Scotland May 12-13, 1975: Siccar Point and St. Andrews

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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12 May 1975: Siccar Point

Scotland Carboniferous sandstone at Pease Bay with spheroidal calcareous concretion.
Scotland Now this is how you picture Scotland. Actually, apart from a bit of bad weather at the start of the trip, we had good weather almost the entire time.

However, this steep, wet, grassy slope was treacherous, and it was here that one guy gained eternal renown for the "Siccar Point Slide." I heard a muffled squawk behind me, followed by a "thump thump thump," and stepped aside just in time to see him go past, flat on his back on his poncho.

Scotland He pirouetted gracefully downhill head over heels, flat on his back, and was stopped by a couple of other people just before he had a chance to add to the stratigraphic record at Siccar Point.
Scotland James Hutton was interested in how the gently-deformed rocks around Edinburgh related to the intensely deformed rocks further south. So he and some companions rented a boat and sailed along the coast until the found this locality, which is now known as Hutton's Unconformity. Devonian rocks lie at almost a right angle on top of tilted Ordovician-Silurian rocks.
Scotland To produce this unconformity, the older rocks had to have been deposited, tilted, eroded, buried, then tilted and eroded again. Hutton was awed at the complexity of the geologic record revealed here.

Below: closeups of the unconformity and Devonian basal conclomerate.

Scotland Scotland
Scotland Some people will do anything to get a group photo.
Scotland View northwest along the coast. Among other things, we saw a seal swim by.
Scotland Sea stacks of Devonian sandstone.
Scotland East side of Siccar Point. Subhorizontal Devonian rocks are exposed at the top of the cliff and the hillside, and the deformed lower Paleozoic rocks are along the shore.

13 May 1975: Elie and St. Andrews

Scotland The great Forth railroad bridge was a pioneering venture in using iron for large bridge spans.
Scotland Left and below: Elie, site of a number of volcanic vents with ultramafic and high-pressure inclusions.
Scotland Scotland
Scotland Scotland
Scotland St. Andrew's is a site of pilgrimage to golfers because it's the home of the very first golf course. It also has some impressive ruins.
Scotland Scotland
Scotland Below: For trip participant Roy Kligfield, anything climbable was irresistible.
Scotland Scotland
Scotland Scotland
Scotland Left and below: ruins of the great cathedral of St. Andrew's, destroyed during the Reformation.
Scotland Scotland
Scotland Upper Carboniferous Sill near the Forth Bridge. At upper center is a cobweb-like texture presumably caused by "filter pressing." The rock is solid enough to fracture, after which residual liquid between grains fills the fractures.
ScotlandClose-up of the filter-pressed texture. Picture area is about two meters across.

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Created 7 April 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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