OR/14/063 Summary

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Whitbread, K, Ellen, R, Callaghan, E, Gordon, J E, and Arkley, S. 2014. East Lothian geodiversity audit. British Geological Survey Internal Report, OR/14/063.

This report describes a geodiversity audit of East Lothian carried out by the British Geological Survey (BGS) on behalf of East Lothian Council (ELC). The audit comprised a desk review of potential geodiversity sites, field assessments, evaluation of the geodiversity sites and reporting.

Potential local geodiversity sites were identified by contacts in the Lothian and Borders Geoconservation Group (formerly RIGS). Information on the potential sites from BGS records and published sources was reviewed, including digital geological maps and historic field slips, digital aerial photography, and published papers, memoirs and reports. Documentation for sites previously identified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and/or Geological Conservation Review (GCR) sites was also reviewed. Due to their current protected status, sites designated as SSSIs for their geological features were not selected for the geodiversity audit with the exception of coastal sites located within the large Firth of Forth SSSI notified for both biological and geological features.

Field assessments of 30 of the sites identified by Lothian and Borders Geoconservation with the highest potential geodiversity value were conducted during 2014. Information on the geoscientific merit, cultural heritage, economic importance, access, site condition and fragility education potential, and community associations of the sites was recorded. Geoscientific merit is evaluated in terms of the rarity and quality of the features displayed at the site.

A total of 21 bedrock or mixed bedrock and Quaternary sites, and 9 Quaternary sites were identified as candidates for designation as local geodiversity sites in East Lothian. The sites selected include the best examples of geological and geomorphological features in the region and are considered to be representative of the diverse range of geological strata and landforms that characterise the geology of the region. The sites include excellent examples of Carboniferous, Devonian and Silurian/Ordovician strata that are exposed across central and southern Scotland, and landforms that are classic examples of Quaternary glacial features in lowland terrains and important coastal geomorphology systems. The sites also have numerous links to the character of the landscape, historical features, ecology, and the economic and cultural history of the area.

Many of these sites have the potential to be enhanced through interpretation to encourage visitors and students to learn more about geology and the relationship between rocks, landscape and ecosystems, and the links between the geology and the economic and cultural heritage of the East Lothian area.