Pb- and Sr-isotope, major element and trace element analyses are presented for 38 Tertiary igneous rocks and older country rocks from Arran. Tertiary igneous rocks define silica-undersaturated and -oversaturated differentiation trends, but acidic and basic examples of the latter trend, exemplified in composite dykes, are separated by a wide Daly gap. In contrast, Pb-, and to some extent Sr-isotope compositions of these rocks display continuous variation, almost independent of major element composition.
Isotopic variations are interpreted as resulting principally from crustal contamination of the differentiation products of mantle-derived basic magma. A dominant rôle by mantle heterogeneity or crustal anatexis in producing the isotopic variation is ruled out. Contamination is believed to have occurred primarily after differentiation, but some rocks, such as the fine unit of the Northern Granite, display evidence of post-contamination differentiation.
Tertiary igneous rocks define an array on a Pb/Pb isochron diagram whose slope corresponds to an apparent age of 770±180 Ma (2σ). This points to the existence of a late Proterozoic basement complex under Arran.
Acidic and basic members of composite dykes are interpreted as basaltic differentiates which have been variably affected by contamination, yielding wide ranges of isotopic composition. Composite intrusion is ascribed to the simultaneous presence of acidic and basic magma in the crust.