With rocks of every era from the Precambrian to the Carboniferous, Shetland’s geology is more diverse than any similar sized area in Europe. Where else can you walk on ancient oceanic crust, explore an extinct volcano and stroll across shifting sands in the space of a day?
Over the past 700 million years, Shetland has travelled from a location close to the South Pole across the Equator to its current latitude of 60° north. On the journey, it experienced oceans opening and closing, mountains forming and eroding, tropical seas, volcanoes, deserts, ice ages and ancient rivers. Evidence of these earth-shaking events can be found throughout the isles, including a number of unique geological features.
Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark brings to life the fascinating stories behind Shetland’s geology and geographical location, as well as demonstrating how these features have influenced every aspect of life in the isles, from the landscape and biodiversity to the settlement patterns and economy.
Begin your geological journey at the Museum and Archives in Lerwick, where displays tell Shetland’s story from its geological beginnings to the present day. From here, follow our range of self-guided trails below and discover stunning geological sites for yourself. You will also find interpretive boards and geo-exhibits along the way to help you uncover this fascinating aspect of Shetland’s heritage.