It comes as a great surprise to most people that Scotland was once part of North America as part of the huge continent of Laurentia which later became the bulk of North America but was then still to the south of the equator. From around 480 to 400 million years ago a series of massive collisions of continents created the present day landscape of Scotland joining the present day country to what was to become Europe with such force that mountains were thrust upwards to the height of the Himalayas. Ever since, these mountains have been continually eroded leaving only the bare roots which form the modern Highlands. All these movements and changes have ensured that Scotland has an incredibly varied geology including of important coal, oil and iron deposits. It also has extinct volcanoes and a diverse range of fossils. Scotland eventually ended up in the Northern temperate Zone where it was subjected to repeated glaciation over a substantial period of time which had the effect of creating the modern landscape of Scotland defined by lofty peaks intersected by wide flat valleys, marked by a varied topography and soils.
This landscape has had a hugh effect on the development of Scotland , its society and the technical and scientific advances that have come out of this. This includes the developments in the science of geology itself by James Hutton, who is often regarded as the founder of modern geology and who used the rock formations he found in Scotland to build up his theories about geology and which were later built on by Charles Lyell.