Geology and Geomorphology of Caithness



Anderson, D. E., Binney, H. A. and Smith, M. A., 1998. Evidence for abrupt climatic change in northern Scotland between 3900 and 3500 calendar years BP. The Holocene, 98: 97-103.

Anderson, L. I. , Dunlop, J. A., Trewin, N. H. 2000. A Middle Devonian chasmataspid arthropod from Achanarras Quarry, Caithness, Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology, 36, 151-158.

Andrews, I. J. et al., 1990. The geology of the Moray Firth. British Geological Survey.

Argent, J.D., Stewart, S. A., Green, P. F. and Underhill, J. R., 2002. Heterogeneous exhumation in the Inner Moray Firth, UK North Sea: constraints from new AFTAŽ and seismic data. Journal of the Geological Society, 159: 715-729.


Bain, D. C., Roe, M. J., Duthie, D. M. L. and Thomson, C. M., 2001. The influence of mineralogy on weathering rates and processes in an acid-sensitive granitic catchment. Applied Geochemistry, 16: 931-937.

Ballantyne, C. K., 1984. The Late Devensian periglaciation of upland Scotland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 3: 10-30.

Ballantyne, C. K., McCarroll, D., Nesje, A., Dahl, S. O. and Stone, J. O., 1998. The last ice sheet in north-west Scotland: reconstruction and implications. Quaternary Science Reviews, 17: 1149-1184.

BALLANTYNE, C.K. and HALL, A.M. 2008. The altitude of the last ice sheet in Caithness and east Sutherland, Northern Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology 44, 169-181.

Baxter, A.  N.  and Mitchell, J.  G.  1984. Camptonite-Monchiquite dyke swarms of Northern Scotland: Age relationships and their implications.  Scott.  J.  Geol.  20, 297-308. 

Becker, A and Davenport, C. A. (2001). Contemporary in situ stress determinations at three sites in Scotland and northern England. Journal of Structural Geology, 23,407-419

Birks, H.H., 1993. Loch of Winless. In: J. E. Gordon and D. G. Sutherland (Editors), The Quaternary of Scotland. Chapman and Hall, London, pp. 96-98.

Blackbourn, G.A., 1981, Correlation of Old Red Sandstone (Devonian) outliers in the Northern Highlands of Scotland: Geological Magazine, v. 118, p. 409-414.

Blackford, J. J., Edwards, K. J., Dugmore, A. J., Cook, G. T. and Buckland, P., 1992. Hekla-4: Icelandic volcanic ash and the mid-Holocene Scots Pine decline in northern Scotland. The Holocene, 2: 260-265.

Bowen, D. Q., 1989. The last interglacial-glacial cycle in the British Isles. Quaternary International, 3/4: 41-47.

Bowen, D. Q. and Sykes, G.A., 1988. Correlation of marine events and glaciations on the north-east Atlantic margin. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, B318: 619-635.


Chapman, N. A. (1975) An experimental study of spinel clinopyroxenite xenoliths from the Duncansby Ness vent, Caithness, Scotland. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 51, 223 - 230.

Charman, D.J. 1990. Origins and development of the Flow Country blanket mire, northern Scotland. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Southampton.


Charman, D.J. 1992. Blanket mire formation at the Cross Lochs, Sutherland, northern Scotland. Boreas, 21, 53-72.


Charman, D.J. 1994.  Patterned fen development in northern Scotland: developing a hypothesis from palaeoecological data.  Journal of Quaternary Science 9, 285-297.


Charman, D.J. 1994. Late-glacial and Holocene vegetation history of the Flow Country, northern Scotland. New Phytologist 127, 155-168.


Charman, D.J. 1995. Patterned fen development in northern Scotland: hypothesis testing and comparison with ombrotrophic blanket peats. Journal of Quaternary Science 10, 327-342.


Charman, D.J. 1998. Pool development on patterned fens in Scotland. In: Standen, V., Tallis, J.H. and Meade, R. (eds), Patterned Mires and Pools. Origin, and Development; flora and fauna. The British Ecological Society, London, 39-54.


Charman, D.J., Grattan, J.P., West, S. and Kelly, A. 1995. Environmental change and tephra deposition: the Strath of Kildonan, northern Scotland. Journal of Archaeological Science, 22, 799-809.

Clayton, K., 1996. Quantification of the impact of glacial erosion on the British Isles. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers NS, 21: 124-140.

Cleghorn, J., 1850. On the till near Wick in Caithness. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 6: 386-6.

Cleghorn, J., 1851. On the till of Caithness. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 7: 200-201.

Cleghorn, J. 1859. On the submerged forests of Caithness. Report to the British Association.

