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Westphalian alluvial plain sedimentation, Isle of Arran, Scotland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 2009

M. Kirk
Department of Applied Geology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow GI IXJ, U.K.


Facies analysis suggests that Westphalian (Upper Carboniferous) Coal Measure sequences on the Isle of Arran, Scotland, were deposited in a proximal alluvial plain environment close to the basin margin. Detailed examination of well exposed coastal sections has revealed the existence of six laterally and vertically interrelated sedimentary facies. Facies 1 to 3 are interpreted as fluvial channel deposits. Low sinuosity multistorey (facies 1), low sinuosity vertically accreted (facies 2), and rare high sinuosity laterally accreted channel deposits (facies 3) are developed. Associated overbank sediments comprise the deposits of crevasse splays (facies 4), flood plains (facies 5) and shallow lakes (facies 6). In terms of the spatial distribution of facies, a relatively high proportion of fluvial channel and floodplain deposits (facies 2 and 5) occur in the more proximal sequence at Laggan compared with the more distally located sequence occurring at Corrie. Palaeocurrent measurements from fluvial channel sandstones indicate that sediment source areas and the Westphalian basin margin lay to the north and northwest. Down palaeoslope towards the southeast, normal coal-bearing Westphalian sediments formed penecontemporaneously on the Scottish mainland in Ayrshire.

A sedimentological model is presented for the proximal non-coal-bearing Westphalian sequences of Arran. This model can explain the differences observed between the Arran sediments, and contemporaneous normal coal-bearing Westphalian sediments of the Scottish mainland.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1989

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