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Benefits of hindsight

January 01, 2002


In 1937, Phillips concluded that the regional-scale pattern of lineation which he had observed at both micro- and macroscales in the Moine metasediments, trending broadly NW-SE and plunging to the SE, was attributable to ‘movements along southwest to north-east lines, earlier than the post-Cambrian displacements’ (Phillips 1937b, p. 597). It appeared to post-date the intrusion of the Cam Chuinneag igneous complex (Phillips 1937b, p. 595, 1945, p. 210), to pre-date the isoclinal folding (Phillips 1945, p. 211), and the associated fabric was broken down by the ‘dislocation-metamorphism’ of the Moine Thrust Zone (Phillips 1945, p. 212).297 Furthermore, Phillips agreed with Read's interpretation that although the pervasive NW-SE ‘stretching lineation’ (Read et al. 1926, p. 121) pre-dated the Moine Thrust itself, ‘it is the lineation parallel to the b-axis of the fabric which has provided the direction of yield during the later thrust-movements’ (Phillips 1937b, p. 597). As Flinn put it (pers. comm. 1998), Phillips’ interpretation was ‘right (to some extent) for the wrong reasons.’

Although the style of Phillips’ (1945) composite petrofabric diagrams (e.g. Figs 6.8-6.10) has recently been found by Richard D. Law to be particularly helpful as an aid to kinematic interpretation,298 much of the controversy which dogged Phillips’ petrofabric research was attributable to the fact that in his own work Phillips followed Sander's usual kinematic interpretation of the ‘ b-axis ‘ as being orthogonal to the principal compressive stress and, hence, to the ‘direction of transport’, a view which, as has been seen, unfortunately became increasingly controversial.

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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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