The first mapping of the Moine Thrust Belt, NW Scotland: the progress of Peach, Horne and colleagues (1883–1936)

Robert W. H. Butler* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Moine Thrust Belt in NW Scotland is fundamental for developing understanding of complex fault systems and continental tectonics. The high-quality geological mapping, exceptional structural interpretation and insight of the late 19th C that underpins this is chronicled here. The Geological Survey of Great Britain mapped the thrust belt over a 14-year period, at 1:10,560 but it took five decades for the individual 1:63,360 map sheets to be published. The mapping itself was hampered by access problems, illness and prevailing weather. The deployment of expert staff to this region of few apparent economic resources threatened the status of the Geological Survey. Map publication was hindered by the transition from hand-coloured to full colour printing together with the restrictions of publishing to a strict grid that incorporated complex geology outside the thrust belt itself. This history of field work, publication and outreach by the Geological Survey is placed in an environmental and logistical context to identify the challenges not only for the mapping itself but also in sharing the results in publication. The execution of these activities provides lessons for developing coherent interpretation in complex geology and the challenges in charting their uncertainties and alternative explanations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)SP541-2022-299
JournalGeological Society, London, Special Publications
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2023


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