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The underlying theme for Cockpit Country is the geological formation: the limestone plateau was thrust up out of the sea about 15 million years ago, as demonstrated by fossilised shells and sharks’ teeth which can be seen on the periphery, near Lowe River for example. The rainfall over millions of years has eroded the plateau into the cockpit karst (steep, conical, limestone hills with rounded tops) that we see today, all around us! But communities are frequently located in the less-cockpitty, more-open glades, or along geological fault lines. Here you can also find tower karst, which has nearly vertical sides. Caves and cave collapses bear witness to the processes of dissolution and collapse. Other spectacular geological sights are Poljes (meaning interior valleys), which are special features that will be new to most visitors: good examples are Spring Vale and Appleton Valley.

Geology is fundamental to describing Cockpit Country for any visitor and is significant because Cockpit Country is the type-locality for cockpit karst (i.e. it is the world-wide standard for cockpit karst).

The steep-sided, round-topped hills are all around us. The best viewpoint for a polje is above Spring vale on old Spanish road to Maroon Town. There are no fossils in most of Cockpit Country (because it consists of redissolved limestone) but there are some points of interest in the Albert Town area and near Lowe River, behind the old potato packing plant.

Schematic X-section of Cockpit Country
View of Cockpit Country
Coral at Freemans Hall
Fossils at Lowe River