6 November 2012

The most beautiful landslide on Earth? The Quiraing landslide on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Posted by dr-dave

One of the most picturesque landslides on the earth is located at Quiraing (sometimes spelt Quirang) on the Isle of Skye in north-west Scotland.  This is a very large, complex landslide complex on the Trotternish Range on the northern side of the Isle of Skye:


The landslide complex itself is both very large and very complex, as the Google Earth imagery shows:


These are the largest landslides in the UK, covering an area of at least 8.5 square kilometres.  This is a classic geologically-controlled landslide system, consisting of thick basalt layers overlying weak Jurassic sediments.  The weight of the basaltic rocks is driving failure in the Jurassic sediments, allowing landslides to develop on a very large-scale.  Movements continue today, albeit at a fairly low rate.

Where this landslide comes into its own in terms of majestic beauty – indeed, I would suggest that this is perhaps the most beautiful landslide system on Earth.  I can’t reproduce it here, but take a look at this Flickr photo of the landslide – see what I mean?  Or take a look at this Flickr archive of images from the landslide complex.    These two aren’t bad either:

Duncan Shaw:


And Lukas Spieker:



It is well worth a visit if you are ever in Scotland –  Walk Highlands has a walking tour of the landslide complex.