. These Volcanoes were like those seen
today on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, also several in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Central France and some in Iceland.
These are known as Stratovolcanoes and are generally a cone shape.
Volcanic pyroclastics- ash, pumice & lava bombs were mixed with sediment that settled in lakes in a caldera
or large crater. The volcanoes became extinct by the latest 440 million years ago. Over hundreds of millions of
years they were worn down; sea levels rose; sediment covered the volcanic rocks; the sediment hardened into
sedimentary rock; the rocks were folded, uplifted and then eroded revealing the older hard volcanic rocks known as 'Borrowdale Volcanics'.
During the ice age the land was buried under ice, carved by glaciers and shattered by frost. The last glaciers
melted away 11,000 years ago. Now the becks and ghylls continue to shape Lakelands Fells & Dales.
The large climbing crags show these different volcanic rocks-lavas, volcanic pyroclastic rocks and a mix of
pyroclastic rocks with hard sedimentary sandstone known as volcaniclastic rocks. These rocks are tough but the
fells would be much less rugged without the ice, with fewer crags and no rocky bouldery summits.
Next time you are out on the Fells imagine how big the volcanoes were with their powerful explosive eruptions,
then ice covering the fells with glaciers flowing and finally the ice melting away to reveal what you see today.
Model shaped from 400ft and base represents sea level. Scale 1:37,500 with slight vertical exaggeration