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The brittle evolution of a major strike-slip fault associated with granite emplacement: A case study of the Leannan Fault, NW Ireland

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Author(s)

C L Kirkland, Geoffrey Ian Alsop, Tony Prave

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Abstract

NE-SW-trending sinistral strike-slip deformation is widespread throughout the Highlands of Scotland and NW Ireland and has been interpreted as a response to the subduction of Iapetus and continental collision. The southwestern continuation of the Great Glen Fault zone is marked in NW Ireland by the Leannan Fault. Field evidence derived from the Tullagh Point Granite indicates its intrusion along the fault during ductile sinistral shearing. U-Th-Pb zircon geochronology yields a crystallization age of 422 +/- 2 Ma for this granite. Detailed analysis of fracture patterns throughout the Malin Head region demonstrates that sinistral fractures (F-1) developed at an acute angle to the main fault strands. These fractures display oblique internal alignment of K-feldspar and are overprinted by dilatational quartz-filled joints at a similar orientation. The trend of these joints is consistent with c. 90 degrees rotation of the sigma(1) axes relative to F-1 as a result of intrusion of the Malin Head Granite dated at 412 +/- 3 Ma. Subsequent sinistral fractures developed after dissipation of granite-related forces. They define an anticlockwise rotation of the regional sigma(1) and moved under a different stress tensor from F-1. It is concluded that the Leannan Fault moved sinistrally at c. 422 Ma and after c. 412 Ma, and that granite emplacement had pronounced effects on the fault kinematics.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-352
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Volume165
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

    Research areas

  • GREAT-GLEN FAULT, SINISTRAL DISPLACEMENTS, NORTHWEST IRELAND, FANAD PLUTONS, THRUST ZONE, SCOTLAND, DONEGAL, CONSTRAINTS, SYSTEM, GEOCHRONOLOGY

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