Wednesday, 27 February 2013

See the Moine Thrust in 3D just as a geologist sees it! by Dr Tim Kearsey

Fanfare please! We proudly introduce the latest of our free online products: the beautiful and brilliant Assynt Culmination Geological 3D Model -


navigation around the iMap


To tell us more about the iMap is one of the models creators, Dr Tim Kearsey.

Geologist Charles Lapworth first recognised the thrust structures in Assynt in 1882. He wrote in his diary his nightmares of being ‘bodily caught up in the Moine Thrust’ and being crushed under what he called the ‘great earth engine’.

Those of us who studied geology at university may remember, with mixed feelings, fieldtrips to Assynt, in the far northwest of the Scottish Highlands, and trying to get our heads around the geometric complexity that is the Moine Thrust and its associated structures. The geology of this area has often formed the 'yard-stick' against which aspiring geologists have tested their ability to see geological relationships in 3D.
The Moine Thrust is but one of the iconic fault structures that can be found in what is now the Highlands of Scotland, but was it once at the heart of the developing Caledonian Mountain Belt. Stresses generated about 420 Million years ago in the Silurian, during collision of the Baltica (modern Scandinavia) and Laurentia (essentially modern North America) tectonic plates, provided the driving forces for that Caledonian Orogeny and generation of the Moine Thrust.

Over the last decade, the BGS has revised the geological map of this area whilst constructing a series of cross-sections that show the geological structure below the surface. 


Now my colleagues, Dr Graham Leslie, Dr Maarten Krabbendam, Calum Ritchie and myself have created a 3D interactive model of this structure which hopefully means that non-geologists and geologists alike can get a feel for the geometric beauty of this classic area of Scottish geology.

It’s free to download from our website 

Any comments, queries or ideas on how we could improve this visualisation would be greatly appreciated.  Please email your comments to: imap@bgs.ac.uk

Tim Kearsey

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