Objects | Engineering


Weardale Granite, 410 million years old

Great North Museum: Hancock, Tyne and Wear

Power, Inventions, Learning and Discovery

1946 To Today

In the late 1950s, Durham University developed pioneering approaches to surveying rocks that lie deep below the surface (gravity surveys).

These surveys revealed at depth, the top of a suspected mass of granite in the North Pennines. A borehole (known as the Rookhope Borehole) was sunk in the early 1960s to extract a sample of the granite below the accurately estimated depth of 390 metres. This is deeper than the Eiffel Tower is tall.

Pioneering engineering techniques continue in the North East, exploring the possibilities of geothermal technology.

In 2011, a borehole at Science Central in Newcastle upon Tyne, with a depth of 1,821 metres, encountered water which was hotter than expected. The water flows at depth from west to east along the 90 Fathom Fault, and is heated naturally by the Weardale Granite. It is hoped that this flow of hot water will be sufficient to heat buildings in the City centre.

On display at The Great North Museum: Hancock, Crystals and Gems gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

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