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Low-grade metamorphism in the Scottish Southern Uplands terrane: deciphering the patterns of accretionary burial, shearing and cryptic aureoles

  • R. J. Merriman (a1) and B. Roberts (a2)

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Systematic studies of metapelitic grade linked with the geological re-survey of the Southern Uplands have been used to generate a contoured metamorphic map currently covering nearly two-thirds of the terrane. These studies, based on approximately one pelite sample per 2·5 km2, have used XRD measurements of clay mineral reaction progress, particularly illite crystallinity, to delineate zones of diagenesis and low-grade metamorphism in the imbricated Ordovician and Silurian strata. The regional pattern revealed by metapelitic zonal sequences does not agree with earlier observations that grade increases across the strike, from SE to NW. Instead, the map shows considerable variations in metamorphic trends, including patterns of grade increasing from older into younger strata, indicative of accretionary burial. Other patterns identified include those generated by high strain rates in the Moniaive Shear Zone (MSZ), and by extensive low-temperature cryptic aureoles associated with late granitic intrusions. The present pattern is the result of uplift that generated normal movement on reactivated thrust faults and differential block movement on NW-trending faults.

Regional metamorphic patterns were generated by burial and underplating in an accretionary thrust stack. Subduction was initiated in the early Caradoc and probably ceased in the early Wenlock. Metapelitic patterns suggest that two levels of accretion are exposed in the terrane. Strata accreted to the toe of the prism and stacked above the décollement zone are typically at late diagenetic grade. Underplated strata below the décollement are typically at anchizonal grades with moderate to well-developed slaty cleavage. Coherent thrust-bounded tracts of strata at both levels were rotated and buried to produce a syntectonic depth-controlled pattern of meta-morphism. Shear zone metamorphism at depths of 12 km or more was probably confined to the underplated lower level of the thrust stack, and Devonian granitic intrusions were also emplaced mainly within the underplated strata.

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Keywords

Low-grade metamorphism in the Scottish Southern Uplands terrane: deciphering the patterns of accretionary burial, shearing and cryptic aureoles

  • R. J. Merriman (a1) and B. Roberts (a2)

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