Cook, G. T., 1984. Geochemical associations of plutonium in the Caithness environment. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, 223, 517-522.

Crampton, C. B., 1911. The vegetation of Caithness in relation to the geology. Botanical Exchange Club III (1912) 38-

Crampton, C. B. and Carruthers, R. G., 1914. The geology of Caithness. Geological Survey of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Geology map  Memoir Part 1  Memoir Part 2

Croll, J., 1870. The boulder clay of Caithness a product of land ice. Geological Magazine, 7: 209-214, 271-278.

Darling, W. G., Edmunds, W. M. and Smedley , P. L., 1997. Isotopic evidence for palaeowaters in the British Isles. Applied Geochemistry, 12: 813-829.

Dawson, S. and Smith, D. E., 2000. The sedimentology of Middle Holocene tsunami facies in northern Sutherland, Scotland, UK. Marine Geology, 170: 69-79.

Dec, T., 1992. Textural characteristics and interpretation of second-cycle, debris-flow-dominated alluvial fans (Devonian of Northern Scotland). Sedimentary Geology, 77(3-4): 269-296.

Donovan, R. N.  and Foster, R. J. 1972. Subaqueous shrinkage cracks from the Caithness Flagstone Series (Middle Devonian) of northeast Scotland Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 42, 309-317.

Donovan, R. N. 1973, Basin margin deposits of the Middle Old Red Sandstone at Dirlot, Caithness; Scottish Jl. of Geol. 9, 203-211.

Donovan, R. N., Foster, R. J. and T. S. Westoll, 1974. A stratigraphical revision of the Old Red Sandstone of northeastern Caithness; Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 69, 171-205.

Donovan, R. N. 1975. Middle Devonian limestones developed at the margin of the Orcadian basin, Caithness; Jl.of the Geol. Soc., 131, 489-510.

Donovan, R. N., R. Archer, P. Turner, D. H. Tarling, 1976.  Devonian paleogeography of the Orcadian basin and the Great Glen Fault: Nature, v. 259, 550-551.

1976 Turner, P., Tarling, D. H., Archer, R. and Donovan, R. N., A palaeomagnetic argument concerning post-Devonian displacement along the Great Glen Fault. Geol Mag. 113 (4) pp. 365-370.

1976 Tarling, D. H., R. N. Donovan, J. M. Abour-D-eb, and S.I . El-Batrouk, Paleomagnetic dating of hematitic genesis in Orcadian basin sediments; Scott. Jl. Geol., 12, 125-134.

1977 Donovan, R.N., and A. Collins, The age of two Old Red Sandstone sequences in southern Caithness, Scotland; Scott. Jl. Geol, 12, 53-57.

Donovan, R. N. and Collins, A.1978. Mound structures from the Caithness Flagstones (Middle Devonian), northern Scotland. Journal of Sedimentary Research 48, 171-173.

Donovan, R. N. 1980. Lacustrine cycles, fish ecology and stratigraphic zonation in the Middle Devonian of Caithness. Scottish Journal of Geology 16, 36-50.

Dugmore, A. J., Larsen, G., and Newton, A. J., 1995, Seven tephra isochrones in Scotland: The Holocene, v. 5, p. 257-266.

Dugmore, A.J., Cook, G.T., Shore, J.S., Newton, A.J., Edwards, K., and Larsen, G., 1995, Radiocarbon dating tephra layers in Britain and Iceland: Radiocarbon, v. 37, p. 379-388.

Elvidge, E. M., 1993. Aspects of the glacial geomorphology of northern Scotland. Ph. D Thesis, East Anglia.

Evans, D. J. A., Clark, C.D. and Mitchell, W. A., 2005. The last British Ice Sheet: A review of the evidence utilised in the compilation of the Glacial Map of Britain. Earth-Science Reviews, 70(3-4): 253-312.

Flinn, D., 1961. Continuation of the Great Glen Fault beyond the Moray Firth. Nature, 191: 589-591.

Flinn, D., 1981. A note on the glacial and late glacial history of Caithness. Geological Journal, 16.

Frostick, L., Reid, I., Jarvis, J. and Eardley, H., 1988. Triassic sediments in the inner Moray Firth, Scotland: early rift deposits. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 145: 235-248.

Futty, D.W. and Dry, F.T., 1977. The soils of the country round Wick. Memoirs of the Soil Survey of Great Britain. HMSO, Edinburgh, 287 pp.


Gordon, J. E., 1993. The glaciation of Caithness. In: J. E. Gordon and D. G. Sutherland (Editors), The Quaternary of Scotland. Chapman and Hall, pp. 87-91.

