The late 18th century ‘Edinburgh Enlightenment’ was a remarkable period of intellectual development in many fields of science, but it was the progress in geological understanding, initiated by James Hutton and colleagues, that justifies the city’s claim to be the birthplace of the modern discipline. It is tempting to think that the particular interest in geology was fostered by the setting in which enlightenment occurred, the stone-built, older parts of Edinburgh nestling beneath a spectacular, rugged backdrop.

In Edinburgh Rock due homage is paid to the city’s geological heritage, but the authors extend their brief across its Lothian hinterland to...

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