Scotland – In the Beginning

Put on your Sherlock Holmes cape and hat, grab your looking glass and discover the origins of Scotland.

Long, long ago (think a billion years) Scotland lay south of the Equator. Long, long ago Scotland was joined to North America. Oceans closed. Continents collided. Land masses folded, thrusted. Volcanoes erupted, ice ages melted. Tectonic action changed the planet, ever so slowly. Earth evolved. A process that continues today.

In the late 19th century, two curious geologists discovered a mystery in the rocks in northern Scotland. As they analyzed rock formations in an area now called Knockon Crag National Nature Reserve (13 miles north of Ullapool), they  puzzled over a strange finding.

The strata of the rocks showed newer sedimentary rocks lower in the sample than older metamorphic rocks. Yet the sedimentary rocks were unchanged. How could they have escaped the heat that had formed the metamorphic rocks above them. There was no logical explanation for this.

After fourteen years of tedious, meticulous analysis, Benjamin Peach and John Horne discovered how continents collide, fold, and thrust. Forces so strong they could move rocks sideways and push older rocks over younger rocks.

Their revolutionary finding, published in 1907, was met with disbelief and criticism, much like the discovery of 16th century astronomer, Copernicus, who proclaimed the sun was the center of the universe.

But, the proof of two continents crashing together is evident when you visit the Moine Thrust.

We might conclude the bedrock of history is geology.

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