The ultrabasic rocks of the southern portion of the Early Tertiary Cuillin Igneous Complex, Isle of Skye, are recognised as forming a Peridotite Series s.l. and have been separated into six distinct structural–lithological units. These units range from almost pure dunite (Unit 1, at the lowest structural level), through to feldspathic peridotites and allivalites (Units 5 and 6, at the highest structural levels). Detailed field and mineralogical studies indicate that both cumulus and postcumulus processes involving ultrabasic (picritic) magmas may be identified, and that the latter processes have significantly modified many of the primary features of these rocks.
Layering, both modal and phase, is present within all six units, although it is more prominent within the higher units, especially Units 5 and 6. Differing orientations of fabrics defined by cumulus spinel and intercumulus plagioclase layers within Unit 3 indicate the important role of compaction and intercumulus melt migration. Unit 4 is extremely heterogeneous, involving material ranging in composition from peridotite to allivalite, and provides clear evidence for postcumulus melt movement, magma-mixing, disruption and brecciation. Units 5 and 6 developed with a more porous cumulus framework, giving rise to dendritic growths involving cumulus olivine and poikilitic plagioclase.
It is concluded that postcumulus melt movement, injection and magma-mixing, involving ultrabasic magmas, were significant processes in the formation of the ultrabasic rocks of the Cuillin Igneous Complex.