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Rocks and minerals

Five distinct foundation blocks are the basis for Scotland’s rich geological history and incredibly diverse geology.

Scotland’s geological foundations formed far apart hundreds of millions of years ago. A series of massive continental collisions that took place between 480 million and 425 million years ago eventually brought them together.

Once its foundations had joined, Scotland drifted northwards across the equator to its present position. During this journey, new layers of rock formed, as sediments built up and were buried, and Scotland’s climate and environment changed hugely.

The rocks we see today reflect the diverse environments in which they formed, from deep oceans and shallow seas to deserts, swamps and lakes.

Many rare and valuable minerals occur in Scotland’s rocks. Decorative, semi-precious and precious stones have also been found here – and some still are today.

Learn about our geodiversity as a source of natural resources.

Find out about minerals in the UK and worldwide.