Death of an Ocean: A Geological Borders Ballad

The Scottish Borders region is famed for its frontier history and attendant myths and ballads. This book concerns the much more ancient geological history revealed by its rocks. The authors tell how the once great ocean of Iapetus met its end through the inexorable motion of the tectonic plates that brought continental masses on a collision course. Impaction of these continents spelled the death-knell for Iapetus and, in so doing, brought about intense folding and uplift of huge quantities of ocean floor sediment to form the mighty Caledonide mountain chain. These momentous events brought the essential building blocks of Scotland into their final positions. After attaining their maximum grandeur, the Caledonide mountains were progressively eroded to become shadows of their former glory; meanwhile, the unified tectonic plate on which Scotland sits proceeded to drift northwards. In so doing 'ancestral Scotland' migrated from the southern hemisphere, across the equator to ultimately reach its present temperate position. The rocks of the Borders record much of the Palaeozoic history of the ocean closing, the building and subsequent breakdown of the mountains, as well as of the history of the deserts, rivers and forests that came and went on its northerly migration. This Borders story tells also of volcanoes large and small and how their existence is indelibly recorded in the Borders hills whilst the latest geological events to sculpt the Borders landscape were the Pleistocene ice-ages.Written in the accessible style familiar to readers of the authors' Edinburgh Rock this volume describes a differing geological history in Scotland. Intended for those wanting to learn more about the origins of a popular region it will also appeal to geologists on field trips and students of geology as the authors display their deep affection for and knowledge of the geology of the Scottish Borders.