The most satisfactory definition of the term ‘environmental geology’ is the study of how humans interact with the geological environment (Woodcock 1994; Bennett & Doyle 1997; Thompson et al. 1998). The subject combines many traditional branches of geoscience including engineering geology, economic geology, hydrogeology and geomorphology with development control, resource management and Earth heritage conservation. The growth of this integrative subject reflects an urgent need to ensure that planned development is accomplished with minimum damage to the environment and that non-renewable resources, in particular construction materials and energy minerals, are used wisely. Practitioners of environmental geology generally acknowledge the need for a whole systems approach in dealing with dynamic physical processes. Examples of holistic approaches to environmental management include river catchment and coastal zone management.
Geoscientists have an increasingly prominent role in the development control process and in environmental management generally. As a consequence, the profession has become more aware of the need to contribute expert knowledge on geoscience to the decision-making process in an effective way (McKirdy 2000). Environmental Assessment (EA) and other environmental auditing techniques are now a mandatory part of the development control process. As a consequence, many planning decisions are largely determined on technical grounds, with the physical characteristics of the site constraining the development options.
In essence, environmental geology is the interface between the study of geology as an academic science and the real world. In the following chapter, human interactions with the physical environment are described with particular emphasis given to the issues that
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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.