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Category 3: Historical & Scientific Importance

Historical and Scientific Importance

The UK and Ireland have a long history of world-leading geological research.

These sites are some of the most important in the history of our science, from type localities to sites of historical controversies.

Click on the links below to find out about each Geosite:



County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The site is world renowned for its role 200 years ago in the battle between the ‘Neptunists’ and the ‘Vulcanists’ over how igneous rocks were formed.

""Unsung Heroes



Shropshire, England

The science of geology has taken a number of local names from Roderick Murchison’s studies of these rocks in the 1830s, which are now applied worldwide. The Ludlow epoch is named after the town.

Siccar Point

Siccar Point

Berwickshire, Scotland

Siccar Point is famous in the history of geology for Hutton’s Unconformity, identified in 1788, which James Hutton regarded as proof of his uniformitarian theory.

""The People’s Choice



Skye, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

One of the peninsula’s most well known features is the Trotternish landslip, containing two of Skye’s most famous landmarks; the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing.

""Spectacular Scenery



Perth & Kinross, Scotland

One of the most familiar and best known mountains in Scotland, Schiehallion was selected in 1774 by Charles Mason to be part of an experiment attempting to estimate the mass of the Earth.

Buchan type Metamorphism

Buchan type metamorphism, Aberdeenshire


The northern coast of Aberdeenshire features the type locality for Buchan type metamorphism, as well as spectacular scenery.

Magnesian Limestone

Magnesian Limestone, South Shields

Tyne and Wear, England

These spectacular cliffs are key to the understanding of the original Magnesian Limestone succession and the catastrophic marine inundation that created the Zechstein sea.

""Unsung Heroes



Lairg, Highlands, Scotland

The Arnaboll Thrust on the east side of Loch Eriboll is where the term mylonite was first used, and features Lewisian gneisses above Lower Cambrian Pipe Rock.

Glen Tilt

Upper End of Glen Tilt

Perthshire, Scotland

One of the earliest geologists to visit Glen Tilt was James Hutton in 1785, whose studies there helped with his concept of deep geological time: ‘no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.’


Kynance Cove

Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, England

Kynance Cove became popular in the early Victorian era. Its distinctive green and red serpentine rocks have been polished by the sea over thousands of years.

100 Great Geosites


"" The People’s Choice
Winners of the Public Vote

""     Unsung Heroes    
Exceptional Local Geology

"" Spectacular Scenery
Stunning photo stops!

""         Geotourism        
Great for Visitors