Abstract

Subduction of Iapetus crust during the Caledonian orogeny has been seen by some authors as terminating at the end of Ordovician times and by others as continuing through the Silurian. We present petrological and chemical data which support a coeval arc origin for detritus in the Lettergesh Formation (Silurian), western Ireland. The arc, based on continental crust, lay to the north of the present outcrops of this formation, along the Laurentian margin of Iapetus, implying active oceanic subduction in the Silurian. This subduction may have been followed by some continental underplating around the middle of the Wenlock giving rise to a successor basin in Ireland and Scotland.

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