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Zircon age constraints on the provenance of Llandovery to Wenlock sandstones from the Midland Valley terrane of the Scottish Caledonides

By E.R. Phillips, R.A. Smith, P. Stone, M. Horstwood and V. Pashley

Abstract

Detrital zircon populations within the Llandovery to Wenlock sandstones of the southern Midland Valley of Scotland indicate that the recycled orogenic provenance for these sedimentary rocks was essentially bimodal, comprising a younger Lower Palaeozoic component and an older predominantly Mesoproterozoic component. The Lower Palaeozoic contribution is dominated by Arenig/Llanvirn (c. 475 Ma) zircons interpreted as having been derived from a volcanic-plutonic source located within the Midland Valley terrane. The dominant Mesoproterozoic component within the sandstones is c. 1000 Ma and is thought to represent detritus shed from a Grenvillian (c.  1000-1800Ma) basement to the Midland Valley terrane. The scarcity of Archaean zircons precludes the Grampian metamorphic terrane Dalradian Supergroup as a supplier of sediment to the Ordovician-Silurian basins located along the southern margin of the Midland Valley. The age profiles of detrital zircon populations do not fit with a simple model of unroofing of a volcanic-arc complex. Rather they point to the periodic uplift of fault-bound, dismembered blocks of volcanic and plutonic rocks during a prolonged (Llandovery through to at least early Devonian) period of sinistral strike-slip deformation, and it was this which controlled basin development, sedimentary facies distribution and deformation along the southern side of the Midland Valley terrane

Publisher: Geological Society of London
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1144/0036-9276
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:9053

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