HS2 presents a sample of basic soil from the Triassic period to the local primary school

Image credits: HS2

Pupils at Newall Green Primary School in Manchester were treated to a different history lesson as contractors Balfour Beatty, working on behalf of HS2, presented them with a rock sample dating back more than 240 million years. years.

The 1.5 meter long sample, which was excavated at a depth of 58 meters from the school’s playground, was excavated as part of HS2’s preliminary soil reconnaissance work. Analyzing rock samples allows HS2’s team of specialist engineers to better understand ground conditions before finalizing designs for the construction of Britain’s new railway, which will run from Crewe to Manchester

Balfour Beatty Senior Materials Engineer Philip Dumelow gave a short presentation to Years Five and Six students and explained how geotechnical analysis of the sample showed the school site would have once sat at the bottom of a shallow sea or lake. And much to the delight of the students, he confirmed that there would have been dinosaurs around this time, even though they were just beginning to emerge.

Léonie Dubois, Head of Consulting and Engagement at HS2, said:

“HS2’s unprecedented archaeological program along the Birmingham-London section of the railway has led to the most extraordinary finds, and it is exciting that we are now beginning to uncover more of Britain’s past along of the Manchester section of the HS2 road.

“We hope this session has helped inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers who will support the great infrastructure projects of the future.”

The rock sample and a framed copy of the accompanying drill log, which provides a geotechnical description of the sample, were presented to the principal, Ms Rudd, and will now be displayed in the school. Balfour Beatty’s engineering team have also prepared information for students highlighting how the school site has evolved from the Triassic period through the Ice Ages to the present day.

Philip Dumelow, Principal Materials Engineer at Balfour Beatty, said:

“It has been a privilege to share this slice of local history with the pupils of Newall Green and I hope it has helped to show how exciting a career in engineering can be.”

Ms. Rudd, Director of Newall Green Primary said:

“It is fascinating that this rock sample can tell us so much about the site where Newall Green Primary School now stands.

“The children were captivated by Philip’s speech as he really brought the past to life, which appealed to their inquisitive nature. He challenged them to become the engineers of the future and to continue their discoveries of life on earth millions of years ago.

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