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Age, evolution and tectonic history of the Highland Border Complex, Scotland

  • Gordon B. Curry (a1), B. J. Bluck (a1), C. J. Burton (a1), J. K. Ingham (a2), David J. Siveter (a3) and Alwyn Williams (a4)...

Abstract

I. ABSTRACT: Research interest in the Highland Border Complex has been pursued sporadically during the past 150 years. The results and conclusions have emphasised the problems of dealing with a lithologically disparate association which crops out in isolated, fault-bounded slivers along the line of the Highland Boundary fault. For much of the present century, the debate has centred on whether the rocks of the complex have affinities with the Dalradian Supergroup to the N, or are a discrete group. Recent fossil discoveries in a wide variety of Highland Border rocks have confirmed that many are of Ordovician age, and hence cannot have been involved in at least the early Grampian deformational events (now accurately dated as pre-Ordovician) which affect the Dalradian Supergroup. Such palaeontological discoveries form the basis for a viable biostratigraphical synthesis. On a regional scale, it is apparent that the geological history of the Highland Border rocks must be viewed in the context of plate boundary tectonism along the entire northwestern margin of Iapetus during Palaeozoic times.

II. ABSTRACT: Silicified articulate brachiopods from the Lower Ordovician (Arenig) Dounans Limestone are extremely rare but the stratigraphically diagnostic genera Archaeorthis Schuchert and Cooper, and Orthidium Hall and Clarke, have been identified. In addition, three specimens with characteristic syntrophiid morphology have been recovered. Inarticulate brachiopods are known from Stonehaven and Bofrishlie Burn near Aberfoyle, and have also been previously recorded from Arran.

III. ABSTRACT: Micropalaeontological investigation of the Highland Border Complex has produced a range of microfossils including chitinozoans, coleolids, calcispheres and other more enigmatic objects. The stratigraphical ranges of the species lie almost entirely within the Ordovician and reveal a scatter of ages for different lithologies from the Arenig through to the Caradoc or Ashgill, with a pronounced erosional break between the Llandeilo and the Caradoc.

IV. ABSTRACT: A Lower Ordovician (Arenig Series) silicified ostracode fauna from the Highland Border Dounans Limestone at Lime Craig Quarry, Aberfoyle, Central Scotland, represents the earliest record of this group of Crustacea from the British part of the early Palaeozoic ‘North American’ plate.

V. ABSTRACT: Palaeontological age determinations for a variety of Highland Border rocks are presented. The data are based on the results of recent prospecting which has demonstrated that macro- and microfossils are present in a much greater range of Highland Border lithologies than previously realised. Data from other studies are also incorporated, as are modern taxonomie re-assessments of older palaeontological discoveries, in a comprehensive survey of Highland Border biostratigraphy. These accumulated data demonstrate that all fossiliferous Highland Border rocks so far discovered are of Ordovician age, with the exception of the Lower Cambrian Leny Limestone.

VI. ABSTRACT: The Highland Border Complex consists of at least four rock assemblages: a serpentinite and possibly other ophiolitic rocks of Early or pre-Arenig age; a sequence of limestones and conglomerates of Early Arenig age; a succession of dark shales, cherts, quartz wackes, basic lavas and associated volcanogenic sediments of Llanvirn and ? earlier age; and an assemblage of limestones, breccias, conglomerates and arenites with subordinate shales of Caradoc or Ashgill age. At least three assemblages are divided by unconformities and in theirmost general aspect have similarities with coeval rocks in western Ireland.

The Highland Border Complex probably formed N of the Midland Valley arc massif in a marginal sea comparable with the Sunda shelf adjacent to Sumatra–Java. Strike-slip and thrust emplacement of the whole Complex in at least four episodes followed the probable generation of all or part of its rocks by pull-apart mechanisms.

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References

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Keywords

Age, evolution and tectonic history of the Highland Border Complex, Scotland

  • Gordon B. Curry (a1), B. J. Bluck (a1), C. J. Burton (a1), J. K. Ingham (a2), David J. Siveter (a3) and Alwyn Williams (a4)...

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