Abstract

Analysis of pelites with detrital white-micas in the Clew Bay–Galway Bay segment of the Irish Caledonides indicates that b0 data from whole-rock and < 2 μm fractions generally show differences smaller than the errors of the method, irrespective of (001) illite crystallinity values, probably due to metamorphic recrystallization. Intermediate pressure metamorphism of the Ordovician–Silurian Clew Bay Group indicates slow subduction, allowing partial thermal re-equilibration before exhumation. In contrast, the Croagh Patrick Group Laurentian shelf-sediments underwent high-pressure alteration, suggesting rapid subduction/exhumation, synchronous with strike-slip faulting. The Murrisk Group, which underwent high-intermediate pressure metamorphism in an Ordovician back-arc, forms a separate terrane to the Croagh Patrick Group to the north and also to the Ordovician Lough Nafooey and Tourmakeady groups and Rosroe Formation in the south, in which low-intermediate pressure alteration occurred. These, together with the Silurian North Galway Group, may have undergone heating due to movement over or deposition on the hot Gowlaun Detachment as the Connemara Dalradian was exhumed. The South Connemara Group also underwent a high-pressure alteration, consistent with its inferred subduction environment. Evidence of contact alteration, due to known or inferred buried late- to post-Caledonian granitoid plutons, has been found in the Clew Bay, Louisburg–Clare Island, Croagh Patrick, Murrisk and South Connemara groups. These show evidence of lower-pressure alteration than the surrounding country-rocks.

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