Research & Fieldwork

Many universities and colleges, from the UK and abroad, choose Lochaber as a venue for geological fieldwork courses.

The exposure in the mountainous areas provides excellent, accessible opportunities for illustrating geological relationships in three dimensions. The long fjord coastline provides hundreds of km of well exposed rock. The range of rock types, igneous, metamorphic and, to a lesser extent, sedimentary, is exceptional, as is the range of geological ages exposed.

Geological research in Lochaber goes back to the 19th century, and continues at a high level to the present day.

Popular locations for University parties include:

  • The shoreline at Onich, a classic section in Dalradian rocks
  • Dalradian terrain around Loch Leven, used by several universities for training in structural mapping
  • The region around Cuil Bay and Duror is used to teach elementary mapping, and is near Kentallen, the type locality of the igneous rock kentallenite
  • The ‘Road to the Isles’ from Fort William to Mallaig which crosses the three sub-divisions of the Moine
  • The Glen Coe caldera
  • The Ballachulish granite and its metamorphic aureole
  • The Ardnamurchan ring complex
  • The Rum layered intrusion
  • The ’Parallel Roads’ of Glen Roy and geomorphological features throughout Lochaber

Our Rock Route Interpretative Panels are designed primarily for non-expert readers but are of value at undergraduate level because of the use of oblique maps which show the geology draped over the topography.


Publications

Papers about the geology and geomorphology of Lochaber, last 5 years. From Web of Science, 11.10.18

Ardnamurchan (3)

Three-dimensional magma flow dynamics within subvolcanic sheet intrusions

By: Magee, C.; O’Driscoll, B.; Petronis, M. S.; et al.

GEOSPHERE   Volume: 12   Issue: 3   Pages: 842-866   Published: JUN 2016

Geological constraints on the dynamic emplacement of cone-sheets – The Ardnamurchan cone-sheet swarm, NW Scotland

By: Mathieu, Lucie; Burchardt, Steffi; Troll, Valentin R.; et al.

JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY   Volume: 80   Pages: 133-141   Published: NOV 2015

The Mull Paleocene dykes: some insights into the nature of major dyke swarms

By: Macdonald, R.; Fettes, D. J.; Baginski, B.

SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 51   Pages: 116-124   Part: 2   Published: NOV 2015

 

Isle of Rum (9)

Metasomatic Chromitite Seams in the Bushveld and Rum Layered Intrusions
By: Mathez, Edmond A.; Kinzler, Rosamond J.
ELEMENTS   Volume: 13   Issue: 6   Pages: 397-402   Published: DEC 2017

Plagioclase Zonation: An Archive of Trapped Liquid and Crustal Contamination

By: Morse, Stearns A.; Davidson, Jon P.; Tepley, Frank J., III

ELEMENTS   Volume: 13   Issue: 6   Pages: 403-408   Published: DEC 2017

Incremental Construction of the Unit 10 Peridotite, Rum Eastern Layered Intrusion, NW Scotland

By: Hepworth, Luke N.; O’Driscoll, Brian; Gertisser, Ralf; et al.

JOURNAL OF PETROLOGY   Volume: 58   Issue: 1   Pages: 137-166   Published: JAN 2017

Sulphide Sinking in Magma Conduits: Evidence from Mafic-Ultramafic Plugs on Rum and the Wider North Atlantic Igneous Province

By: Hughes, Hannah S. R.; McDonald, Iain; Boyce, Adrian J.; et al.

JOURNAL OF PETROLOGY   Volume: 57   Issue: 2   Pages: 383-415   Published: FEB 2016

Plagioclase Growth Rates Control Three-grain Junction Geometry in Dolerites and Gabbros

By: Holness, Marian B.

