Arran – Scotland ’s geology in miniature
Arran has a remarkable diversity of rocks, fossils, landscapes and soil. Underpinning the island’s ecosystems, this ‘geodiversity’ is the reason Arran is geologically so special and is regarded as ‘ Scotland in miniature’.
The story of Scotland ’s long journey across the planet is recorded in the variety of rock types of different ages that form Arran ’s foundations.
Driven by plate tectonics the story of Arran ’s geological past is over 600 million years old. The story includes the coming together of Scotland and England with the formation of a mountain range from sand and mud that was deposited in a long lost ocean; the time when Scotland was over the equator and had a tropical climate; the period when reptiles roamed between desert oases leaving their tracks in sand; and the time when western Scotland was almost pulled apart, with the formation of a huge volcano as the North Atlantic formed splitting Greenland from Europe.
The more recent history of the island’s landscape is no less remarkable, being dominated by great ice sheets and glaciers that helped fashion the landscape today. Occasional earthquakes and changing sea level remind us that Arran ’s geological story continues and we are part of it.