The Old Red Sandstone (Middle Devonian) Orcadian basin was formed as a consequence of extensional collapse of the Caledonian orogen. Onshore study of these collapse-basins in Orkney and Shetland provides directions of extension during basin development. The origin of folding of Old Red Sandstone sediments, that has generally been related to a Carboniferous inversion phase, is discussed: syndepositional deformation supports a Devonian age and consequently some of the folds are related to basin formation. Large-scale folding of Devonian strata results from extensional and left-lateral transcurrent faulting of the underlying basement. Spatial variation of extension direction and distribution of extensional and transcurrent tectonics fit with a model of regional releasing overstep within a left-lateral megashear in NW Europe during late-Caledonian extensional collapse.

Later inversion (probably during the Upper Carboniferous) is characterized by E–W to NE–SW contraction. It induced reactivation of extensional faults as thrusts, development of small-scale folds and thrusts, and right lateral transcurrent movement of the major faults such as the Great Glen and Walls Boundary faults.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.