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The district described in Geology of the Country Around Sunderland comprises Wearside and parts of south Tyneside, and is dominated by the built-up area which extends from Sunderland north-westwards to Wallsend. The predominantly urban landscape is offset by an attractive coastline along which fine exposures of the Permian Magnesian Limestone are seen in spectacular cliffs, stacks and natural arches.
The district is the type section of the marine Permian succession in the United Kingdom. In addition to the Magnesian Limestone, it contains evaporites which, on land, have been dissolved away, giving rise to widespread collapse structures. Carboniferous Coal Measures underlie the whole district and formed the basis of the coal mining industry of which only a few small opencast workings survive.
Almost all the district is covered by glacial and periglacial deposits of Late Devensian age, which are locally complexly interbedded.
Geology of the Country Around Sunderland will be useful for planners and civil engineers involved in urban renewal, who are faced by problems of ground instability caused by old coal workings and the complex distribution of dirft deposits.