Major and trace element, including REE, analytical data are used as bases for interpreting the petrogenesis of the major igneous components of the northern part of the Ballantrae complex which occurs in the southwestern part of the Midland Valley of Scotland. Most of the peridotite, now serpentinised, is similar to ultramafic rocks in other ophiolite complexes. Mean crystallisation conditions, determined on the basis of co-existing orthopy-roxenes and clinopyroxenes for the dominant peridotite and minor pyroxenite were 1060 (±60)°C—20 (±2) kb and 1240 (±89)°C—25 (±25) kb, respectively. These rocks, of mantle provenance, have compositions consistent with being residues after the extraction of 20–30% of tholeiitic material from the mantle. The presence among them of a rock whose REE contents indicate that it is a plagioclase peridotite, point to the tectonic incorporation of the products of a high level magma chamber.
The mafic parts of the complex have tholeiitic characteristics and developed between 1300° and 1100°C. They do not represent primary mantle melt but fractionated material. Clinopyroxene was the main fractionating phase and more than 10% fractional crystallisation is indicated with increase from gabbros, through beerbachites (metadolerites) of a sheeted dyke complex and pillow lavas, to microgabbros and pyroxene diorites. Biotite diorites and trondhjemites represent the most fractionated products, the latter having affinities with ophiolitic plagiogranites.
The beerbachites of the sheeted dyke complex do not all represent the same stage of fractionation. The pillow lavas have REE patterns similar to rocks found in marginal basins but are markedly different from pillow lavas from the Highland Border Complex in Arran, near the northern margin of the Midland Valley.