Geoconservation Research (Jun 2021)

Shifting Continents and a Devonian Lake Full of Fish: The Extraordinary Geological History of the Shetland Geopark

  • Susan Beardmore

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 1
pp. 158 – 169


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Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark encompasses a wide variety of well-exposed and accessible geological features. The combination of ocean floor remnants on top of ancient continental crust, a cross-section through a volcano, and evidence of earth movements is preserved nowhere else in the world and, individually, are some of the best examples known. Devonian rocks deposited on the resulting landscape contain fossil faunas – vertebrate, invertebrate and plant - representing an early terrestrial ecosystem, elements of which have been correlated to similar Devonian deposits across northeast Scotland. Today, the Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark is managed by the Shetland Amenity Trust with the involvement of many organisations on and beyond the islands to conserve and promote exposures of the various geological features, now and into the future.