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Background to controversy

January 01, 2002


During World War II, and immediately thereafter, the study of Moine geology languished. After Sutton and Watson had completed their PhD studies of the Lewisian foreland under Read (Sutton & Watson 1951), they remained at Imperial College and turned their attention to the still vexed question of the exact relationship between the Moine metasediments and the Lewisian-type rocks enclosed within them. Were the Lewisian-type rocks in inliers underlying unconformable Moine metasediments, or were they part of the Moine succession, or were they thrust-slices into it? The Geological Survey and many others believed the views of Peach et al. (1907) that the Lewisian rocks were in inliers, whereas Read (1934b), as we have seen, took the opposite view. With their recent familiarity with the Lewisian complex, Sutton and Watson were well qualified to examine the problem. Moreover, the use of cross-bedding, which occurs in the Moine metasediments (Wilson et al. 1953), to indicate stratigraphic way-up in metasedimentary successions, was by now established. This tool was able to show way-up direction even in tightly folded Moine rocks.

Under Read at Imperial College, for the first time in British university geological research, teams of researchers, staff, research students and research fellows systematically examined areas of regional geology. One team, under Read and Pitcher (to 1955), concentrated on the geology of Donegal and the Donegal granite (1947-1963),259 while another, initiated by Sutton and Watson, examined the Moine succession.

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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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