Geological History of Britain and Ireland / Edition 2

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Britain and Ireland have a remarkably varied geology for so small a fragment of continental crust, with a fine rock record back through three billion years of geological time. This history would have been interesting enough if it had been played out on relatively stable continental crust. However, Britain and Ireland have developed at a tectonic crossroads, on crust once traversed by subduction zones and volcanic arcs, continental rifts and mountain belts. The resulting complexity is instructive, fascinating and perplexing. Geological History of Britain and Ireland tells the region's story at a level accessible to undergraduate geologists, as well as to postgraduates, professionals or informed amateurs. This second edition is fully revised and updated, reflecting our continually developing knowledge of the region's geology. Full coverage is again given to the rich Precambrian and Early Palaeozoic history, as well as to later events more relevant to hydrocarbon exploration. The book is an essential starting point for more detailed studies of the regional geology.

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Editorial Reviews

Tells the geological story of the region at a level accessible to undergraduate geology students, taking a multidisciplinary rather than purely stratigraphical approach. Full coverage is given to Precambrian and Early Palaeozoic history, as well as later events more relevant to hydrocarbon exploration. Chapters are in sections on the northern and southern margins of the Iapetus Ocean, the Variscan cycle, and post- Variscan intraplate setting. Woodcock teaches earth science at the University of Cambridge, UK. Strachan teaches geology at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
“Summing Up:  Recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty.”  (Choice, 1 January 2013)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405193818
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Nigel Woodcock teaches structural geology and sedimentology in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. His published research of over 150 papers spans these two fields and regional tectonics, mostly resulting from field work on Palaeozoic rocks in England and Wales.
Rob Strachan teaches tectonics in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth. His published research of over 140 papers mainly results from fieldwork on Precambrian and Lower Palaeozoic rocks in Scotland, Greenland and France.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the 1st Edition, vii

Preface to the 2nd Edition, viii

List of Contributors, ix


1 Regional Geological History: Why and How?, 3
N. H. Woodcock and R. A. Strachan

2 Geological Framework of Britain and Ireland, 19
R. E. Holdsworth, N. H. Woodcock and R. A. Strachan


3 Early Earth History and Development of the Archaean Crust, 43
R. A. Strachan, C. D. Storey and A. R. Prave

4 Proterozoic Sedimentation, Orogenesis and Magmatism on the Laurentian Craton (2500–750 Ma), 54
R. A. Strachan, R. E. Holdsworth and A. R. Prave

5 Middle Neoproterozoic (<750 Ma) to Early Ordovician Sedimentation along the Laurentian Margin of Iapetus, 76
R. A. Strachan, A. R. Prave and R. E. Holdsworth

6 The Grampian Orogeny: Mid-Ordovician Arc–Continent Collision along the Laurentian Margin of Iapetus, 91
R. A. Strachan

7 Mid-Ordovician to Silurian Subduction and Collision: Closure of the Iapetus Ocean, 110
R. A. Strachan


8 Late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian Accretionary History of Eastern Avalonia and Armorica on the Active Margin of Gondwana, 135
R. A. Strachan

9 The Cambrian and Earliest Ordovician Quiescent Margin of Gondwana, 150
N. H. Woodcock

10 Ordovician Volcanism and Sedimentation on Eastern Avalonia, 162
N. H. Woodcock

11 Late Ordovician to Silurian Evolution of Eastern Avalonia during Iapetus Closure, 177
N. H. Woodcock


12 Early Devonian Sedimentary and Magmatic Interlude after Iapetus Closure, 195
N. H. Woodcock

13 The Acadian Orogeny and its Mid–Late Devonian Depositional Aftermath, 210
N. H. Woodcock


14 Carboniferous Sedimentation and Volcanism on the Laurussian Margin, 233
S. J. Davies, P. D. Guion and P. Gutteridge

15 The Variscan Orogeny: the Welding of Pangaea, 274
L. N. Warr


16 Permian to Late Triassic Post-orogenic Collapse and Rifting, Arid Deserts, Evaporating Seas and Mass Extinctions, 301
M. W. Hounslow, T. McKie and A. H. Ruffell

17 Triassic–Jurassic Boundary and Jurassic: Disintegrating Pangaea, 322
S. P. Hesselbo

18 Early Cretaceous: Rifting and Sedimentation before the Flood, 347
A. S. Gale

19 Late Cretaceous to Early Palaeogene Pelagic Deposits: Deposition on Greenhouse Earth, 365
A. S. Gale


20 Palaeogene and Neogene Events: the North Atlantic Plume and Alpine Pulses, 387
A. S. Gale, R. Anderton and R. A. Strachan

21 The Quaternary: History of an Ice Age, 409
P. L. Gibbard and N. H. Woodcock

Index, 429

Colour plates appear in between pages 214 and 215


This book is accompanied by a companion website:

With figures and tables from the book for downloading

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