Landscapes and landforms of Scotland: a geomorphological odyssey

John E. Gordon*, Colin K. Ballantyne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The landscapes and landforms of Scotland are renowned for their outstanding geodiversity, the outcome of a long and complex geological evolution, Cenozoic uplift and etchplanation, and modification by glacial and interglacial processes during the Quaternary. The Scottish landscape has provided the stimulus for over two centuries of groundbreaking research in geology and geomorphology, beginning with the seminal work of James Hutton (1726–1797) and the subsequent development of uniformitarianism as a geological paradigm by Charles Lyell (1797–1875). From 1840, Scottish researchers played a major part in the recognition of the role of Quaternary glaciation in fashioning the landscape, and other nineteenth-century Scottish pioneers developed such concepts as glacio-isostasy, multiple Pleistocene glaciations and the astronomical theory of climate change. We trace the subsequent history of key geomorphological developments in Scotland before outlining the rationale for the chapters in this book: (i) four systematic chapters that set the context and chronology for those that follow; (ii) 17 regionally focused chapters that encompass particular landscapes; and (iii) six thematic-based chapters that highlight particular aspects of Scotland’s geomorphology. The final chapter addresses geoconservation, and the approach and measures adopted to protect Scotland's exceptional geoheritage.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes and landforms of Scotland
EditorsColin K. Ballantyne, John E. Gordon
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783030712464
ISBN (Print)9783030712457, 9783030712488
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameWorld geomorphological landscapes
ISSN (Print)2213-2090
ISSN (Electronic)2213-2104


  • Geodiversity
  • Geoheritage
  • Geology
  • Geomorphology
  • History of geomorphology
  • Landscape
  • Scotland


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