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Understanding of Moine geology in the 1930s

January 01, 2002


The Moine rocks, or ‘Moines’ as Johnstone & Mykura (1989) and many others colloquially call the formal Moine Supergroup (Gibbons & Harris 1994), are a thick succession of metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, mainly psammites126 and semi-pelites,127 which occupy the largest part of the Northern Highlands of Scotland (Fig. 5.1). The metamorphic grade is mostly amphibolite fades128 with widespread garnet- to sillimanite-zone rocks, some migmatites129 and some low-grade greenschist facies130 rocks, especially in the west where the metamorphic grade declines. Although not obvious, the Moine succession rests unconformably131 on the Lewisian rocks of the Precambrian basement.132 The Moine metasediments generally lack distinctive sedimentary lithologies or bands which can be traced for substantial distances. Consequently, unravelling the internal structure of the Moine has proved to be exceptionally difficult and it is still not complete because of its complexity, the generally uniform lithology and the varied degree of exposure, which ranges from excellent to abysmal. The term Moine itself, which derives from ‘a'Mhoine’, meaning ‘the peat bog’ (in North Sutherland; Green 1935, p. lxiv), is expressive of the last difficulty.

The history of the understanding of the geology of the Moine Supergroup up to the publication of the great memoir on the geology of the NW Highlands by Charles Thomas Clough (1852-1916), William Gunn (1837-1902), Lionel Wordsworth Hinxman (1855-1936), John Home (1848-1928) and Benjamin Neeve Peach (1824-1926) (Peach et al. 1907) has been fully documented in gripping detail by Oldroyd (1990).

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Geological Society, London, Memoirs

The Life of Frank Coles Phillips (1902–1982) and the Structural Geology of the Moine Petrofabric Controversy

Richard J. Howarth
Richard J. Howarth
Department of Geological Sciences, University College London, UK
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Bernard E. Leake
Bernard E. Leake
Department of Earth Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
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Geological Society of London
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Publication date:
January 01, 2002




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