Publications & Websites

Web resources

British Geological Survey – Geology of Britain viewer
Earthwise – British Geological Survey’s digital publication channel
Scottish Natural Heritage – Landforms and geology

Publications

There are a wide variety of publications which explore Scotland’s geology. These include:
Landscape fashioned by geology books
– Publications of the Edinburgh Geological Society and the Geological Society of Glasgow
Earth Heritage is a free twice-yearly magazine for anyone interested in geological and landscape conservation. It is produced by Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales, the Geologists’ Association and the Quaternary Research Association. GeoConservationUK and others in the voluntary geoconservation sector are major contributors. You can register to receive a copy and download the latest edition at:  www.earthheritage.org.uk.

Visit the Where to go section of this website for more information about leaflets published by Geoconservation Groups in Scotland, most of which are available online.

Tentsmuir Timeline Trail | Cairngorms Trails Through Time


Landscape fashioned by geology

Scotland’s geological history is a fascinating story told area by area in the Landscape Fashioned by Geology Series. These illustrated booklets explain how the countryside around us developed over geological time, relating familiar views to the rocks beneath. The series has been produced jointly between Scottish Natural Heritage and the British Geological Survey.

These titles are all available as free pdf downloads from this website – follow the links below.

Current titles available:

Scotland: the Creation of its Natural Landscape
Northeast Scotland
Moray and Caithness
Argyll and the islands
Glasgow and Ayrshire
Ben Nevis and Glencoe
The Outer Hebrides
Mull and Iona
Rum and the Small Isles
Edinburgh and West Lothian
Parallel Roads of Glen Roy
Southwest Scotland
Northwest Highlands
Fife and Tayside
Skye
East Lothian and the Borders
Arran and the Clyde Islands
Orkney and Shetland
Loch Lomond to Stirling
Cairngorms

Scotland: the creation of its natural landscape

p_scotlandScotland: the Creation of its Natural Landscape provides a wealth of information on how Scotland was created and the events that took place there through the aeons. But the story doesn’t stop back in the mists of time, it continually unfolds and this book provides up to the minute information on geological events taking place beneath our feet, it also provides a history of geological science and highlights the enormous contribution Scots geologists have made to the world.

Alan McKirdy & Roger Crofts ISBN 1 85397 004 2 Download pdf file (9.4 MB)


Northeast Scotland

northeastscotlandThe area described in this book extends northeast from the Cairngorms, and is bounded by the Moray Firth and the North Sea. It encompasses the heather-clad mountains that provide the backdrop to the beautiful landscape of Royal Deeside and a swath of more remote, rolling hills and glens to the north that include many of the famous whisky distilleries of the region.

“This volume on NE Scotland is an excellent addition to this valuable series, and admirably promotes the great variety of geology and landscape in an area that lies outside the traditional Scottish tourist destinations. Events that shaped this area cover hundreds of millions of years from the creation of the Caledonian Mountains to the deposition of the Old Red Sandstone, and the geologically recent modifications of landscape in the Ice Ages. The influence of geology on landscape is clearly described and beautifully illustrated. There are many geological gems in this region, so be inspired, and go out and explore the ancient heritage of Buchan!”
Professor Nigel Trewin, Aberdeen University

Jon Merritt and Graham Leslie 2009 ISBN 978 1 85397 521 9 Download pdf file (10.5 MB)


Argyll and the islands

argyll Encompassing much of the ancient Scots’ kingdom of Dalriada, the area described in this book is dominated by long peninsulas and islands, narrow lochs and some of the roughest, rocky terrain in Scotland. The dominant grain of the landscape, as revealed by its north-easterly orientated, boulderstrewn ridges and boggy valleys, results directly from the great ‘Caledonian’ earth movements that occurred some 470 million years ago. The rugged splendour of the area is largely a much more recent inheritance, from glaciers that scoured the landscape during the Ice Age and from roller-coaster changes in sea level.

