South Central Ireland
I. D. Somerville, C. N. Waters, J. D. Collinson, 2011. "South Central 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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The South Central Ireland region extends from the South Munster Basin north to the southern margin of the Dublin Basin and from Wexford in the SE to the Burren in the NW (Fig. 59). The region is dominated by strata of Mississippian age, with Pennsylvanian strata preserved in boreholes in south Co. Wexford and in the upper part of the Leinster and Kanturk coalfields. Throughout the South Central region, the Tournaisian strata present below the Waulsortian mud-bank limestones, which form a continuous thick unit of massive pale grey limestone across most of the region, are represented by the Lower Limestone Shale and Ballysteen Limestone groups (Brück 1985) of the Limerick Province (see Philcox 1984; Sevastopulo & Wyse Jackson 2009). The Lower Limestone Shale Group is related to a northward-directed marine transgressive event across the North Munster shelf. The deepening trend, which started during the deposition of the Ballysteen Limestone Group, continued with the Waulsortian facies on the distal part of a ramp. From the latest Tournaisian time and throughout the Visean there is widespread development of shallow-water marine carbonate platform sediments with only localized deeper-water ramp and basinal facies (mostly in the Shannon Basin) (Somerville et al. 1992b; Strogen et al. 1996; Sevastopulo & Wyse Jackson 2009). The greatest areal extent and stratigraphic thickness (c. 2 km) of Namurian rocks occurs in the Shannon Basin, centred on counties Clare and Limerick.
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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.