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The K–Ar ages of 117 clay concentrates from samples associated with mineral deposits in Ireland indicate that most, if not all of the major ore deposits were formed during Carboniferous times or earlier. The Avoca orebodies are pre-400 Ma in age. Many of the vein deposits traversing Palaeozoic rocks were either formed or rejuvenated during the Hercynian orogeny c. 300 Ma ago. The SW Ireland Cu–Ba ores are 290 Ma old, and the major, frequently stratiform, base metal deposits stratabound in the Lower Carboniferous were, at least largely, formed during the Carboniferous period. In the case of the Navan orebody, an early Carboniferous age is indicated. Previous models invoking major mineralisations during Mesozoic or Tertiary times are rendered invalid. However, in some areas there appears to have been hydrothermal activity during the Triassic and possibly the Permian. The Triassic event is thought to be genetically related to coeval hydrothermal avtivity found throughout the N Atlantic regions. The data suggest that probably <10 km of cover has been removed from the majority of Ireland since Lower Carboniferous times. K–Ar dating of clays is shown to be a powerful method for constraining the ages of oredeposits.
The Recent Saefell tuff-ring on Heimaey, Iceland was formed by surtseyan activity in shallow seawater. The tuff-ring has a basal diameter of about 3 km, a maximum rim height of 188 m above sea-level and a crater diameter of 1300 m. Three tuff-units are recognised, separated by unconformities on and inside the crater rim due to syndepositional slumping. The crater contains a nested rim which was constructed above slumped crater tuffs. Directional data indicate strongly directed blasts to the SW at a late stage in the activity.
Throughout the volcanic activity, base-surges formed antidunes, U-shaped channels, vesiculated tuffs, small ripples and plastering structures. One antidune reflects a decrease in surge flow power during deposition and subsequent slumping due to base-surge drag and instabilities developed during growth. On the basis of field characteristics, the structures are divided into those deposited by hot, dry, fast-moving surges and those by cooler, wet, slow-moving surges. Base-surges are compared with turbidity currents and deposition of distinct structures by the head, body and tail regions is interpreted.
The lichens growing on gravestones in 142 Scottish graveyards have been examined. Measurements were restricted to Section Rhizocarpon thalii. These data permit the development of lichenometric growth curves on acidic igneous, basic igneous, sandstone and slate substrates in most areas of Highland Scotland. The colonisation of gravestones, which is extremely erratic, takes place after a minimum of eight years. The ‘great period’ of growth lasts for approximately 20 years after the erection of the gravestone. The lichen factor (growth after 100 years) is correlated with the growth after 25 and 250 years indicating that it is a representative index of the growth rates. Growth rates are non-linear, decreasing with time. Calculated lichen factors for acidic igneous substrates range from 33 to 104 mm. The distributions of different types of gravestones are non-uniform in both time and space, making the comparison of growth rates on different rock types impractical. The results indicate that there may be a gradual decrease in the growth rates from W to E, reflecting the decreasing maritime influence towards the E.
Serpentinites are a major component in a distinctive suite of metasedimentary and metamorphosed igneous rocks, the Outokumpu association, in the early–middle Proterozoic Svecokarelides of eastern Finland. Like the adjacent mica schists and associated supracrustal rocks, they show the effects of at least six phases of deformation (D1–D6). The tectonic history began with the emplacement of the Outokumpunappe (pre-D1), but a study of relict assemblages in the serpentinites and theirenvelope rocks reveals evidence for a complex pre-nappe history involving ultramaficmagmatism with extensive high-temperature hornfels development, and low-temperature serpentinisation contributing to sea-floor exhalation of sulphide ores.
The serpentinites subsequently underwent recrystallisation during several phases of regional metamorphism giving rise to mineral fabrics, including a pressure-solution initiated segregation (M1–D1), anthophyllite growth during the thermal climax (D2–M2—600–680°C, 2·5–4 kb), and steatitisation (D2c–M2c). Steatitisation is structurally controlled, occurring where serpentinite bodies impinge upon localised shear zones (wrench faults—D2c). Talc–carbonate–brucite assemblages reflect the influx of CO2 in this environment. Deformation during late metamorphic retrogression (greenschist—D3–D4) has a dichotomous expression with crenulations developed in strongly anisotropic phyllonitised serpentinite and irregular fracturesin massive rock.
The implications of such polyphase reconstitution for geochemical and isotopic studies are assessed and discussed.