Doleritic intrusions known to post-date the obduction of the Ballantrae complex during Arenig times record changing magma provenance during the cooling and serpentinisation of obducted peridotite. There are two groups of dolerites with different petrographical and geochemical characteristics.
The earlier emplaced group, which is subordinate, is characterised by amphibole formed under low metamorphic facies conditions and the virtual absence of Fe–Ti oxides. Chemically these rocks are of primitive tholeiitic character and are similar to modern island-arc basalts. They were derived from a strongly depleted mantle source region. The source region of the later emplaced group, which is predominant, was much less depleted. Clinopyroxene and plagioclase, much of it albitised, are the dominant minerals. Fe–Ti oxides also are common and there are pronounced chilled margins and well-preserved ophitic textures. Although showing mildly alkaline tendencies, these rocks originated from a tholeiitic parental magma of “within-plate” type.
Both groups show evidence of rodingitisation and associated alteration related to serpentinisation of the peridotite. During the metasomatic activity, only some elements were mobile, while Al2O3, total Fe, MgO, TiO2, Cr, Ni, Nb, Y and Zr remained almost constant. Assessment of original magma type and geotectonic environment, and demonstration that both groups of doleritic rocks show the products of fractionation, has relied heavily on data for the apparently immobile elements and on petrographical study which identified those rocks least affected by alteration.