Abstract

Recently proposed models for the tectonic evolution of Northern Scotland, involving lithospheric extension during the late Precambrian, are supported by new discoveries and interpretations of early normal faults within the Moine Thrust Belt. Such structures control the preser­vation of Torridonian sediments beneath the sub-Cambrian unconform­ity. The Ben More thrust ramp from basement into the Cambrian cover may have been controlled by the early faults. Major synclines within the Ben More thrust sheet appear as tightenedhalf-grabens and thus are composite structures. This may require a re-examination of the field relationships between these folds and the apparently syn-tectonic alkaline intrusions that have been used to date thrust activity.

The Ben More thrust sheet of the Moine Thrust Belt contains the most easterly outcrops of Torridonian Supergroup (late Proterozoic) in Scotland (Fig. 1). These sediments and their Lewisian basement are unconformably overlain by the Cambrian quartzites of the Eriboll Sandstone Group. The stratigraphic relationships of these units, with the two un­conformities (Cambrian on Torridonian, Torridonian on Lewisian) discordant so that the Cambrian sediments overstep from Toridonian onto Lewisian basement, have been known for over a century. However, the nature of the overstep and its implications for the Precambrian arrangement of Torridonian and Lewisian rocks, is less established. Soper & Barber (1979) inferred the presence of major upright folds with wavelength in excess of 30 km so that Torridonian sediments lie preserved in synclines while the crests of the anticlines are eroded beneath the sub-Cambrian unconformity. This model for Precambrian basement–cover relationships has

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