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Evidence for late Ordovician amalgamation of volcanogenic terranes in the Iapetus suture zone, eastern Ireland

  • Finbarr C. Murphy (a1)

Abstract

A major transcurrent fault in the zone of the Iapetus suture in eastern Ireland separates Ordovician (pre-Ashgill) terranes. The stratigraphy of each terrane belongs to a dismembered volcanic arc system: the northern terrane is characterised by acid plinian eruptions and derivative sediments which are displaced relative to the andesitic southern terrane volcanism. Each was a separate palaeoenvironment with its own lithostratigraphical character and faunal elements which were juxtaposed across the fault. However, the late Ashgill to Silurian sediments in both terranes form part of a regional overstep sequence which links across the suture zone, such that the palaeogeographical contrasts were eliminated by the Silurian. The inference is that the detached terranes were gradually amalgamated by late Ordovician transtensional movements. This occurred when regional scale subduction-related volcanism had ended. Final assembly by early Devonian sinistral transpressive movements juxtaposed a northern terrane, akin to the Lake District/SE Ireland calcalkaline volcanic province, with a southern terrane in the tholeiitic province of eastern Ireland. As distinct from a singular fault trace, the Iapetus suture is regarded as a 100 km wide zone of anastomosing late Caledonian transcurrent faults whose precursors were active during late Ordovician (i.e. Taconic) terrane amalgamation.

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Keywords

Evidence for late Ordovician amalgamation of volcanogenic terranes in the Iapetus suture zone, eastern Ireland

  • Finbarr C. Murphy (a1)

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