Agassiz Rock, Edinburgh

Agassiz Rock © Scottish Natural Heritage.

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Agassiz 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.

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. © Scottish Natural Heritage.

Further reading:

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