A regional study involving heavy mineral analysis, geophysical log interpretation, and palynologic dating, has led to the successful differentiation of sand bodies, with two distinct source areas being recognized. These both lie on the Orkney-Shetland Platform. Four phases of basinal subsidence and source area uplift; these are correlated with similar events in the central North Sea. The changes are related to events in the North Atlantic prior to crustal separation between Greenland and Rockall. Although provenance is the fundamental control on heavy-mineral distribution, intrastratal solution also plays a major role; it is estimated that up to 50% of the assemblage may have been lost by this process over a large part of the area.--Modified journal abstract.