Whitby jet geology is still not fully understood, however, Sarah as a degree qualified geologist and professional gemmologist is perfectly qualified to answer the questions surrounding Whitby jet geology and it’s formation.  


She has recently returned to Durham University as a postgraduate researcher and as such, much of her work is now dedicated to geological and archaeological research into the origin and formation of jet materials. Her research is the first into Whitby jet geology from a British perspective since Professor Hemmingway’s 1933 thesis on the geology of Whitby jet.

The unique set of environmental conditions required for jet to form seldom occur in the geological record. In the case of Whitby Jet, during the Toarcian period of the Jurassic, 175-185 Millions of years ago we see just such an event which can lead to the jettification of wood. At that time, the area we know as Whitby was 30 north of the equator and was 50km offshore. It was a period of global warming which led to pressure on the global carbon and oxygen cycles. These events are rare in the geological record but lead to a change in the oceanic chemistry and are often associated with extinction events. These conditions are however perfect for the preservation of driftwood as jet, hence our rich reserves around the Whitby area. Sarah’s research is aimed at fully understanding the Whitby jet geology. To learn how to safely find jet  here More information on our jet testing here.

“Let us now recall a few incidents in the long struggle between cliff and sea”

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