David Stephenson  and Jon Merritt 2010  ISBN 978 1 85397 608 7 Download pdf file (3.6 MB)


Moray and Caithness

moraycaithness The far north-east of Scotland encompasses a wide range of landscapes, from the rolling hills of Moray and the coastal flagstone cliffs of Caithness, to the blanket peat bogs of the Flow Country and the ancient rugged mountains of eastern Sutherland. These landscapes have all formed during a long and complex geological history, from rocks that were buckled and warped by continental collisions that occurred many hundreds of
millions of years ago, to the sculpting of the hills and valleys by glaciers just a few thousand years ago. Since Neolithic times, the inhabitants of the region have made use of its geological resources and also changed its appearance irrevocably. This book describes the whole of that geological and human history, laying bare the events that have shaped the landscape of this remote but intriguing corner of Scotland.

Clive Auton, Jon Merritt and Kathryn Goodenough 2011  ISBN 978 1 85397 609 4 Download pdf file (4.6 MB)


Glasgow and Ayrshire

p_glasgowThis book tells the geological story of a landscape that was at the heart of Scotland’s industrial revolution, a story that has been several hundred million years in the making. The patchwork of rocks forming the landscape of the Glasgow and Ayrshire area tells us about the disappearance of an ancient ocean and times when sandy deserts, shallow tropical seas, vast cool swamps and lava from volcanic eruptions covered the evolving landscape. Worn and moulded by ice sheets, the modern landscape continues to change through river and coastal erosion and human activity.

Colin MacFadyen & John Gordon ISBN 185397451X Download pdf file (3.8 MB)


Ben Nevis and Glencoe

p_bennevisThe area around Ben Nevis and Glencoe is one of the most popular in the Scottish Highlands. The shapely peaks of the Mamores, fashioned from 700 million year-old sandstones, contrast with the towering near-vertical cliffs of Glen Coe and the north face of Ben Nevis, which exhume the remains of 400 million year-old volcanoes. But the mountains, deep glens and sheltered sea-lochs that we see today were carved by glaciers in the last 2 million years.

David Stephenson & Kathryn Goodenough ISBN 1853975066 Download pdf file (7.4 MB)


The Outer Hebrides

p_theouterhebridesThe Outer Hebrides are exposed to the extreme elements. Every year we see small changes to familiar scenes as a result of the power of wind and wave. This booklet does a remarkable job in explaining the dramatic forces of nature that have shaped the Outer Hebrides over millions of years.

Kathryn Goodenough & John Merritt ISBN 1853975073 Download pdf file (English – 2.8 MB)  Download pdf file (Gaelic – 3 MB)


Mull and Iona

The wide variety of landscapes on Mull, Iona and their surrounding isles are well known to visitors. Flat-topped hills and steep cliffs of lava in the north contrast with the high mountains of the south that have been carved out of the roots of a huge volcano. Low-lying rounded knolls of pink granite characterise the Ross of Mull, and all around are dramatic coastal features separated in places by welcoming sandy beaches. This book explains how it all came about.

2005 ISBN 1853974234 Download pdf file (2.6 MB)


Rum and the Small Isles

For such a small island, the range of landscapes on the Island of Rum is truly remarkable – from the jagged peaks of Askival and Hallival, to the rounded hills of Orval and Ard Nev in the west, and the low “stepped” topography north of Kinloch Glen. The book shows how these features can be attributed to a geological history that stretches back nearly 3000 million years and includes deserts, ocean floors, volcanoes and glaciers.

2004 ISBN 1 85397 370 X Download pdf file (5.7 MB)


Edinburgh and West Lothian

The tranquil appearance of the city of Edinburgh nestling between the surrounding hills and the undulating countryside of West Lothian belies their dramatic volcanic past. The Lothian landscape took over 400 million years to reach its present shape. This book tells the story of its journey from erupting volcanoes, through rivers, seas and ice-caps, to the peaceful parks, restored quarries and level playing fields we see today.

” What more exciting story could there be than the story in the rocks and landscapes of Edinburgh.” Dr Stuart Monro, Scientific Director, Our Dynamic Earth.

2003 ISBN 1 85397 327 0 Download pdf file (4.2 MB)


Parallel Roads of Glen Roy

People have long been fascinated by the Parallel Roads of Lochaber. Were these striking horizontal lines on the hillsides of Glen Roy, Glen Gloy and Glen Spean formed by giants of old, as described in Gaelic myths? Are they natural or were they formed by human activity? Interest in the Parallel Roads continues to this day, both among earth scientists intrigued by the dramatic processes that shaped the landscape, and among modern travellers and tourists attracted by the natural wonder of the landforms. This booklet traces the story of the formation of the Parallel Roads – a remarkable story of ice-age glaciers, vast lakes and catastrophic floods.

