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16 August 2016

Northwest Highlands unconformities (1 of 3): Sub-Stoer Group

Northwest Highlands unconformities (1 of 3): Sub-Stoer Group

First in a series profiling the three unconformities to be found in the North-West Highlands of Scotland. Today: the sub-Stoer unconformity as exposed at Clachtoll. Explore a Proterozoic buried topography topped with coarse, angular breccia.

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2 August 2016

Oldest fossils in the UK: M.I.S.S. in Stoer Group, Scotland

Oldest fossils in the UK: M.I.S.S. in Stoer Group, Scotland

This is the Split Rock at Clachtoll, on the shore of the North-West Highlands of Scotland. You’re looking out to sea, over the Minch. It’s the site that graces the cover of the excellent book A Geological Excursion Guide to the North-West Highlands of Scotland, by Kathryn Goodenough and Marten Krabbendam. “Clach toll” apparently means “Split rock” — Go figure. The Split Rock is an easy landmark to steer toward …

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11 July 2016

Kilometer to millimeter: 4 GigaPans to zoom in on Lewisian gneiss

I’m in the North-West Highlands of Scotland, enjoying spectacular geology and less-than-spectacular weather. I’ve been fairly productive on the GigaPan front, regardless, nipping outdoors when the weather permits to shoot outcrops and landscapes. One set I’m particularly pleased with is this suite of four images. They show the Archean-aged Lewisian gneiss, the oldest rock unit in the North-West Highlands, as exposed on a beachside outcrop east of Durness, Sutherland. The …

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7 July 2016

Tombolo at St. Ninian’s Isle, Shetland

I came to Shetland for the rocks – but I’ve been surprised and delighted by the huge range of interesting coastal geomorphology to be seen here too. I’ve never seen so many sea stacks, wave-cut cliffs, and bayhead bars in my life. One that is so “classic,” so “textbook” that I couldn’t resist it, is the tombolo that connects St. Ninian’s Isle to mainland Shetland. In Google maps, it couldn’t …

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4 July 2016

Virtual field trip to Kinkell Braes, Scotland

Virtual field trip to Kinkell Braes, Scotland

Walking along the shore east from St. Andrews, Scotland, along the seaside sandstones of Kinkell Braes, you encounter several extraordinary examples of geology. It’s a great place for the next stop on our Grand Tour of the geology of the British Isles. Here’s the scene: The first stop is a giant eurypterid trackway, potentially the largest invertebrate trackway in the world (Whyte, 2005), on the underside of an overhanging sandstone …

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30 June 2016

Virtual field trip to Siccar Point, Scotland

Virtual field trip to Siccar Point, Scotland

Time for another virtual field trip on the Geologist’s Grand Tour of the United Kingdom: the most famous outcrop in the world. Today, we visit Siccar Point, Scotland. You’ve probably already seen photos of this place – they usually look something like this: To those who aren’t familiar, here’s what going on: There are two sets of strata here – and the contact between them is an ancient erosional surface. …

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28 June 2016

“Dunbar marble” at Barns Ness, Scotland

"Dunbar marble" at Barns Ness, Scotland

Thanks to the website ScottishGeology.com, run by Angus Miller, I learned of Barns Ness, a Mississippian-aged limestone fossil site on the shore not far from where we are staying at Dunbar. We ventured out there on Saturday afternoon, in search of fossils. The presence of the Dunbar Cemenet Works nearby is an indication that this is the most extensive limestone outcrop in central Scotland. I set my field assistant loose …

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25 June 2016

A virtual field trip to the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

A virtual field trip to the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Some of planet Earth’s best examples of basaltic cooling columns are found at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. In this post, explore four different kinds of interactive digital media as a way of experiencing the Causeway virtually, from the comfort of your computer.

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21 June 2016

Porphyritic rhyolite dike seen on the beach at Cushendun

Porphyritic rhyolite dike seen on the beach at Cushendun

At the opposite end of the beach at Cushendun, Northern Ireland, we found some outcrops of schist – I’ll be featuring some of them as Friday folds later this week. But cutting across the schist was a pink porphyry, with big well-formed potassium feldspars. I splashed some water from the Irish Sea onto it to increase the contrast: Here’s a handheld GigaPan image, so you can explore it for yourself. …

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16 June 2016

Dimmuborgir, Lake Mývatn, Iceland

Last week, I was in Iceland, driving around the country’s Ring Road and checking out its amazing geology with my family. We had a great time in particular exploring in the Lake Mývatn region, on the country’s subaerial expression of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Lake Mývatn itself is in a rift basin, peppered with a great variety of volcanic and hydrothermal features. One spot we enjoyed a short stroll was in …

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