The Cairngorm Mountains

John E. Gordon*, Vanessa Brazier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Cairngorm Mountains represent a classic landscape of selective linear glacial erosion formed in a largely granite massif. Relict, non-glacial landforms include palaeosurfaces with tors, weathered rock and broadly convex summits that have generally been little modified by glacial erosion. These features contrast sharply with glacial troughs and breached watersheds that are deeply incised into the massif. This remarkable geomorphological diversity is enhanced by the presence of cirques, periglacial landforms on the upper slopes and plateaux, ice-marginal deglacial landforms in the valleys and on the lower slopes, paraglacial reworking of debris slopes and glacial deposits, and dynamic river systems. The landforms and geomorphological processes of the Cairngorms provide the foundations for internationally important biodiversity and form a highly sensitive geo-ecological system maintained by the interactions of geology, geomorphology, soils, vegetation and climate.

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


  • Debris flows
  • Glacial troughs
  • Gravel-bed rivers
  • Ice-marginal landsystem
  • Palaeosurfaces
  • Periglacial landforms
  • Selective linear glacial erosion
  • Tors


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