For its size the UK is widely considered one of
the most geodiverse places in the world.
Carboniferous rocks at Cuilcagh Mountain, Co. Fermanagh. © NIEA
The Earth is 4600 million years old and the oldest rocks in the
UK, found in Scotland, are 2800 million years old representing more
than half of the Earth's history. These rocks, and the fossils and
minerals they contain, provide evidence of past life and show
environmental change from scorching deserts to ice ages, inundation
by shallow tropical seas and deep oceans, to times of volcanic
eruption and mountain building as continents have come together and
For over 200 years the UK's geodiversity has been at the heart
of the development of the science of geology.
Its diversity and accessibility has provided an inspiration that
continues today for natural historians, scientists and
Understanding geodiversity helps us understand the Earth and how
it works and, helps guide the decisions we make in managing the
natural environment, the impacts of climate change and the Earth's
finite natural resources.