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Abstract

This study of four well characterized and adjacent terranes in Northern Britain outlines the sulphur isotope variations, assesses the overall importance of crustal and mantle sulphur, and presents a model that can be applied to terrane distinction throughout the North Atlantic Caledonides. The characteristics of metal components within the mineralization provide additional information that can be related to the nature of underlying basement and events from the onset of sedimentation to the cessation of mineralization within stratigraphically linked packages of rock.

The δ34S data show that the dominant crustal units in each terrane, whether upper crustal sediments or cratonic basement, provide the main alternative sulphur source to the mantle and act also as the main contaminant of subcrustal melts. The δ34S values of granitoid-related mineralization are either within the subcrustal melt-range of −3‰ to +3‰ or deviate toward the values of major crustal units in the terrane, i.e. toward 34S depletion in the Southern Uplands and toward 34S enrichment in the Lakesman and Grampian terranes. More complex mineralization in the Northern Highland terrane is linked to the presence of thick North Atlantic craton beneath upper crustal metasediments. Across the region the vein systems beyond the influence of magmatic components represent homogenized sulphur, metals and fluids from local upper crustal units. The sulphur isotope data and style of mineralization for the British terranes are compared with terranes of similar age along strike in Eastern Canada revealing notable correlations.

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