Since the late 1960s, the search for hydrocarbons in the seas around Scotland has led to an enormous increase in geological knowledge. In addition to new data related directly to the origins and entrapment of hydrocarbons, the geology of Scotland can now be linked to that of Scandinavia and other parts of adjacent Western Europe via rock sequences in the Central and Northern North Sea which, especially for the Mesozoic and Tertiary, are mostly not represented on the Scottish land surface. Part of the ‘missing’ history of Scotland during that time span can now be deduced from the surrounding offshore geology. Apart from the valuable stratigraphical input, important new information has been gained on aspects of sedimentology (e.g. the distribution of Late Permian evaporites and Early Tertiary turbidites) and structural geology. The previously unknown Central-Viking Graben, trending roughly N-S, began to form in the mid-Permian along the ‘median line’ between Britain and the continent, and was subsequently infilled with Permian sediments, now locally at depths in excess of 10 km. High quality, closely constrained seismic data have shown up previously unknown patterns of extensional and transtensional faults in three dimensions.

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