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The Rum Igneous Centre, Scotland

  • C. H. Emeleus (a1) and V. R. Troll (a2)

Abstract

The publication of the British Geological Survey memoir on Rum and the Small Isles in 1997 was followed by a period of intense petrological and mineralogical research, leading to some 40 papers, books and other publications. The research progress since then is reviewed here and integrated with the information previously available to provide an overview of the current status of understanding of the centre. New data on the acidic and mixed acid/basic magmas of the early Rum caldera demonstrate that frequent mafic replenishments were the main driver for magmatic activity at Rum right from its initial stages. The caldera is bound by the Main Ring Fault, a structure which probably also exercised an influence on the emplacement of the subsequent basic and ultrabasic intrusions. The later emplacement of gabbros and ultrabasic rocks caused only limited thermal metamorphism of the surrounding Torridonian sandstones, contrasting markedly with the crustal isotope signatures of the early intracaldera ignimbrite magmas and the intense alteration of uplifted masses of Lewisian gneiss within the ring fault. Rare picritic dykes provide an indication of the possible parent magma for the mafic and ultrabasic rocks, but these, as with most other magmatic rocks on Rum, have undergone varying degrees of crustal contamination, involving both Lewisian granulite and amphibolite-type crust but, notably, no Moine metasedimentary compositions as is the case at the nearby Ardnamurchan centre. Detailed textural studies on the gabbroic and ultrabasic rocks allow a distinction between intrusive peridotites and peridotite that forms part of the classic layered cumulate units of Rum and, furthermore, this work and that on the chromite seams and veins in these rocks shows that movement of trapped magma and magma derived from later intrusions, may produce textures regarded previously as of primary cumulate origin. Sulfides in the chromitite seams and ultrabasic rocks, in turn, show possible influences from assimilated Mesozoic sediments. Igneous activity on Rum was short-lived, possibly only between 0.5 and 1 m.y. in duration and commenced at ∼60.5 Ma. The Rum Central Complex was extinct by the time the main activity at the nearby Skye Central Complex commenced (∼59 Ma). From recent apatite fission-track studies it seems probable that Rum, in common with other Palaeogene centres, underwent a brief, but significantly later heating event (∼45 Ma).

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Copyright

Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 2014 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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References

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The Rum Igneous Centre, Scotland

  • C. H. Emeleus (a1) and V. R. Troll (a2)

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