UK geodiversity

For its size the UK is widely considered one of the most geodiverse places in the world.

Intense folding within the Cambrian South Stack Formation. © R. Roberts, CCW

Intense folding within the Cambrian South Stack Formation. © R. Roberts, CCW

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 moved apart.

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 scholars.

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.