Its Minerals & Their Locations
& ASSOCIATE MINERALS
Strontian Zeolites brewsterite & harmotome
"Over The Sea to Skye"
Next to the Scottish mainland and also the
largest of the islands off Scotland's west coast, the
Isle of Skye* is a beautiful, wild and serene place.
Stretching over 60 miles in length, with several hundred miles of indented coastline, its beauty is derived from its geology. The Quirang, The Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock are among some of the geologically-derived, scenic highlights.
*(The name is thought to originate from its shape: wing-like, in the Gaelic language).
The lavas date from the Palaeocene to early Eocene epochs (63-53 million years ago). Over 650 metres of lavas are exposed, with olivine basalts, the predominant type. Well-known sites such as The Storr and The Quiraing have basalt flows capped with mugearite. Columnar jointing may also be seen in some places.
Though not on the scale of the Deccan Plateau lavas of India, or rendering specimens consistently of a grade which that area can produce, the minerals of Skye's basalts, a classic area in the mineralogy of basalt lavas, are still desirable and interesting.
Isle of Skye - Location Photo Galleries
classic localities still render specimens, notably the
Quirang, The Storr and Talisker Bay. More recent sites at
Sgurr nam Boc (virtually inaccessible)
the old and new sites, along with lesser known locations,
provide a broad array of zeolite species and the
opportunity for the well-prepared collector
Black Hill &
The impressive and atmospheric Cuillin Hills of southern-central Skye are distant and isolated.
They are composed of Tertiary age, igneous rocks, related to those in the north; but granite and gabbro predominate - giving rise to the term "red and black Cuillins...".
The granite has localized, small miarolitic cavities which may reveal interesting minerals as microcrystals.
The contact zone of the granites with the
basalts of the north, has recently uncovered some
interesting minerals: prehnite as hand specimens, as well
The rocks of southern Skye, Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian in age, include Lewisian Gneiss and Torridonian Sandstone.
The Cuillin Hills' southern edge is the contact-zone of the island's Tertiary intrusive rocks with the Durness Limestone of Cambro-Ordovician age.
Rare skarn-type minerals such as harkerite (type locality), ludwigite and monticellite can be found here.
It's also the area of the famous Skye Marble - a genuine marble - with a distinctive and attractive colouration, due to minerals like forsterite, ludwigite, diopside and brucite.
And, It's Not All Lava!
Adding variety, there are frequent outcrops at the base of the northern cliffs of Jurassic sediments containing fossils - when not covered by boulders fallen from the cliffs above.
In 2002, one such location revealed the largest set of dinosaur footprints ever found in Scotland.
Fifteen pairs of footprints were uncovered and casts made of them by a Glasgow University team, after the chance finding of a print by a member of the public.
The casts were made since the site was at the mercy of erosional forces.
The majority of the locality photos were
taken by two of Skye's premier and most knowledgeable
field collectors, David McCallum & Mike Wood. This
site would like to express its sincerest thanks to both
of them for making these available for use and for making
the locality photo-guide pages possible.
Further Reading/ References
of Mines and Minerals -
© Minerals of Scotland.