Thirty Five Million years ago, in the area of what we know as the Mediterranean it was getting very hot and heavy. The African continental tectonic plate is heading north. In the way, and waiting for it is the European plate, as big and as solid as the African.
The two plates collide and the African plate burrows underneath what will be Europe. The pressure and tension on the surface are building to levels we can barely begin to comprehend.
The surface of the European plate buckles and melts, and we are now into what is called an “orogeny” a mountain building period. All that energy is going to produce the Alps. But it doesn’t stop there.
The impact of the contact between the two plates sent out ripples. The effect of those ripples spread out from the southern edge of the plate. Those ripples are felt in the rocks of the Purbecks softening them and moulding them into the spectacular formations that you can see when you visit Lulworth Cove. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purbeck_Monocline That’s a new term I’ve learned this weekend.
The Purbeck Monocline, the vertical bending and levelling off clearly and spectacularly visible at the cove have been described as a ripple in the building of the Alps. A ripple! I suppose that’s one way of describing it. Don’t you just love Geology? Although, the forces that can be unleashed can be terrifying.