"In simple terms, geodiversity is the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, soils, sediments, structures, groundwater systems, landforms and natural processes that constitute or form the abiotic nature of an area."
Our understanding of the local geodiversity is not just important for our understanding of deep geological history; it forms the foundation which informs almost every aspect of the natural and anthropogenic environment. Geodiversity is not spatially homogenous; it is different from place to place. The local geology dictates the type of soils which evolve above it and which in turn determine the biodiversity that inhabit it. In one way or another, geology also influences the local water resources, climate, topography and landscape. It also influences the human use of a place, for example where we build homes, what we build them from and where we site infrastructure such as highways and other communications. The very character and sense of place is therefore determined by how diverse the local geology is.
Many eminent geologists have investigated various aspects of Oxfordshire’s geodiversity since the very birth of the science: Robert Plot, William Smith, William Buckland, John Phillips, William J Arkell, Donald Baden-Powell, Marjorie Sweeting and Stuart McKerrow.