On a drift
About 600 million years ago, Scotland was near the South Pole. Until recently, changes in Scotland’s climate, through geological time, have been explained by a northerly drift across the Earth’s climate belts. It is now known that the story is not so simple, and the geological record is a bit more complex – the Earth’s climate has also changed through time.
During the Tertiary period (55 million years ago), Scotland was affected by warm, tropical climates that allowed deep weathering, even though its latitude was similar to that today.
Together with evidence from present-day tropical landscapes, geologists are able to use field evidence from the Cairngorm plateaux to reconstruct the ancient tropical landscape before the Ice Age.