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The structure, fabrics and AMS of the Slieve Gullion ring-complex, Northern Ireland: testing the ring-dyke emplacement model

By
Carl T. E. Stevenson
Carl T. E. Stevenson
1
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
,
Birmingham Edgbaston B15 2TT
,
UK
(e-mail: c.t.stevenson@bham.ac.uk)
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Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll
2
Department of Geology, Museum Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2
,
Ireland
3
Present address:
School of Geological Sciences, University College
,
Belfield, Dublin 4
,
Ireland
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Eoghan P. Holohan
Eoghan P. Holohan
2
Department of Geology, Museum Building, Trinity College, Dublin 2
,
Ireland
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Rebecca Couchman
Rebecca Couchman
1
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham
,
Birmingham Edgbaston B15 2TT
,
UK
(e-mail: c.t.stevenson@bham.ac.uk)
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R. John Reavy
R. John Reavy
4
Department of Geology
,
University College
,
Cork
,
Ireland
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Graham D. M. Andrews
Graham D. M. Andrews
5
Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences
,
University of British Columbia
,
2329 West Mall Vancouver, BC
,
Canada
V6T 1Z4
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Abstract

A structural investigation of the Slieve Gullion ring-complex, part of the approximately 56 Ma Slieve Gullion Igneous Centre, County Armagh, Northern Ireland was carried out with a view to testing the ring-dyke emplacement mechanism. This investigation involved the detailed examination and mapping of critical field relationships and the measurement of visible and magnetic fabrics, within the porphyritic rhyolite (felsite) and the porphyritic granite (granophyre) parts of the ring-complex. Set against existing theories for the emplacement of this complex, our investigation failed to find steep outward-dipping fabrics and lineations that would support the emplacement of this ring-complex as a ring-dyke. Instead, we propose that the ring-complex was emplaced as a series of extrusive and intrusive subhorizontal sheets, controlled by a circular zone of deformation, and subsequently domed by the emplacement of the younger central complex. From its gently dipping bulk geometries and a disharmonically folded eutaxitic internal fabric (supported by AMS – anisotropy of magnetic susceptibilty), the earlier rhyolite is reinterpreted as a pyroclastic deposit. The rhyolite was probably deposited against the wall of a subsiding caldera and is now preserved in the SW quadrant of the complex. From primary intrusive contact geometries with pre-Palaeogene country rocks, magnetic fabrics and subtle visible foliations – all of which are gently dipping – the younger and more extensive granitic ring is suggested to have initially been a subhorizontal sheet that is now domed. Only its gently outward-dipping floor is exposed around the ring-complex, and this is for much of its circumference bounded by a circular zone of deformation – a ring-fault. This study highlights the importance of detailed structural investigation in assessing the emplacement of igneous ring-complexes, emphasizing the need to look further than a simple ring-dyke emplacement model.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Structure and Emplacement of High-Level Magmatic Systems

K. Thomson
K. Thomson
University of Birmingham, UK
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N. Petford
N. Petford
Bournemouth University, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
302
ISBN electronic:
9781862395503
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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