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The North West Highlands have some of the most varied geology and spectacular scenery in Scotland. In the far north-west are the Lewisian gneisses, which are nearly 3000 million years old. Over their long history, they have been heated and compressed deep beneath the Earth's surface. Thick layers of red Torridonian sandstones which form spectacular mountain landscapes, were laid down upon the Lewisian gneiss by ancient river systems some 1000 million years ago.
Capping some of the Torridonian mountains are rocks, originally lime-rich mud and worm-burrowed beach sands, that were deposited during Cambrian and Ordovician times, between around 550 and 450 million years ago.
Minor structures are those found in handspecimen or outcrop. They often provide important information about the conditions of deformation and help unravel larger-scale structures. Boudinage is one of the minor structures associated with folds and faults - common to structures formed in the upper parts of the continental crust.
Boudinage, (from French boudin, “sausage”), cylinder like structures making up a layer of deformed rock. Seen in cross section, the cylinders, or boudins, are generally barrel-shaped but may be lenslike or rectangular. They commonly lie adjacent to each other and are joined by short necks to give the appearance of a string of sausages (hence their name). The thickest boudins are about 20 m (65 feet) thick, and the thinnest about 1 cm (0.39 inch).
Boudinage results from the stretching of a firm but flexible stratum, as during slip or flexure-slip folding. The exact method of formation is not clearly understood. Generally the boudins lie parallel to the fold axes, but occasionally two sets of mutually perpendicular boudins may occur in the same stratum, one set parallel to the fold axes, the other perpendicular to them. Adjacent weak strata may flow into the necks of the boudins, or the necks may be filled with recrystallized minerals such as quartz, feldspar, or calcite. Boudinage occurs in a variety of rock types and is one of the more common structures found in folded rocks.
Durness and the surrounding area are part of the North West Highlands Geopark and contain many interesting and different geological features. Durness Tourist Information Centre is very helpful and has lots more information about local geology on display. This is the most north westerly village in mainland Scotland and one of the few remaining places of any size that you can only access by single track road.
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
• Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Parking available at N 58° 32.883 W 004° 40.575 from here cross the road and go down onto the beach and head for the coordinates.
In order to log this cache please email your answers to these questions via our profile.
1. Describe the unique rock formation that you see here, please include colour shape size and number of boudins in your answer.
2. This feature has been formed from different rock types. Which rock type do you think is surrounding the boudins?
3. At the top of this cliff face, further up the hill towards the road is another large geological feature which you can see as you approach the cache site. What is it?
4. Please add a photo of yourself and / or your gps in this beautiful location if possible, although this is not a requirement for logging the cache.
Please feel free to log this cache without our confirmation; we will contact you if your answers are different to those we were expecting.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum