Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

Edinburgh recently held a volcanology conference (VMSG), which is quite fitting seen as an ancient volcanic complex can be found at the centre of Edinburgh! The following photos are just a few photos from a  trip up Arthur’s seat whilst at VMSG…

Edinburgh from  Arthur's seat
Edinburgh from Arthur’s seat. This ancient volcano  existed around 350 million years ago in a period know as the Carboniferous.
Columnar jointing above the road on Arthur's Seat
Columnar jointing above the road on Arthur’s Seat. This feature forms when the the molten rock cools causing it to fracture in a regular pattern. The intersection of these fractures forms the polygonal columns. They are a common feature found in igneous rocks worldwide.
Columnar jointing above the road on Arthur's Seat
More columnar jointing above the road on Arthur’s Seat…
Arthur's Seat at sunset
Arthur’s Seat at sunset. I think this area is currently closed due to rockfall.
View from Arthur's seat at sunset
View from Arthur’s seat at sunset

Perished peat

The cotton plants here show how wet this ground normally is, but the prolonged heat wave a few weeks ago has really dried the ground out! This has however made walking here a lot easier.

Desiccation cracks in the peat of the Cheviots, Northumberland, UK
Desiccation cracks in the peat of the Cheviots, Northumberland, UK

By studying modern examples of features such as desiccation cracks, when we observe fossilised desiccation cracks in the geological record we can infer things about the environment they formed in.

Cotton at the summit of Cheviot
Cotton at the summit of Cheviot

I spoke to my friend Suzy who’s PhD is on damage to peat and she told me that the photo of the desiccation cracks demonstrates that the peat in this area is not in a good condition. She told me that peat can be up to 95% water and adequate vegetation can prevent the effects of extreme weather causing damage such as this.