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Looking at Edinburgh Castle it is easily appreciated that it embodies a thousand year's worth of history. By investigation of soils and erosional features we can extend Edinburgh's history back to the end of the ice-ages and the movements of glaciers across the region can also be discerned. However, before the ice-ages we are confronted with a vast time gap of around three hundred million years. For this interval we can only surmise what local conditions in and around Edinburgh were like. It is when we investigate the bed-rocks that it is possible to take the story back further. Edinburgh's rocks, formed between 300 and 450 million years ago, afford startling perspectives of the extraordinarily different environments of those remote times. The sandstones with which much of the city is built, were washed down in rivers meandering through a tropical landscape. Coals from the seams of the Midlothian coal-field are fossil relicts of extensive rain-forests that thrived in steamy coastal swamps.
The more visible rocks such as the famous Castle Rock, are memorials to volcanoes that erupted about 340 million years ago. Older than these, and dating back to more than 400 million years, are the Braid, Blackford and much of the Pentland Hills. Whilst the oldest rocks within a 25 mile radius of Waverley Bridge are tucked away in a few small patches of the Pentland hills. More than two hundred years of geological researches have left us with a remarkably detailed picture of the distribution of land and sea, of the climate and of the evolving plants and animals that lived here. Edinburgh Rock: The Geology of Lothian is an account of these fascinating Palaeozoic times by Brian Upton and Euan Clarkson.
List of Tables and Illustrations
2. The rocks and geological structures of the Edinburgh district
3. Plants and vertebrates of the Palaeozoic
4. Ordovician and Siluriann of the Southern Uplands
5. Silurian of the Pentland Hills
6. Sedimentary Rocks of the 'Old Red Sandstone' continent: the Lower Devonian
7. Edinburgh's volcanoes in Old Red Sandstone times
8. Upper Devonian to Lower Carboniferous
9. Early Carboniferous environments
10. A sub-tropical Edinburgh of lagoons and volcanoes
11. Volcanoes of East Lothian
12. Edinburgh's Carboniferous lake district
13. Return of the sea
14. Coal and the Coal Measures
15. Magmatic intrusions of the late Carboniferous
16. Edinburgh: the missing years
17. The Pleistocene Ice Ages and their legacy
18. The building stones of Edinburgh
Index of Place Names
Index of Geologists
Brian Upton is a retired professor of petrology and Euan Clarkson is a retired professor of palaeontology. The two have worked as close colleagues in the University of Edinburgh for the past forty years.