The Cretaceous of Scotland consists of a succession of sedimentary rocks that record episodic marine transgression, from both east (North Sea) and west (Atlantic), over the eroded rift terrains of Late Cimmerian tectonism. In common with much of NW Europe and the Atlantic borders of Canada and Ireland, the Early Cretaceous was dominated by clastic deposition in a moderately active tectonic regime (Sinclair et al. 1994). Passive subsidence was the dominant process in the Late Cretaceous, accompanied by carbonate and hemipelagic deposition (Hancock & Rawson 1992). The Chalk Group sediments are considered to have once covered much of what is now the Scottish mainland, only to have been removed during the Tertiary-Quaternary uplift, accompanying the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean.
The dominant NE-SW structural trend for the half graben systems to the west of Scotland, shows reactivation of old Caledonian lineaments, parallel to the Moine Thrust (Fig. 12.1). This area represents the SE rifted margin of the Proto North Atlantic, across from the eastern seaboard of North America and Greenland (Ziegler 1988a). Atlantic rifting was rejuvenated through the Tertiary, as evidenced by extensive igneous activity (Stoker et al. 1993; Fyfe et al. 1993). The Faeroe escarpment marks the southern limit of the widespread Tertiary plateau basalts that mask the underlying Cretaceous stratigraphy to the NW of Scotland. Cretaceous North Sea rifting was inherited from the Late Cimmerian (Jurassic) tectonism that produced the triple junction of the NNE-SSW Viking, the WNW-ESE Moray Firth and the NW-SE Central graben
Figures & Tables
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.