Lochaber ranks as one of the best regions in Scotland’s for geodiversity. Its complex geological history has involved ancient plate collisions and mountain building episodes, plate rifting and vulcanism and more recently, a major glaciations event. Lochaber, together with the Northwest Highlands, has been awarded UNESCO Geopark status in recognition of its dramatic and varied landscape; a landscape composed, most notably, of Precambrian metamorphic rocks, Caledonian granites and Cambrian sedimentary rocks. The major intrusions of granite masses, minor intrusions of dykes and sills, as well as massive extrusions of basaltic larva have all left their trace on this ancient landscape. The last Ice Age has further added to this complexity by producing variously an erosive and deposition topography.
The Kilmallie Stone Circle is a stone circle created from of Highland rocks to showcase the geodiversity of the Highlands. The rocks span a major part of the Earth’s history. The Circle was originally constructed in 1997 with funding from the Highland Council and Scottish Natural Heritage. It includes specimens of Dalridean slate from Ballachulish and Limestone from Torlundy, Moinian Serpentinite from Drumnadrochit Cretaceous silica sandstone from Lochaline, Baryte from Strontian, Tertiary Basalt from Dunvegan and Gabbro from Mull, Cambrian Marble from Skye, Caledonian Granite from Strontian, Ross of Mull and Banavie, Caledonian Migmatite from Strontian, and Pegmatite from Loch Laggan, Torridonian sandstone from Western Ross, Moine granulite from Banavie and Lewisian gneiss from West Sutherland.
The Stone Circle provides a wonderful introduction to the types of rocks likely to be encountered in the region. There is an interpretation board on site, as well as an accompanying leaflet, produced by Lochaber Geopark Association. The leaflet provides a basic introduction to the geology of the region, as well as details of each rock type and its uses. The leaflet can be picked up from Kilmallie Community Centre (on site) or Tourist Information Centres.