Gordon, J. E., 1993. Leavad. In: J. E. Gordon and D. G. Sutherland (Editors), The Quaternary of Scotland. Chapman and Hall, pp. 94-96.

Gordon, J. E., 1993. Baile an t-Sratha. In: J. E. Gordon and D. G. Sutherland (Editors), The Quaternary of Scotland. Chapman and Hall, pp. 91-94.

Gordon, J. E., 1993. Drumhollistan. In: J. E. Gordon and D. G. Sutherland (Editors), The Quaternary of Scotland. Chapman and Hall, pp. 92-94.


Hall, A. M. and Whittington, G., 1989. Late Devensian glaciation of southern Caithness. Scottish Journal of Geology, 25: 307-324.

Hall, A.M. and Bent, A. J. A., 1990. The limits of the last British ice sheet in northern Scotland and the adjacent shelf. Quaternary Newsletter, 61: 2-12.

Hall, A.M., Peacock, J. D. and Connell, E. R., 2003. New data for the Last Glacial Maximum in Great Britain and Ireland: comments on the paper by Bowen et al. (2002). Quaternary Science Reviews, 22: 1551-1554.

Hall, A.M., Auton, C.A., Michie, U., Pearson, S. and Riding, J., 2011. Switching flow patterns within the last ice sheet in northern Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology, 47: 157-167.

Hillis, R.R., Thomson, K. and Underhill, J. R., 1994. Quantification of Tertiary erosion in the Inner Moray Firth by sonic velocity data from the Chalk and Kimmeridge Clay. Marine and Petroleum Geology: 282-293.

Horne, J., 1911. Stacks half a mile SW of Clyth Shore. Royal Commission on Coastal Erosion, 3. His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

Hutchinson, J. N., Millar, D. L. and Trewin, N. H., 2001. Coast erosion at a nuclear waste shaft, Dounreay, Scotland. Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology & Hydrogeology, 34: 245-268.

Isarin, R. F. B. and Bohncke, S. J. P., 1999. Mean July temperatures during the Younger Dryas in northwestern and central Europe as inferred from climate indicator plant species. Quaternary Research, 51: 158-173.

JAMIESON, T. F. 1860. On the drift and rolled gravel of the north of Scotland. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 16, 347-371.

JAMIESON, T. F. 1865. On the history of the last geological changes in Scotland. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 21, 161-203.

Jamieson, T. F., 1866. On the glacial phenomena of Caithness. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 22: 261-281.

Janaway, T.M. and Parnell, J., 1989. Carbonate production within the orcadian basin, northern Scotland: A petrographic and geochemical study. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 70(1-3): 89-105.

Johnstone, G.S., and Mykura, W., 1989, The Northern Highlands of Scotland: London, British Geological Survey.

Jones, R. W. and Milton, N. J., 1994. Sequence development during uplift: Palaeogene stratigraphy and relative sea-level history of the Outer Moray Firth, UK North Sea. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 11: 157-165.




MILLER, H. 1850. On peculiar scratched pebbles and fossil specimens from the boulder clay, and on chalk flints and oolitic fossils from the boulder clay in Caithness. Transactions of the British Association 93-96.
Musson, R. M. W. 1990. The 3 July 1862 Thurso earthquake. British Geological Survey. Technical report, WL/90/10.

Ogilvie, A. G., 1923. Physiography of the Moray Firth coast. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 53: 377-404.

OMAND, D. 1972. The Ice Age. In D. OMAND, The Caithness Book, 26-32. Highland Printers.

Omand, D., 1973. The glaciation of Caithness. M. Sc Thesis, Strathclyde.

Omand, D., 1975. Deep weathering of rock in Caithness. Bulletin of the Caithness Field Club, 1(5).

Omand, D., 1975. The making of the Caithness landscape. In Caithness: a Cultural Crossroads, ed J Baldwin. Scottish Society of Northern Studies, Edinburgh 1982, 45-59

Peach, B. N. and Horne, J., 1881. The glaciation of Caithness. Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 6: 316-352.

Peach, C.W., 1858. On the discovery of calcareous zoophytes in the boulder clay of Caithness. Transactions of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 1: 18.

Peach, C.W., 1859. On the discovery of nullipores (calcareous plants) and sponges in the boulder clay of Caithness. Transactions of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 2: 98-101.

Peach, C.W., 1860. On the chalk flints of the Island of Stroma and vicinity of John o' Groats in the County of Caithness. Transactions of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 2: 159-161.

Peach, C.W., 1863. Further observations on the boulder clay of Caithness, with an additional list of fossils. Transactions of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 3: 396-403.

Peach, C.W., 1863. On the fossils of the boulder clay of Caithness. Proceedings of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh, 3: 38.

