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A thick and relatively complete succession of Carboniferous rocks of Tournaisian to Westphalian age, together with a probable Stephanian section (Floodpage et al. 2001) was deposited throughout the two main areas in the Irish Sea region. The larger Central Province Trough in the south includes the East Irish Sea Basin (EISB)-Quadrant 109 Syncline-Kish Bank Basin, linking the onshore successions of the Craven Basin (Chapter 11) and Dublin Basin (Chapter 21). The smaller Peel Basin-Solway Basin (Fig. 48) represents the extension of the onshore Solway Basin (Chapter 13) and continues westwards between the Drogheda Shelf and the Balbriggan Block (Chadwick et al. 2001; Sevastopulo & Wyse Jackson 2009). Seismic data suggest that Carboniferous strata some 4000–5000 m thick occur in the Solway Basin and EISB (Chadwick et al. 2001). The present day distribution of Carboniferous strata is controlled by the effects of uplift and erosion associated with Variscan basin inversion (Chadwick et al. 2001). Separating the Solway Basin and EISB is the Manx-Lakeland Ridge, which is believed to extend westward to form the Balbriggan Block (Chapter 21).

The lithostratigraphical nomenclature of Jackson & Johnson (1996) is retained. In this scheme the Tournaisian and Visean successions are referred to as the Garwood Group, the Namurian succession as the Bisat Group and the Westphalian to Stephanian succession as the Kidston Group. There is insufficient information to subdivide these groups into component formations (Jackson & Johnson 1996).

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