New high-precision ages, determined from palynomorph assemblages within intercalated sedimentary deposits, are presented for the Palaeogene lava fields (Skye, Mull and Antrim) of the British Province. These data reveal very rapid averaged eruption rates (1 m/200 years) and the non-synchronous formation of the lava fields. Eruption of the volumetrically dominant transitional to mildly alkaline lavas of the Skye (58.25-58.0 Ma) and Mull (post 55 Ma) lava fields (the Skye Main Lava Series, and the Plateau Group of Mull, respectively) is separated by the eruption of the MORB-like Preshal More flows of olivine tholeiite found at the top of the preserved sequence on Skye and at the base of the Mull Lava Field. The Lower Formation of the Antrim Lava Field correlates with the Skye Lava Field and the Upper Formation correlates with the Preshal More flows. The new ages indicate that the eruption of the Preshal More flows was synchronous with the main ocean floor spreading event which occurred 500 km to the NW, at c. 55 Ma, during Chron 24r. A combined thinspot and channelized plume model may best explain the temporal and spatial distributions of the lava fields and associated subvolcanic complexes of the British Province.

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