Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

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

  • ANDREW MORTON (a1) (a2), MARK FANNING (a3) and NEIL JONES (a4)

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.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L. P. Black , S. L. Kamo , C. M. Allen , J. N. Aleinikoff , D. W. Davis , R. J. Korsch & C. Foudoulis 2003. TEMORA 1: a new zircon standard for Phanerozoic U–Pb geochronology. Chemical Geology 200, 155–70.

O. Bruguier , J. F. Becq-Giraudon , D. Bosch & J. R. Lancelot 1998. Late Visean hidden basins in the internal zones of the Variscan belt: U–Pb zircon evidence from the French Massif Central. Geology 26, 627–30.

J. Y. Calvez & P. Vidal 1978. Two billion year old relicts in the Hercynian Belt of western Europe. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 65, 395–9.

A. Gerdes & A. Zeh 2006. Combined U–Pb and Hf isotope LA-(MC-) ICP-MS analyses of detrital zircons: comparison with SHRIMP and new constraints for the provenance and age of an Armorican metasediment in Central Germany. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 249, 4762.

U. Linnemann , F. Pereira , T. E. Jeffries , K. Drost & A. Gerdes 2008. The Cadomian Orogeny and the opening of the Rheic Ocean: the diachrony of geotectonic processes constrained by LA-ICP-MS U–Pb zircon dating (Ossa-Morena and Saxo-Thuringian Zones, Iberian and Bohemian Massifs). Tectonophysics 461, 2143.

P. Matte 1986. Tectonics and plate tectonics model for the Variscan belt of Europe. Tectonophysics 126, 329–74.

K. N. Sircombe 2004. Age Display: an excel workbook to evaluate and display univariate geochronological data using binned frequency histograms and probability density distributions. Computers and Geosciences 30, 2131.

F. M. Trotter 1953. Reddened beds of Carboniferous age in North-West England and their origin. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 29, 120.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Geological Magazine
  • ISSN: 0016-7568
  • EISSN: 1469-5081
  • URL: /core/journals/geological-magazine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Morton supplementary material

 Word (331 KB)
331 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.