Adrian M. Hall*, James D. Hansom, John E. Gordon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Shetland Isles display a remarkable diversity of geology and landforms. The varied relief and topography and the indented coastline are strongly influenced by the bedrock geology and structure at a variety of scales. During the last glaciation, Shetland supported an independent ice cap that extended across the adjacent continental shelves. Landforms of glacial erosion include glacially eroded valleys, breached watersheds, roughened bedrock surfaces and offshore deeps, but depositional landforms largely lie offshore. The coastal landscape is predominantly rocky, with an outstanding assemblage of eroded cliffs, caves, stacks and arches, with inlets drowned by rising postglacial sea levels. The severe wave-energy environment, particularly on the Atlantic coasts, has produced exceptional examples of cliff-top storm deposits. Inactive and active periglacial landforms occur at a relatively low altitude on Ronas Hill (450 m), reflecting the influence of wind and frost activity.

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 pages16
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


  • Cliff-top storm deposits
  • Drowned coastline
  • Geology and landscape
  • Peat erosion
  • Periglacial landforms
  • Rock-coast landforms
  • Shetland Ice Cap
  • Wind-patterned vegetation


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