JOURNAL OF PETROLOGY   Volume: 56   Issue: 11   Pages: 2117-2143   Published: NOV 2015

Experimental petrology constraints on the recycling of mafic cumulate: a focus on Cr-spinel from the Rum Eastern Layered Intrusion, Scotland

By: Leuthold, Julien; Blundy, Jonathan D.; Brooker, Richard A.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO MINERALOGY AND PETROLOGY   Volume: 170   Issue: 2     Article Number: 12   Published: AUG 2015

The Rum Igneous Centre, Scotland

By: Emeleus, C. H.; Troll, V. R.

MINERALOGICAL MAGAZINE   Volume: 78   Issue: 4   Pages: 805-839   Published: AUG 2014

Successive episodes of reactive liquid flow through a layered intrusion (Unit 9, Rum Eastern Layered Intrusion, Scotland)

By: Leuthold, J.; Blundy, J. D.; Holness, M. B.; et al.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO MINERALOGY AND PETROLOGY   Volume: 168   Issue: 1     Article Number: 1021   Published: JUL 2014

Evolution of major and trace element compositions during melt migration through crystalline mush: implications for chemical differentiation in the crust

By: Solano, J. M. S.; Jackson, M. D.; Sparks, R. S. J.; et al.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SCIENCE   Volume: 314   Issue: 5   Pages: 895-939   Published: MAY 2014

 

Moine (6)

Thermobarometry of the Moine and Sgurr Beag thrust sheets, northern Scotland

By: Mazza, Sarah E.; Mako, Calvin; Law, Richard D.; et al.

JOURNAL OF STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY   Volume: 113   Pages: 10-32   Published: AUG 2018

Caledonian and Knoydartian overprinting of a Grenvillian inlier and the enclosing Morar Group rocks: structural evolution of the Precambrian Proto-Moine Nappe, Glenelg, NW Scotland

By: Krabbendam, M.; Ramsay, J. G.; Leslie, A. G.; et al.

SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 54   Pages: 13-35   Part: 1   Published: MAY 2018

Do Neoproterozoic (Moine) calc-silicate rocks represent metamorphosed tuffs? A geochemical re-appraisal

By: Batchelor, Richard A.

EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH   Volume: 107   Issue: 4   Pages: 333-349   Published: MAR 2018

The Neoproterozoic to Mid-Devonian evolution of Scotland: a review and unresolved issues

By: Dewey, John F.; Dalziel, Ian W. D.; Reavy, R. John; et al.

SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 51   Pages: 5-30   Part: 1   Published: APR 2015

Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic extensional and compressional history of East Laurentian margin sequences: The Moine Supergroup, Scottish Caledonides

By: Cawood, Peter A.; Strachan, Robin A.; Merle, Renaud E.; et al.

GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA BULLETIN   Volume: 127   Issue: 3-4   Pages: 349-371   Published: MAR 2015

Structure and stratigraphy of the Morar Group in Knoydart, NW Highlands: implications for the history of the Moine Nappe and stratigraphic links between the Moine and Torridonian successions

By: Krabbendam, M.; Leslie, A. G.; Goodenough, K. M.

SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 50   Pages: 125-142   Part: 2   Published: OCT 2014

The Laurentian Caledonides of Scotland and Ireland

By: Chew, David M.; Strachan, Rob A.

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE CALEDONIDES OF SCANDINAVIA AND RELATED AREAS   Book Series: Geological Society Special Publication   Volume: 390   Pages: 45-91   Published: 2014

 

Dalradian (3)

Chemical and textural equilibration of garnet during amphibolite facies metamorphism: The influence of coupled dissolution-reprecipitation
By: Dempster, Tim J.; La Piazza, Julie; Taylor, Andrew G.; et al.
JOURNAL OF METAMORPHIC GEOLOGY   Volume: 35   Issue: 9   Pages: 1111-1130   Published: DEC 2017

The Neoproterozoic to Mid-Devonian evolution of Scotland: a review and unresolved issues

By: Dewey, John F.; Dalziel, Ian W. D.; Reavy, R. John; et al.

