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Three major geological areas may be identified on the landward side of the coastline. The Old and New Red Sandstone sedimentaries outcrop almost continuously from the Spey to Duncansby Head. The Dalriadan series of Metamorphic rocks stretch from the Spey eastwards, while the Jurassic series of younger sedimentary rocks break the Old Red Sandstone outcrop between Golspie and Helmsdale. Rock type, lithology and resistance to weathering and marine processes determine the local characteristics of the cliff and rocky shore platform coasts, with each geological area displaying examples of classic cliff scenery. However, the physiographic evolution of the coastline in general owes much to the events of glaciation, deglaciation and sea level change. Over a major part of the coastline of the Moray Firth the geological structure is essentially a relatively stable basement upon which more recent and more significant geomorphological processes have operated.

Have a look at the Scottish geology website for details on places you can visit to discover more about the fascinating story of the early days of the Moray Firth.

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