2004 ISBN 1 85397 360 2 Download pdf file (4.5 MB)


Southwest Scotland

From south Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde across Dumfries and Galloway to the Solway Firth and northeastwards into Lanarkshire, a variety of attractive landscapes reflect the contrasts in the underlying rocks. The area’s peaceful, rural tranquillity belies its geological roots which reveal a 500-million-year history of volcanic eruptions, continents in collision, and immense changes in climate. Vestiges of a long-vanished ocean are preserved at Ballantrae and the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands are constructed from the piled-up sediment scraped from an ancient sea floor. Younger rocks show that the Solway shoreline was once tropical, whilst huge sand dunes of an arid desert now underlie Dumfries. Today’s landscape has been created by aeons of uplift, weathering and erosion. Most recently, over the last 2 million years, the scenery of Southwest Scotland was moulded by massive ice sheets which finally melted away about 11, 500 years ago.
Andrew McMillan and Phil Stone ISBN 978 1 853397 520 2 Download pdf file (3.0 MB)


Northwest Highlands

p_northwest_highlandsIn the words of Aubrey Manning: This easy-to-read, beautifully illustrated book runs through the geological history of one of Scotland’s best-known and most stunning regions at a cracking pace. It brings alive both the place and the people who worked out the story of the dramatic clashing continents, the closing of the oceans and the dynamic journey of Scotland though the ages, from the south, past the equator, towards the north. A must for anyone who’s interested in our amazing history of geological time.’

John Mendum, Jon Merritt and Alan McKirdy ISBN 1 85397 139 1 Download pdf file (3.4 MB)


Fife and Tayside

p_fife_taysideThe dramatic coastline and volcanic hills of Fife and Tayside are testament to a dramatic geological past. The story that has been discerned from the rocks tells of violent eruptions and a time when Scotland sat astride the equator. This booklet provides an illustrated guide to Scotland’s journey through these turbulent times.

Mike Browne, Alan McKirdy and David McAdam ISBN 1 85397 110 3 Download pdf file (3.8 MB)


Skye

p_skyeSkye is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations, and deservedly so. But what would Skye be without the jogged peaks of the Cuillins or the intriguing rock formations of the Quirang? In many ways it is the geology of Skye that attracts its visitors and this booklet helps you to understand how the mountains, rocks and lochs were formed.

David Stephenson & Jon Merritt ISBN 1 85397 026 3 Download pdf file (3.1 MB)


East Lothian and the Borders

p_east_lothian_bordersUnderneath the calm façade of south east Scotland’s fertile plains and rolling hills lies a complex structure, which reflects an eventful geological history.

David McAdam & Phil Stone ISBN 1 85397 242 8 Download pdf file (2.1 MB)


Arran and the Clyde Islands

p_arran_and_the_clydeThe diverse landscapes of Arran and the Clyde Islands mark the boundary between Highland and Lowland. Discover the ancient secrets and the appeal of these well-loved islands.

David McAdam & Steve Robertson ISBN 1 85397 287 8 Download pdf file (2.7 MB)


Orkney and Shetland

p_orkney_shelandThese northern outposts of Scotland hold a great fascination for the geologist. Starting 3 billion years ago, their story tells of colliding continents, bizarre lifeforms and a landscape which continues to be eroded by the pounding force of the Atlantic.

Clive Auton, Terry Fletlcher & David Gould ISBN 1 85397 220 7 Download pdf file (3.8 MB)


Loch Lomond to Stirling

p_loch_lomond_stirlingThe heart of Scotland encompasses some of the most diverse landscapes in Scotland. From the low Carse to the mountain tops – find out how these modern landscapes reflect the geological changes of the past.

Mike Browne & John MendumISBN 1 85397 119 7 pbk 26pp £2.00


Cairngorms

p_cairngorms2Their broad plateaux, steep sided glens and deep corries make the Cairngorms one of the foremost mountain landscapes in Britain. Discover how they were fashioned by weathering, glaciers and rivers.

John Gordon, Rachel Wignall, Ness Brazier and Patricia Bruneau
ISBN 1 85397 455 2 Download pdf file (2.7 MB)