SCOTTISH JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 51   Pages: 5-30   Part: 1   Published: APR 2015

The Laurentian Caledonides of Scotland and Ireland

By: Chew, David M.; Strachan, Rob A.

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE CALEDONIDES OF SCANDINAVIA AND RELATED AREAS   Book Series: Geological Society Special Publication   Volume: 390   Pages: 45-91   Published: 2014

 

Great Glen (1)

Spatially heterogeneous post-Caledonian burial and exhumation across the Scottish Highlands

By: Fame, Michelle L.; Spotila, James A.; Owen, Lewis A.; et al.

LITHOSPHERE   Volume: 10   Issue: 3   Pages: 406-425   Published: JUN 2018

 

Caledonian igneous rocks (4)

Digital Mapping and Three-Dimensional Model Building of the Ben Nevis Igneous Complex, Southwest Highlands, Scotland: New Insights into the Emplacement and Preservation of Postorogenic Magmatism

By: Muir, R. J.; Vaughan, A. P. M.

JOURNAL OF GEOLOGY   Volume: 125   Issue: 6   Pages: 607-636   Published: NOV 2017

Insights into the 3D architecture of an active caldera ring-fault at Tendurek volcano through modeling of geodetic data

By: Bathke, H.; Nikkhoo, M.; Holohan, E. P.; et al.

EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS   Volume: 422   Pages: 157-168   Published: JUL 15 2015

[Note: This paper, about a large caldera volcano in Turkey, that may be still active, contains these sentences, and a cross-section through the Glen Coe caldera:

‘A particularly good example is the ring-fault system that accommodated much of the subsidence of the ancient Glen Coe caldera in Scotland (Fig. 9b). Here, exceptional field exposures reveal the ring-fault to be outward dipping on its northeastern side and inward dipping on its southwestern side]

Accessory Mineral Chemistry of High Ba-Sr Granites from Northern Scotland: Constraints on Petrogenesis and Records of Whole-rock Signature

By: Bruand, E.; Storey, C.; Fowler, M.

JOURNAL OF PETROLOGY   Volume: 55   Issue: 8   Pages: 1619-1651   Published: AUG 2014

Using titanium-in-quartz geothermometry and geospeedometry to recover temperatures in the aureole of the Ballachulish Igneous Complex, NW Scotland

By: Morgan, D. J.; Jollands, M. C.; Lloyd, G. E.; et al.

Conference: Conference on Deformation Mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics (DRT) Location: Univ Oviedo, Oviedo, SPAIN Date: AUG 31-SEP 02, 2011

DEFORMATION STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL CRUST   Book Series: Geological Society Special Publication   Volume: 394   Pages: 145-165   Published: 2014

 

Quaternary studies (16)

Comments on: Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 128 (1), 1-162. In: The Lateglacial and early Holocene history of Glen Roy, Lochaber, western Scottish Highlands. Boston, CM and Lukas, S., (42-53); Cornish, R., (83-119); Lowe, JJ, Palmer, AP, Carter-Champion, A., McLeod, A., Ramirez-Rojas, I., Timms, RGO, (110-124); Sissons, JB (a 32-41, b 146-150)

By: Peacock, J. D.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 129   Issue: 2   Pages: 235-240   Published: APR 2018

Was the Younger Dryas (Loch Lomond Stadial) icefield on Rannoch Moor, western Scotland, deglaciated as early as c.12.5 cal ka BP?

