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Scotland's rocks, landforms and soils

​For a relatively small country, Scotland’s diversity of rocks, fossils, landforms and soils is quite remarkable

This geodiversity is the result of a rich and varied geological history, spanning some 3 billion (3,000 million) years of the Earth’s existence. It forms an Earth heritage asset of national and international importance.

Scotland’s geodiversity reveals how colliding continents, ancient volcanoes, powerful glaciers and changing climates have shaped the landscapes and scenery we value today. It also tells us how life forms have evolved and how rivers, landslides, floods and sea-level changes continue to alter the land surface.

Our rocks, fossils, landforms and soils have played an important part in shaping how scientists in Scotland and beyond understand the Earth. We can also predict, to an extent, the effects of future climate change by drawing on this evidence of our past.

And, of course, our rocks, landforms and soils form the foundation upon which plants, animals and people live and interact.