Landscape of Scotland
The landscapes of Scotland are heavily influenced by the underlying geology, as well as climate, and it boasts the most varied geological tapestry of any country of it's size in the world. The disperse variety of rock sub-strata available including sandstone, limestone, granite, gneiss, quartz, basalt, mica and gabbro. Europe's oldest rocks ,3 billion years old, are found in the Outer Hebrides and in the North West Highlands and are known as the Lewisian, after the Isle of Lewis.
The Oldest Rock of Scotland
This was Gneiss rock metamorphosed at a temperature of 900 degrees centigrade The oldest sedimentary rocks in Britain can be found in Torridon and on Beinn Eighe white Quartzite screes are apparent above the red sandstone. Glacial erosion imparted the highly indented nature of the coastline in the west and inland the bare rounded rocks formed by glacial scouring. The glacial troughs of the Lairig Ghru and Glen Avon are the only evidence of such erosion in the Cairngorms but the isolated granite tors of Ben Avon, Bennachie and Clachnaben survived the glacial action.
Scotland 60 Million Years Ago...
Although most of Scotland was covered in 2 kilometre thick ice only a few peaks such as An Teallach and the Skye Cuillin remained above it. Frost shattering of mountain peaks during the retreat of the ice ages account for the summit zones of Stac Pollaidh ,Arrochar Alps, and An Teallach. Volcanic activity also changed the landscape some 60 million years ago as evidenced in Skye, Mull, Rum, Canna, Eigg, Muck, Arran, St Kilda and Ardnamurchan. The most famous lava deposits forming basalt columns in the world are at Fingals cave on Staffa and also at the Kilt Rock in Skye.Scotland continues to fascinate geologists who are attracted by it's wonderfully diverse landscape and what lies beneath.