Modelling and Comparing the Caledonian and Permo-Triassic Erosion Surfaces with Present-Day Topography Across Highland Scotland: Implications for Landscape Inheritance

  1. Gary Nichols,
  2. Ed Williams and
  3. Chris Paola
  1. David MacDonald1,
  2. Barry Archer1,
  3. Selma Murray2,
  4. Kieren Smith1 and
  5. Ann Bates1,†

Published Online: 30 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304411.ch13

Sedimentary Processes, Environments and Basins: A Tribute to Peter Friend

Sedimentary Processes, Environments and Basins: A Tribute to Peter Friend

How to Cite

MacDonald, D., Archer, B., Murray, S., Smith, K. and Bates, A. (2007) Modelling and Comparing the Caledonian and Permo-Triassic Erosion Surfaces with Present-Day Topography Across Highland Scotland: Implications for Landscape Inheritance, in Sedimentary Processes, Environments and Basins: A Tribute to Peter Friend (eds G. Nichols, E. Williams and C. Paola), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304411.ch13

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geology & Petroleum Geology, University of Aberdeen, Meston Building, King's College, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, UK

  2. 2

    PGL, Ternan House, North Deeside Road, Banchory AB31 5YR, UK

  1. IHS Energy, Enterprise House, Cirencester Road, Tetbury GL8 8LD, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 DEC 2007

Book Series:

  1. Special Publication Number 38 of the International Association of Sedimentologists

Book Series Editors:

  1. Ian Jarvis

Series Editor Information

  1. School of Earth Sciences & Geography, Centre for Earth & Environmental Science Research, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405179225

Online ISBN: 9781444304411

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Keywords:

  • modelling and comparing Caledonian and Permo-Triassic erosion surfaces with present-day topography across Highland Scotland;
  • Caledonian unconformity;
  • sensitivity tests and volumetrics;
  • highland Scotland erosion surfaces and landscape inheritance;
  • Caledonian unconformity south of Rubha Bhrà;
  • relationship between modelled surface and present-day surface

Summary

The Caledonian Orogeny marks a starting point for the evolution of the Scottish Highlands. There is debate as to the level of erosion that the Highlands have experienced since the Devonian and the extent to which the Highland landscape reflects Permo-Triassic rather than Caledonian events. Data on the position and elevation of the Caledonian and Permo-Triassic unconformities have been used to create topographic models of both surfaces. A variety of computer mapping packages have been used that allow the interpreter to control many of the mapping parameters, creating models of surfaces that honour the data and maintain realistic surface trends. The effects of these parameters have been tested in a series of sensitivity experiments. The modelled Caledonian erosion surface has proved to be a good indicator of the present-day surface, suggesting that the Highlands are an exhumed landscape. This indicates that there has been limited denudation of basement rocks since the end of the Devonian. The model of the Permo-Triassic erosion surface has lower altitude and less relief than the model of the Caledonian surface, suggesting onlap onto a positive Highland block. Palaeomagnetic results showing Permo-Triassic reddening and fissuring of Highland basement rocks are interpreted as reflecting re-occupation of an older surface.