NW Highlands (Geological Evolution and Tectonics)

Module code: GL3117
Module co-ordinator: Professor Richard England

The Northwest Highlands of Scotland provide the stunning backdrop to this fieldwork module. From your base around Loch Assynt, you will visit the locations where many of the now-classic studies unravelling the tectonic evolution of mountain belts were first developed. You will explore the gneisses forming the Lewisian basement and begin to understand the record of tectonic and metamorphic events locked in these rocks as a geologic history spanning hundreds of millions of years and multiple events.

We will explore the late Precambrian and early Palaeozoic sedimentation on the continental margin of Laurentia and then study how these rocks were deformed by complex thrust faulting during the Caledonian orogeny. Many students taking this module have been inspired to undertake further research once they have completed their degrees.


You will be expected to discuss your observations and interpretations on the outcrop with staff leading the module and the rest of your group.

  • 6 hours of lectures
  • 90 hours of fieldwork
  • 54 hours of guided independent study


You will complete the module by synthesising your findings in a report and a geological history based on your field observations. This module requires you to draw on all the field and laboratory skills you have learned throughout your course and to bring them together in a coherent way.

  • Time event diagram and synthesis report (70%)
  • Contribution to field course and evening discussions (30%)