Agassiz Rock, Edinburgh

wee_map_midlandAgassiz Rock is located on the south side of Blackford Hill in Edinburgh. Comprising an overhanging cliff of andesite lava, the rock has grooved and striated surfaces and is of considerable historical importance.

cs_agassiz_rockAgassiz Rock - over the years natural erosion has removed much of the ice smoothed and striated surface of this rock outcrop. However, the rock’s historical importance for its part in the development of the glacial theory in Scotland, remains. © Scottish Natural Heritage.

Its significance stems from its association with Louis Agassiz a famous Swiss naturalist, who during a visit to Scotland in 1840, attributed the striations on the rock surface to the effects of the passage of glacier ice. Agassiz and the striated lava of Blackford Hill are therefore key elements in the introduction of the glacial theory in Scotland. Agassiz Rock was also one of the first geological sites in Scotland to be conserved.

cs_agassiz_rock2The smooth and grooved rock surface at Agassiz Rock – this has been attributed to glacial abrasion. The form of the rock surface bears a strong resemblance to glacially abraded surfaces elsewhere in Scotland and in modern glacial environments. © Scottish Natural Heritage.

Further reading:

McAdam, A.D. & Clarkson, E.N.K. 1996. Lothian Geology – An Excursion Guide. Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh.