Fife Ness Formation

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Fife Ness Formation (FNB), Carboniferous, Midland Valley of Scotland[edit]

The Fife Ness Formation is part of the Strathclyde Group in the Fife area.


From Fife Ness, east Fife. The unit was originally described by Forsyth and Chisholm (1977)[1] and first given formation status by Browne (1986)[2].


The Fife Ness Formation consists dominantly of off-white and reddish brown or purplish grey sandstone arranged in upward-fining cycles. Argillaceous beds are commonly poorly bedded and seatearths are present, but there are no coal seams. Bedded dolostone is rare and the associated nonmarine faunas comprise ostracods, spirorbids and algal nodules. Marine strata are absent.

Genetic interpretation[edit]

The formation is essentially fluvial and lacustrine in origin.


The type sections are those on the Fife coast at Fluke Dub (NO 6228 1061 to NO 6205 1071) and at Fife Ness (NO 6328 1014 to NO 636 054). The Fluke Dub section includes some 60–90 m of alternating sandstone and grey mudstone with a few thin beds of bedded carbonate (one containing ostracods) from the base of the formation to the Wormistone Fault. The Fife Ness section (which does not appear to overlap with that at Fluke Dub) runs from the eastern margin (NO 6328 1014) of a cryptovolcanic disturbance near Constantine’s Cave, round Fife Ness to the Dane’s Dike Fault. It includes about 180 m of mainly thick white sandstones with grey and red mudstones and some siltstones. Four beds of dolomite occur with faunas of Spirorbis sp., ostracods and fish remains. Algal material is present in one bed at (NO 6358 1015) (Forsyth and Chisholm, 1977)[1].

Lower and upper boundaries[edit]

In east Fife, the conformable base of the Fife Ness Formation lies in a lithological transition and is taken above the highest bed of carbonate conglomerate in the Clyde Sandstone Formation of the Fluke Dub section. The top is faulted against the Anstruther Formation in the Fife Ness type section (see Browne et al., 1999, fig. 2.19)[3].


The maximum thickness of the formation exceeds 230 m in east Fife (Forsyth and Chisholm, 1977, table 1)[1].

Distribution and regional correlation[edit]



Early Visean.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Forsyth, I H, and Chisholm, J I. 1977. The geology of east Fife. Memoir of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, Sheets 41 part 49 (Scotland)
  2. Browne, M A E. 1986. The classification of the Lower Carboniferous in Fife and Lothian. Scottish Journal of Geology, Vol. 22, 422-425
  3. Browne, M A E, Dean, M T, Hall, I H S, McAdam, A D, Monro, S K, and Chisholm, J I. 1999. A lithostratigraphical framework for the Carboniferous rocks of the Midland Valley of Scotland. British Geological Survey Research Report, RR/99/07