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Variscan sourcing of Westphalian (Pennsylvanian) sandstones in the Canonbie Coalfield, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2010

ANDREW MORTON*
Affiliation:
HM Research Associates, 2 Clive Road, Balsall Common, West Midlands CV7 7DW, UK CASP, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 181a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DH, UK
MARK FANNING
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
NEIL JONES
Affiliation:
British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
*
*Author for correspondence: a.c.morton@heavyminerals.fsnet.co.uk

Abstract

The zircon age spectrum in a sample from the Canonbie Bridge Sandstone Formation (Asturian) of southern Scotland contains two main peaks. One is Early Carboniferous in age (348–318 Ma), and corresponds to the age of igneous activity during the Variscan Orogeny. The other is of late Neoproterozoic to early Cambrian age (693–523 Ma), corresponding to the Cadomian. Together, these two groups comprise 70 % of the zircon population. The presence of these two peaks shows unequivocally that a significant proportion of the sediment was derived from the Variscides of western or central Europe. The zircon population also contains a range of older Proterozoic zircons and a small Devonian component. These could have been derived from the Variscides, but it is possible that some were locally derived through recycling of northerly derived sandstones of Devonian–Carboniferous age. The zircon age data confirm previous suggestions of Variscide sourcing to the Canonbie area, made on the basis of petrographical, heavy mineral and palaeocurrent evidence, and extend the known northward distribution of Variscan-derived Westphalian sediment in the UK.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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Footnotes

§

Present address: Saudi Aramco, P.O. Box 2001, Dhahran 31311, Saudi Arabia

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