Peglar, S., 1979. A radio-carbon dated pollen diagram from Loch Winless, Caithness, north-east Scotland. New Phytologist, 82: 245-263.

Pennington, W., 1977. Lake sediments and the Lateglacial environment in northern Scotland. Studies in the Scottish Lateglacial Environment. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 119-141 pp.

Pennington, W., Haworth, E. Y., Bonny, A. P. and Lishman, J. P., 1972. Lake sediments in northern Scotland. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 264: 191-294.


Reid G. and McManus J. 1987. Sediment exchanges along the coastal margin of the Moray Firth, Eastern Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society, Volume 144, 179-185.

Ritchie, W.S., and Mather, A.E., 1970, The beaches of Caithness, Countryside Commission for Scotland.

Rock, N.  M.  1983.  The Permo-Carboniferous comptonite-monchiquite dyke suite of the Scottish Highlands and Islands: distribution, field and petrologic aspects.  Rep.  Inst.  Geol.  Sci., No.  82/14. 

Rogers, D.A., Marshall, J. E. A. and Astin, T. R., 1989. Devonian and later movements on the Great Glen fault system, Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society, 146: 369-372.

Shennan, I. et al., 2000. Late Devensian and Holocene records of relative sea-level changes in northwest Scotland and their implications for glacio-hydro-isostatic modelling. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19: 1103-1136.

Dawson, S. and Smith, D. E. (1997) Holocene relative sea level changes on the margin of a glacio-isostatically uplifted area: an example from northern Caithness, Scotland. The Holocene 7, 59-77.

Smiles, S. 1878. Robert Dick, Baker, of Thurso, Geologist and Botanist. London.

Smith, D. E. et al., 2004. The Holocene Storegga Slide tsunami in the United Kingdom. Quaternary Science Reviews, 23: 2291-2321.

Smith, J. A., 1871. Notice of remains of the rein-deer, Cervus tarandus, found in Ross-shire Sutherland and Caithness; with notes of its occurrence throughout Scotland. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 8: 186-222.

Smith, J. S., 1977. The last glacial epoch around the Moray Firth. In: G. Gill (Editor), The Moray Firth Area Geological Studies. Inverness Field Club, pp. 72-82.

Stevenson, Thomas. 1864 Design and construction of harbours Edinburgh

Strachan, R. A., 1988. The metamorphic rocks of the Scaraben area, East Sutherland and Caithness. Scottish Journal of Geology, 24: 1-14.

Steers, J. A. 1973 The coastline of Scotland. Cambridge.

Storetvedt, K.M. and Ottera, L.E., 1988. Palaeozoic reconfigurations of north Scotland based on palaeomagnetic results from Caithness dykes. Physics of The Earth and Planetary Interiors, 52(3-4): 243-255.

Tait, D., 1909. On the occurrence of Cretaceous fossils in Caithness. Transactions of the Edinburgh Geological Society Transactions of the Edinburgh Geological Society, 9: 318-321.

Tait, D., 1910. On a large glacially transported mass of Lower Cretaceous rock at Leavad in the county of Caithness. Transactions of the Geological Society of Edinburgh, 10: 1-9.

Thomson, K. and Hillis, R. R., 1995. Tertiary structuration and erosion of the inner Moray Firth. In: R.A. Scrutton, M.S. Stoker, G.B. Shimmield and A.W. Tudhope (Editors), The Tectonics, Sedimentation and Palaeooceanography of the North Atlantic Region. The Geological Society, London.

Thomson, K., Underhill, J. R., Green, P. F., Bray, R. J. and Gibson, H. J., 1999. Evidence from apatite fission track analysis for the post-Devonian burial and exhumation history of the northern Highlands, Scotland. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 16: 27-39.

Trewin, N. H., 1991. Jurassic Sedimentation and Tectonics in the Brora-Helmsdale Area and Old Red Sandstone Fluvial and Lacustrine Facies in North Scotland. British Sedimentological Research Group.

Trewin, N. H. and Hurst, A., 1993. Excursion guide to the geology of east Sutherland and Caithness. Geological Society of Aberdeen, Aberdeen.

Vasari, Y. and Vasari, A., 1968. Late- and Post-Glacial macrophytic vegetation in the lochs of northern Scotland. Acta botanica fennicae, 45: 193-217.

Woodman-Smith, B., 2004. An assessment of the geomorphological impacts of high magnitude waves on the rocky coastline of Northern Scotland. B.Sc Thesis, Edinburgh, 81 pp.



Zauyah, D.S., 1976. Mineralogical and chemical changes in the deeply weathered Helmsdale Granite. M. Sc. Thesis, Aberdeen.