Economic and Environmental Geology
The first records of metalliferous mining in Scotland appear in the 13th century and relate to lead from the Leadhills-Wanlockhead area which, over the next six hundred years, easily became Scotland’s biggest nonferrous metal producer. There is no known evidence for earlier mining activities and the absence of Bronze Age mines in particular is surprising given the concentration of Bronze Age monuments in many metalliferous areas (O’Brien 1996). Leadhills-Wanlockhead is also notable as the source of the gold in the 16th century for the Scottish regalia (Gillanders 1981). During the 19th and 20th centuries substantial amounts of chromite were extracted in Unst, and of baryte and iron ore from the Midland Valley. Overall, Scotland has produced over 5 x 106 tonnes of iron ore, around 850000 tonnes of baryte, 300000 tonnes of lead, about 16 000 tonnes of chromium, 7000 tonnes of zinc, 200 tonnes of antimony, and a few tonnes of gold and silver. Some copper, nickel and manganese have also been recovered. Most of these deposits are now exhausted or uneconomic under prevailing conditions.
In the last 50 years Scotland has been widely explored by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and various mining companies. Exploration has been assisted by a comprehensive nationwide drainage geochemical survey conducted by BGS. This has led to many significant discoveries but the highlight has been the discovery of world class baryte deposits at Aberfeldy, strategically placed to supply the North Sea oil industry with drilling mud. In addition, significant but currently subeconomic deposits
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.