The Long and Moving Story of the Great Glen Fault | 9 Feb 2019 | Nottingham

East Midlands Geological Society
Presidential Address: Mike Allen
Nottingham University – 6.00 pm

The Great Glen Fault is, perhaps, the best known fault in the land. But how much do we really know of its nature and origins? This thorny issue appears to have been discussed more than any other structure in Britain, judging by a review of the geological literature available to me (and probably more besides)!

The general consensus agrees that we are dealing primarily with a strike-slip (or wrench) fault, probably with origins back in Pre-Cambrian times. It produces a very obvious mark right across the Scottish mainland and extends deep into, and perhaps through, the crust; but its continuation beyond both coastlines have been a subject of some speculation, with rather less consensus.

The subject that has, however, courted greatest controversy is the amount, direction and timing of movement along the fault. This debate can be considered by following several lines of argument that commonly appear to be mutually exclusive but occasionally produce elements of support for each other, although a final answer (if such is possible) remains to be established.

This investigation is of further interest to the historian of geology in that it reveals how methods in geology have been shaped and how ideas have evolved through new technological capabilities and understanding of the earth over the course of the last 150 years or so.

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9 February 2019 18:00


11 January 2019