Abstract

The Palaeozoic rocks of the Dingle Peninsula provide a record of the evolution of the Caledonides, Acadides and Variscides. The succession ranges from Early Ordovician deep-water sediments, through Silurian shallow marine to non-marine sediments and volcanic rocks to an Old Red Sandstone (ORS) succession topped by Carboniferous marine shales. Comparison of structural styles in the unconformity-bounded groups, together with a detailed analysis of fault zones, allows the tectonic history to be deduced. The older rocks record Caledonian processes on the margin of Avalonia during Early Ordovician time and convergence then soft collision with Laurentia during Silurian time. The Dingle Basin was developed during the late Silurian – Early Devonian transtension in the Iapetus suture zone and was inverted in the latest Emsian Acadian orogenic episode. Post-Dingle Group ORS groups in the north of the peninsula were deposited in a syn-rift footwall block to the main Munster Basin. The Acadian transpressional and Munster Basin extensional structures were reactivated or overprinted in the Variscan deformation such that Acadian folds are transected by Variscan cleavage in both plan and vertical views. After Iapetus closure, changes in the tectonic regime are believed to be a result of adjustments in the geometry of subduction of the Rheic Ocean.

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