Public put Siccar Point in geological top ten

Siccar Point was used by Scottish geologist James Hutton to illustrate his theory of erosion and deposition of rocks.
Siccar Point was used by Scottish geologist James Hutton to illustrate his theory of erosion and deposition of rocks.

Siccar Point near Eyemouth has been chosen by the public as one of the top ten geological 
sites in the UK and Ireland.

It is one of the public’s ten favourites among 100 “geosites” chosen by the Geological Society of London to be celebrated as part of Earth Science Week.

Divided into ten categories including landscapes and human habitations, the public list features educational sites such as Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum and the mountainous wilderness of Assynt in the Scottish Highlands.

Siccar Point has been chosen as a site of historical and scientific importance, while Craster in Northumberland is also in the top ten in the outcrops category.

Accorded Site of Special Scientific Interest status in 1961, Siccar Point and its locality is one of the most famous and important sites in the history of science. The site is of global significance to scientists and geologists, and is the location of James Hutton’s Unconformity study. In 1788 he discovered a junction between rock strata where the older layers underwent erosion before the younger layers were deposited.

This historically important location helped Hutton develop his early theories of geological time that showed that the earth was unimaginably older than anyone had known.

The site is visited by thousands of geologists and scientists every year. Every geologist will want to visit Siccar Point at least once in their lives.

The 10 “people’s favourites” announced this week were chosen by 1,200 members of the public from a list of 100 geosites across the United Kingdom and Ireland handpicked by the society.

A geosite is anything that highlights the importance of geology to human civilisation – a beautiful landscape, an engineered site, a museum, historical site or structure featuring striking building stones.

Professor Rob Butler, who chairs the Geological Society’s geoconservation committee, said: “The list highlights the range of incredible geology the UK and Ireland have to offer.”

Earth Science Week, founded in 2011, aims to make members of the public more aware of the word around them.

Professor Butler added: “Thousands of people have been inspired to find out more about Earth science from first encounters in front of geological landscapes or a museum.

“Earth Science Week and the 100 Great Geosites are designed to encourage more of the general public to get involved and enjoy some of the geology that surrounds us all.”

The list of 100 was selected from over 400 nominations, the majority of which were submitted via social media, using the #100geosites hashtag.

An interactive map has been created to show the top 100 sites and winners of the public vote, and to help the public visit their nearest site.