The remarkable scenery of the Lomond Hills has an active history briefly between 350 and 300 million years ago to when the rocks, which form the range of hills, were first created. The peaks of the range are volcanic. The hot magma and gases punched through a thick blanket of sediments laid down by rivers, lakes and bogs. The resultant violent eruptions produced huge blankets of ash rather than lava flows. Where the eroded remains of the volcano consisted solely of volcanic ash, these deposits have made little impression on today's landscape. However, where magma cooled to leave a hard plug of rock, erosion has left very noticeable volcanic mounds like the twin peaks of West and East Lomond that we call volcanic plugs.
Hardened layers of sands and muds laid down under water can be seen over the lowland areas. The layers are not horizontal but can be seen to be steeply inclined and this is evidence of violent earth movements which affected the area in the distant past and are an important part of the history of the formation of the Lomonds.
The concept of plate tectonics allows geologists to understand how continents move around the Earth's surface as well as revealing the origin of volcanoes, earthquakes and mountain ranges associated with plate boundaries. The processes are continuous and have been so throughout the last 3000 million years. In the ancient Precambrian period around 570 to 560 million years ago the Fife area lay on the edge of a vast continent, close to the Antarctic at around 60 degrees south of the equator. Follow this link for plate movement history Link
Now what we see in this picture taken halfway up Black Hill has nothing at all to do with the olden days as described geologically above. Think today and think really recent in geological terms. This closeup is interesting as it shows an obvious sedimentary layered structure laid down fairly recently.
Assuming the right conditions, peat is the earliest stage in the formation of coal. Most modern peat bogs formed in high latitudes after the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age (9,000 years ago). They usually grow slowly, at the rate of about a millimetre per year so this outcrop is probably less than 1000 years old. Certainly the top bit will have deposits laid down in the Anthropocene Era Link
and will show our carbon and chemical signature for our descendants to mull over in the millennia to come. The soil and rock structure here is soft and easily crushed between thumb and forefinger. Mohs hardness scale?...well...we had limited resources available at the time of writing so the results are rough and ready...it turned out to be fractionally harder than a baby's bottom but softer than a father's forefinger. Mohs scale: Link
Any rock movement/folding on the day of our visit went unnoticed though we watched for a good half hour for peat's sake.
Another view: Link