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Some of Britain's most dramatic scenery is to be found in the Scottish Highlands. The sight of mighty Ben Nevis, the desolate plateau of the Cairngorms, or the imposing landscapes of Glen Coe can unleash the call of the wild in all of us. Although these landforms were largely carved by glacial activity that ended some 10,000 years ago, the rocks themselves tell of a much older history. The Highlands are merely eroded stumps of a much higher range of ancient mountains. This free course, Mountain building in Scotland, is an account of the origin and demise of that ancient mountain range, based on the geological evidence laid before us in rock exposures.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- describe the geological history of the Scottish Highlands
- give examples of igneous, metamorphic and structurally complex rocks.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Britain's oldest rocks: remnants of Archaean crust
- 3 Orogenies in the Proterozoic
- 4 Continental break up and opening of the lapetus Ocean
- 5 Arc-continent collision: the Grampian phase of the Caledonian Orogeny
- 6 Exhumation of the Grampian mountains
- 7 Sedimentation and tectonics at a mid-Ordovician to Silurian active margin
- 8 Multiple plate collisions and the end of the Iapetus Ocean
- 9 Sedimentation at the end of the Caledonian Orgeny; Section 10 Legacy
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
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Mountain building in Scotland
The course gives a brief outline of the geological history of the Scottish Highlands. It offers the opportunity to study igneous, metamorphic and structurally complex rocks, indicating their natural settings in Scotland: the deformed rocks of the Dalradian basin, the Caledonian granites, and the Highland Border Complex. The materials are presented as a series of PDFs. Each file represents a section of the book. If you wish to purchase a copy of Mountain building in Scotland please contact.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 3 study in Science.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Geology courses or view the range of currently available OU Geology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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