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A composite C-isotope profile for the Neoproterozoic Dalradian Supergroup of Scotland and Ireland

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Abstract

The Neoproterozoic Dalradian Supergroup is a dominantly siliciclastic metasedimentary succession in the Caledonian orogenic belt of Scotland and Ireland. Despite polyphase deformation and greenschist- to upper amphibolite-facies metamorphism, carbonate units distributed throughout the Dalradian record marked delta C-13(carbonate) excursions that can be linked to those associated with key environmental events of Neoproterozoic time. These include: (1) tentative correlation of the Ballachulish Limestone with the c. 800 Ma Bitter Springs anomaly; (2) the presence of the pre-Marinoan Trezona anomaly and 635 Ma Marinoan-equivalent cap carbonate sequence in rocks of the middle Easdale Subgroup; (3) the terminal Proterozoic (c. 600-551 Ma) Wonoka-Shuram anomaly in the Girlsta Limestone on Shetland. These linkages strengthen previously interred correlations of the Stralinchy-Reelan formations and the Inishowen-Loch na Cille-MacDuff ice-rafted debris beds to the respectively 635 Ma Marinoan and 582 Ma Gaskiers glaciations, and suggest that the oldest Dalradian glacial unit, the Port Askaig Formation, represents one of the c. 750-690 Ma Sturtian glacial episodes. These delta C-13 data and resulting correlations provide more robust constraints on the geological evolution of the Dalradian Supergroup than anything hitherto available and enhance its utility in helping refine understanding of Neoproterozoic Earth history.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-857
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Volume166
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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