Caledonian tectonics from stratigraphy and isotope geochemistry of lower palaeozoic successions
The Southern Uplands of Scotland is interpreted as a Lower Palaeozoic accretionary complex which formed on the northern margin of the Iapetus Ocean. Seven conglomerates which contain detritus derived from the north-west, from sources on the Laurentian continental margin, were studied. Granite clasts in five of the conglomerates have distinct petrographic and geochemical characteristics which indicate that separate source areas supplied detritus to the Southern Uplands at different times. The Llandeilo Corsewall Point and Caradoc Glen Afton conglomerates, which occur in Tracts 1 and 2 of the Northern Belt, contain granite clasts that yield similar Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron ages (c. 1,200 Ma, 600-660 Ma and c. 475 Ma) and similar Sm-Nd model ages. This suggests that the clasts in the two conglomerates were derived from related sources. Some of the granite clasts in the early Ashgill Shinnel Formation conglomerate, which occurs in Tract 3 of the Northern Belt, resemble those in the Corsewall Point conglomerate, but most are petrographically and geochemically distinct, and yield younger Sm-Nd model ages. The lower Llandovery Pinstane Hill conglomerate occurs in Tract 4 of the Central Belt, and contains granitic detritus which yields a Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron age of 458 ± 26 Ma and has similar characteristics to the clasts in the Shinnel Formation conglomerate. The granite clasts in the Corsewall Point and Glen Afton conglomerates are of a different age to the granite intrusions of northern Scotland, and are unlikely to have been derived from this region. Conglomerates in the Midland Valley contain granite clasts with different petrographic and isotopic characteristics to those supplied to the Southern Uplands during the Llandeilo and Caradoc. However, north-west Newfoundland has a similar igneous history to that recorded by the Southern Uplands clasts, which could be derived from this region. The clasts supplied to the Shinnel Formation and Pinstane Hill conglomerates during the Ashgill and Llandovery have more in common with the granitic detritus in the Midland Valley. Thus, the Southern Uplands form a distinct Caledonian terrane which was south-east of Newfoundland in the Llandeilo, and was affected by sinistral strike-slip displacements during and after accretion.