Abstract

The metasedimentary rocks of the Morar Group in northern Scotland form part of the early Neoproterozoic Moine Supergroup. The upper part of the group is c. 2–3 km thick and contains two large kilometre-scale facies successions: a coarsening-upwards marine-to-fluvial regression overlain by a fining-upwards fluvial-to-marine transgression. Fluvial facies make up less than a third of the total thickness; shallow-marine lithofacies make up the remainder. Combining these new findings with previously published data indicates that the Morar Group represents, overall, a transgressive stratigraphic succession c. 6–9 km thick, in which there is both an upward and eastward predominance of shallow-marine deposits, and a concomitant loss of fluvial facies. Smaller-scale (hundreds of metres thick) transgressive–regressive cycles are superimposed on this transgressive trend. Collectively, the characteristics of the succession are consistent with deposition in a foreland basin located adjacent to the Grenville orogen, and possibly linked to the peri-Rodinian ocean. Subsidence and progressive deepening of the Morar basin may have, at least in part, been driven by loading of thrust sheets emplaced during the Grenville orogeny, and aided by sediment loading. However, the relative contributions of thrust loading versus plate boundary effects and/or eustatic sea-level rise on basin evolution remain speculative.

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