‘The upper quartzitic sandstone (of the Lower Carboniferous Port Stanley Beds) is the most conspicuous rock in the Falkland Islands. It is well seen around Port Stanley in the gaunt, barren ridges whose presence does much to chill the optimism of the stranger arriving at these inhospitable-looking shores.’ (Baker 1924).
These sentiments were no doubt echoed by the Task Force as they entered Stanley on 14 June 1982. However, there was little time to reflect on this wilderness as the extent of the war damage became known. The first priority was to reopen the runway at Stanley airfield which had been cratered by bombing. The craters had been temporarily backfilled during the war but now required a more permanent repair with properly graded and durable fill. The second priority was to extend the runway to permit the use of long-distance air transporters and this would require a considerable volume of fill material for pavement foundation construction. Then followed a succession of demands for durable fill including roads, jetties, and concrete aggregate to rehabilitate the Islands and to secure their defence. The urgent requirement for the supply of fill became a primary consideration for the Royal Engineers who were tasked with the location and supply of suitable material.
A number of geologists have passed through Stanley and described the nature of the local geology. The earliest scientific account was presented by Darwin who passed this way 150 years ago (Darwin 1845) and systematic mapping has been carried