Abstract

New detailed mapping and related field studies, together with re-assessment of prior investigations, have revealed that three groups of faults, orientated broadly NE, N and NW, have been the primary controls on stratigraphical, structural and geomorphological evolution in the upper Firth of Clyde since their initiation by proto-Variscan stresses in Late Devonian time. Extended control has been achieved through repeated episodic reactivation, during which existing lines of fracture were rejuvenated and others of similar orientation initiated. Movements on two (if not all three) groups of faults persisted until middle Palaeogene time at least. The faults have been augmented by two sets of irregularly distributed, open, plunging folds, broadly N–S and E–W in their axial orientations. Some N–S folds may be attributed to oblique or strike-slip movement on reactivated caledonoid faults, others to intermittent transpression, probably in Namurian–Westphalian times, affecting mainly the northeastern Midland Valley but stretching beyond the massif of the Clyde Lava Plateau to register a weakened presence as far W as the upper Firth. The N–S folds and dextral strike-slip movements on some faults may be far-field expressions of the Uralian Orogeny, whereas earlier, sinistral displacements on NE faults and the development of small, later and less-significant E–W folds may be related to different phases of long-lived Variscan compression from the S.

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