London Pavement Geology

A new website and smartphone App for geologists brings the pavements and buildings of London to life.
This article appeared in Vol. 13, No. 5 - 2016


A wealth of high quality rock samples of all types can be seen in London, mostly visible to the public from the pavement – but how do you know what it is and where it comes from? Dave Wallis, a geologist with 45 years’ experience in the oil industry, first dreamed of creating a database of rocks as a student in the 1960s, and has finally been able to bring the project to fruition through an interactive website, with the assistance of Dr. Ruth Siddall of University College London. The rock and fossil sites which make up the structures and pavements of London are mapped in a searchable database, and buildings as varied as Tower Bridge and Hampton Court Palace Fountain are included in the database, with details of the rock’s age and provenance as well as photos. 

  • The Houses of Parliament: Permian Anston Limestone from a quarry in South Yorkshire. (Source: Tony Slater)

The site has now been enhanced by a free App for both Android and Apple platforms made possible through awards from the PESGB, Geologists’ Association, British Geological Society and Geoscience Wales, among others. 

Students, amateurs and professionals alike are encouraged to search for locations and also to submit their own information to add to the database. The website is and the App can be downloaded by searching for ‘London Pavement Geology’.


Related Articles

GEO Cities Europe

Lerwick Small Yet Influential

Lerwick, the capital of the beautiful Shetland Islands off north-east Scotland, may be a bit small for the term ‘city’ – but its influence on our ideas on how to exploit our oil resources in harmony with the environment has been considerable.