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Geology major observes ‘great unconformity’ along coast of Scotland

WKU geology major Shelby Rader of Irvine, Ky., is taking full advantage of her WKU in England experience at Harlaxton College.

WKU geology major visited Siccar Point along the coast of Scotland as part of her WKU in England experience at Harlaxton College.

Rader ventured to the rugged coast of Scotland to observe “the great unconformity” at Siccar Point near the city of Edinburgh. Siccar Point is famous in the history of geology as the place where James Hutton, the father of modern geology, developed his theory of uniformitarianism and identified physical evidence of the vastness of geological time.

According to local records, James Hutton, James Hall and John Playfair took a boat trip to the Point in 1788, where they observed the angular unconformity that Hutton regarded as conclusive proof of his theory of geological development. At Siccar, sloping strata of 345 million-year-old Devonian Old Red Sandstone overlie near vertical layers of 425 million-year-old Silurian greywacke.

According to Rader, it was quite the trek to get to the unconformity from Harlaxton College, but well worth it. As she noted, students do not often have the chance to walk on “hallowed ground” in their discipline.

Rader is a graduate of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at WKU and is a student in WKU’s Honors College. She is spending the fall semester at Harlaxton College.

More than 60 WKU students a year participate in WKU in England at Harlaxton College. For information about spending a semester at Harlaxton, contact Study Abroad and Global Learning at (270) 745-5334.

Contact: David Keeling, (270) 745-4555.

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