W. I. Mitchell, I. D. Somerville, 2011. "Northern Ireland", A Revised Correlation of Carboniferous Rocks in the British Isles, C. N. Waters, I. D. Somerville, N. S. Jones, C. J. Cleal, J. D. Collinson, R. A. Waters, B. M. Besly, M. T. Dean, M. H. Stephenson, J. R. Davies, E. C. Freshney, D. I. Jackson, W. I. Mitchell, J. H. Powell, W. J. Barclay, M. A. E. Browne, B. E. Leveridge, S. L. Long, D. McLean
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During the Carboniferous, Northern Ireland straddled a zone of dextral strike-slip faulting, comparable to the Midland Valley of Scotland (see Chapter 14). The earliest Mississippian marine transgression reached Northern Ireland in the late Tournaisian (CM Miospore Biozone) and from then until the mid-Arnsbergian Substage (E2b1 Subzone) the sediment fill was deposited in close proximity to the northern margin of the basin. Metamorphic rocks of the Central Highlands (Grampian) Terrane to the north were repeatedly exposed during episodes of marine regression. In the SE of the region it appears that the Southern Uplands-Down-Longford Terrane was finally submerged in the late Asbian or early Brigantian. The cumulative thickness of 7000 m is represented mainly by Tournaisian, Visean and lower Namurian rocks in Co. Fermanagh, the Fintona Block, peripheral sections at Coalisland and isolated basins such as Newtownstewart, all in Co. Tyrone (Fig. 51). The most continuous outcrop and succession extend from Co. Fermanagh and south Co. Tyrone into north Co. Armagh. The Carboniferous outcrop in the eastern part of Northern Ireland is reduced to outliers at Ballycastle in Co. Antrim, and in Co. Down at Cultra, Castle Espie and Carlingford Lough. During the Pennsylvanian, much of Northern Ireland was land, and strata of this age are limited in extent to the Fintona Block and east Co. Tyrone (Fig. 51).
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The report revises and expands upon the 1976 and 1978 publications for the Dinantian and Silesian, respectively, combining them into a single account of British and Irish Carboniferous stratigraphy. The need to update the two Special Reports reflects the considerable advances in Carboniferous geology over the last 30 years. The report covers developments in international chronostratigraphy and incorporates wholesale reassessments of British lithostratigraphy. A huge volume of biostratigraphical information has been published over recent decades and the report summarizes the key information.
Carboniferous rocks have long been of economic importance, but it is the search for hydrocarbons, in its infancy at the time of the previous reports, which has greatly increased our understanding of Carboniferous successions offshore and at depth, particularly in southern and eastern England.