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Geological timeline

10,000 years ago up to present time

  • the land recovers from the Ice Age
  • peat develops during wet periods
  • trees, animals and people inhabit the area

2 million years up to 10,000 years ago

  • the Ice Age affects the whole planet
  • periods of glacial conditions alternate with short warmer periods

65 to 2 million years ago

  • volcanoes erupt off the west coast as the North Atlantic Ocean continues to widen
  • most of chalk limestone removed by erosion as sea level falls
  • climate cools

140 to 65 million years ago

  • climate warm and humid
  • sea level much higher than today
  • thick layers of chalk limestone laid down on seabed over much of what is now Scotland

200 to 140 million years ago

  • climate warm and humid
  • opening of North Atlantic Ocean begins
  • sea levels much higher than today

400 to 200 million years ago

  • no rocks of this age in NW Highlands
  • evidence elsewhere in Scotland of inland deserts with tropical swamps on the coast and reefs
  • offshore widespread volcanic activity in rest of Scotland

500 to 400 million years ago

  • Durness Limestone (carbonates) deposition ends about 490 million years ago as land is pushed up and sea retreats
  • major mountain chain created where Highlands are now
  • rapid erosion of uplifted land
  • Moine Thrust formed as rocks from the east (Moine Schists) were pushed westwards, sliding over the top of NW Highlands rocks

550 to 500 million years ago

  • beach sands laid down on coastal fringes of large continent (to create Basal Quartzite, Pipe Rock and Salterella Grit formations)
  • mudstones (Fucoid Beds), and carbonates (Durness Limestone) laid down when sea level rose and water was deeper
  • worms burrowing in beach sands leave first evidence of life in this area

3500 to 550 million years ago

  • Lewisian Gneisses represent ancient rocks formed up to 3000 million years ago
  • much later, around 800 to 1000 million years ago, the rocks that are now the Moine Schists were laid down away to the east as layer upon layer of sand and silt; they were then pushed down into the Earth’s crust and changed into their present form
  • at about the same time, Torridonian Sandstones were laid down to the west as river sands and gravels in a desert environment; unlike the Moine Schists, they escaped being altered

Ceann an Iar Thuath na Gàidhealtachd tro na Linntean

O chionn10,000 bliadhna chun an latha an-diugh

  • an talamh a’ faighinn thairis air Linn na Deighe
  • mòine a’ fàs rè amannan fliucha
  • craobhan, beathaichean is daoine san sgìre

O chionn 2 mhillean bliadhna gu chionn 10,000 bliadhna

  • Linn na Deighe a’ toirt buaidh air a’ phlanaid gu lèir
  • greis dheigheadail agus greis ghoirid de bhlàths a’ tighinn fear mu seach

O chionn 65 gu chionn 2 mhillean bliadhna

  • bholcànothan a’ spreadhadh air an taobh an iar
  • agus Ceann a Tuath a’ Chuain Shiar a’ cumail a’ fàs nas motha
  • chuir bleith às dhan mhòrchuid de chloich-aoil chailce nuair a chaidh àirde na mara sìos
    a’ ghnàth-shìde a’ fàs fionnar

O chionn 140 gu chionn 65 millean bliadhna

  • a’ ghnàth-shìde blàth is tais
  • am muir gu math nas àirde na tha e an-diugh
  • fillidhean tiugha de chloich-aoil chailce gan cur air grunnd na marasa mhòrchuid dhen àite ris an canar Alba an-diugh

O chionn 200 gu chionn 140 millean bliadhna

  • a’ ghnàth-shìde blàth is tais
  • ceann a tuath a’ Chuain Shiar a’ tòiseachadh a’ fosgladh
  • am muir gu math nas àirde na tha e an-diugh

O chionn 400 gu chionn 200 millean bliadhna

  • chan eil creagan dhen aois seo air taobh an Iar Thuath na Gàidhealtachd
  • fianais ann an àitichean eile ann an Alba mu fhàsaichean a-staigh air an dùthaich le boglaichean tropaigeach air a’ chladach agus sgeirean far a’ chladaich
  • tòrr bholcànothan sa chòrr de dh’Alba

O chionn 500 gu chionn 400 millean bliadhna

  • sguir Clach-aoil Dhiùranais ga cur sìos o chionn 490 millean bliadhna no mar sin nuair a chaidh talamh a phutadh suas agus a chaidh am muir air ais
  • chaidh sreath mòr bheanntan a chruthachadh far a bheil a’ Ghàidhealtachd an-diugh
  • an talamh a chuireadh suas ga bhleith gu luath
  • Sàthadh na Mòine air a chruthachadh nuair a chaidh creagan on ear (Schistean na Mòine) a phutadh dhan iar, a’ sleamhnachadh thairis air creagan cheann an Iar Thuath na Gàidhealtachd

O chionn 550 gu chionn 500 millean bliadhna

  • gainmheach na tràghad ga cur sìos air cladaichean na mòr-roinn (a chruthaich cumaidhean de Bhun Chlach-èiteig, Creag Phìobachch agus Grinneal Salterella)
  • clachan-eabair (Imirean Fucoid), agus clachan-aoil (Clach-aoil Dhiùranais) air an cur sìos nuair a dh’èirich àirde na mara agus a bha an t-uisge na bu dhoimhne
  • ’s e boiteagan a’cladhach san tràigh a’chiadh fhianais air beatha san sgìre seo

O chionn 3500 gu chionn 550 millean bliadhna

  • Gneisses Leodhasach a’ riochdachadh sheann chreagan a chaidh a chruthachadh suas gu chionn 3000 millean bliadhna
  • Ùine mhòr an dèidh sin, o chionn 800 is 1000 millean bliadhna, chuireadh sìos na creagan a tha a-nis ann an Schistean na Mòine ris an ear mar fhilleadh air muin fillidh de ghainmhich is de dh’eabar; chaidh an uair sin am putadh sìos do rùsg na Talmhaainn agus dh’atharraich an cruth gu bhith mar a tha iad an-diugh
  • Mun aon àm, chuireadh sìos clachan-gainmhche Thoirbheartain ris an ear mar ghainmhich aibhne is grinneal ann an talamh fàsaich; ach cha do dh’atharraich iad sin mar a dh’atharraich Schistean na Mòine