Until the late 20th century, accounts of the Jurassic rocks of Scotland mainly comprised descriptions of the fine coastal outcrops of the Inner Hebrides region, with emphasis also on the east Sutherland coast with its spectacular boulder beds of Kimmeridgian age. That changed with the discovery and development of the North Sea oilfields, where much of Britain’s oil is found in Jurassic sandstone reservoirs and has its source in Kimmeridge shale. Thus for many geologists the Jurassic is known principally from seismic reflection lines and downhole geophysical logs. Hydrocarbon exploration also revealed a major episode of Jurassic volcanism in the Central North Sea. Nevertheless, the onshore outcrops retain their relevance. Those along the Moray Firth are directly marginal to the Inner Moray Firth Basin and provide many analogies to the other North Sea Basins. The western outcrops, with a much more complete section exposed, were important in the history of geology and continue to stimulate research in biostratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeoecology. They also serve as onshore guides to the stratigraphy of the recently explored basins to the west of Scotland.
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This 4th edition of The Geology of Scotland is edited by Dr Nigel Trewin of the Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen. The volume is greatly expanded from the previous edition with 34 authors contributing to 20 chapters.
A new format has been adopted to provide a different perspective on the geology of Scotland. A brief Introduction is followed by a chapter outlining some of the important historical aspects that in the 19th century placed Scottish geologists at the forefront of a new science.
Scotland is constructed from a number of terranes that finally combined in roughly their present positions prior to about 410 million years ago. Thus the geology of each terrane is described up to the time of amalgamation, providing chapters on the Southern Uplands, Midland Valley, Northern Highland, Grampian and Hebridean terranes. At the end of this section, a brief synthesis summarizes the events that resulted in the amalgamation of the various terranes into the present configuration.
Traditional practice is followed in the description of the Old Red Sandstone, Carboniferous, Permo-Trias, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary strata. A separate chapter covers Tertiary igneous rocks. An attempt is made to tell the story of the geological evolution of Scotland, rather than catalogue all areas and formations. Priority is given to the onshore geology, encouraging the reader to go into the field and visit some of the world-class geology on show in Scotland. The chapters are broadly-based, attempting to integrate the sedimentary and igneous histories, and summarize changes in palaeogeography and palaeoenvironments.
Economic aspects are covered with chapters on Metalliferous Minerals, Bulk Resources, Coal and Hydrocarbons. A new departure is a chapter on aspects of Environmental Geology and sustainability.
Additionally, this publication contains a colour section of 32 plates, illustrating aspects of Scottish Geology, as well as a coloured geological map of Scotland.