By: Peacock, J. D.; Rose, J.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 2   Pages: 173-179   Published: APR 2017

Special issue: The Lateglacial and early Holocene history of Glen Roy, Lochaber, western Scottish Highlands Preface

By: Sugden, David E.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 1-1   Published: FEB 2017

Dynamic landscape changes in Glen Roy and vicinity, west Highland Scotland, during the Younger Dryas and early Holocene: a synthesis

By: Palmer, Adrian P.; Lowe, J. John

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 2-25   Published: FEB 2017

The origin of the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy: a review of 19th Century research

By: Rudwick, Martin J. S.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 26-31   Published: FEB 2017

The late glacial lakes of Glens Roy, Spean and vicinity (Lochaber district, Scottish Highlands)

By: Sissons, J. B.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 32-41   Published: FEB 2017

Evidence for restricted Loch Lomond Stadial plateau ice in Glen Turret and implications for the age of the Turret Fan

By: Boston, Clare M.; Lukas, Sven

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 42-53   Published: FEB 2017

Geomorphology and sedimentology of the Caol Lairig valley, Scottish Highlands: evidence for local glacier margin advance and retreat during the Loch Lomond Stadial

By: Tye, G. J.; Palmer, A. P.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 67-82   Published: FEB 2017

The gravel fans of upper Glen Roy, Lochaber, Scotland: their importance for understanding glacial, proglacial and glaciolacustrine dynamics during the Younger Dryas cold period in an Atlantic margin setting

By: Cornish, Roger

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 83-109   Published: FEB 2017

Stratigraphy of a Lateglacial lake basin sediment sequence at Turret Bank, upper Glen Roy, Lochaber: implications for the age of the Turret Fan

By: Lowe, J. J.; Palmer, A. P.; Carter-Champion, A.; et al.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 110-124   Published: FEB 2017

A new varve thickness record from Allt Bhraic Achaidh Fan, middle Glen Roy, Lochaber: implications for understanding the Loch Lomond Stadial glaciolacustrine varve sedimentation trends

By: Devine, R. M.; Palmer, A. P.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 136-145   Published: FEB 2017

The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, Scotland: geoconservation history and challenges

By: Brazier, Vanessa; Gordon, John E.; Faulkner, Martin; et al.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS ASSOCIATION   Volume: 128   Issue: 1   Special Issue: SI   Pages: 151-162   Published: FEB 2017

A Lateglacial Be-10 production rate from glacial lake shorelines in Scotland

By: Small, David; Fabel, Derek

JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE   Volume: 30   Issue: 6   Pages: 509-513   Published: AUG 2015

A comparison of micro-CT and thin section analysis of Lateglacial glaciolacustrine varves from Glen Roy, Scotland

By: Bendle, Jacob M.; Palmer, Adrian P.; Carr, Simon J.

QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS   Volume: 114   Pages: 61-77   Published: APR 15 2015

To prove Observations in the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and other Parts of Lochaber in Scotland in addition to the Test, that they are of marine Origin

By: Hossfeld, Uwe; Olsson, Lennart

CHARLES DARWIN: ZUR EVOLUTION DER ARTEN UND ZUR ENTWICKLUNG DER ERDE, 2. AUFLAGE   Book Series: Klassische Texte der Wissenschaft   Pages: 21-69   Published: 2014

Glacial geomorphology of the Great Glen Region of Scotland

By: Turner, Andrew J.; Woodward, John; Stokes, Chris R.; et al.

JOURNAL OF MAPS   Volume: 10   Issue: 1   Pages: 159-178   Published: JAN 2 2014

 

Miscellaneous (3)

 

Barium, zinc and strontium yellows in late 19th-early 20th century oil paintings

By: Otero, Vanessa; Campos, Marta F.; Pinto, Joana V.; et al.

HERITAGE SCIENCE   Volume: 5     Article Number: 46   Published: NOV 14 2017

(The Strontian mines)

New field, analytical data and melting temperature determinations from three vitrified forts in Lochaber, Western Highlands, Scotland

By: Friend, Clark R. L.; Kirby, James E.; Charnley, Norman R.; et al.

JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS   Volume: 10   Pages: 237-252   Published: DEC 2016

CTR Wilson and the cloud chamber

By: Longair, Malcolm

ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS   Volume: 53   Pages: 55-60   Published: JAN 2014

(The Ben Nevis observatory)