ABOUT THIS BOOK
PUBLICATION DATE: November 7, 2019
Scotland’s Mountain Landscapes: A Geomorphological Perspective
Colin K. Ballantyne
Scotland s mountain landscapes are remarkably diverse, encompassing the isolated summits of the far northwest, the serrated ridges of Skye, the tor-studded high plateau of the Cairngorms and the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands. Born on ancient continents and uplifted by tectonic forces, the mountains of Scotland have been sculpted by successive glaciers and ice sheets, landslides, frost, wind and rivers. Colin Ballantyne takes readers on a journey through time to explore not only the long-term evolution of Scotland s mountains but also the ways in which the mountain landscapes have changed since the end of the Ice Age and the various processes that are continually altering the mountain landscape today. Scotland s Mountain Landscapes outlines the geological history of the mountains, the relationships between rocks and relief, and the ways in which ways in which uplift over the past 55 million years has produced high, dissected plateaux. The causes, nature and history of the Ice Age are explored, with particular reference to the last Scottish Ice Sheet and the mountain glaciers that were present in Scotland as recently as 12,000 years ago. In non-technical terms it explains the origin of Scotland s glacial landforms, the effects of frost action in forming the rubble that mantles many mountain summits, and how such debris has slowly migrated downslope by freezing and thawing of the ground. The dramatic effects of deglaciation and earthquakes in triggering catastrophic landslides and displacement of entire mountainsides are described, along with accounts of more recent events involving the rapid downslope flow of saturated debris. The effects of strong winds in scouring plateaus and depositing expanses of windblown sand are introduced, and the role of floods in eroding upland terrain and depositing floodplains and fans of sediment is described in the context of the effects of human activity in destabilizing hillslopes. Written in clear non-technical language and abundantly illustrated, Scotland s Mountain Landscapes draws on a wealth of recent research to provide an essential guide to landforms for all those who walk, climb, live, work or study in the mountains of Scotland.
Colin K Ballantyne is Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography at the University of St Andrews. He is a geomorphologist with 40 years of research experience. He has worked in a range of mountain environments, including those of the Canadian High Arctic, Norway, Spitsbergen, the Alps and New Zealand, and has published numerous scientific papers relating to the glacial, periglacial and postglacial landforms of Scotland.