During terrane convergence, an influx of clastic sediment from an upper plate onto a lower plate is an early indication of terrane juxtaposition. In the Caledonides of Great Britain and Ireland, units accreted to Laurentia during the early Palaeozoic Era include peri-Gondwanan terrane assemblages that earlier separated from West Gondwana. However, the Southern Uplands Terrane contains detrital zircon populations apparently derived entirely from Laurentia, characterized by a large, asymmetric Mesoproterozoic peak and a scarcity of zircon at 600 Ma and 2.1 Ga. In contrast, Cambrian and Ordovician rocks from the Lake District and the Leinster Massif of Ireland show abundant grains with these ages, together with a range of Mesoproterozoic zircon. These characteristics are shared with the Monian terrane of Anglesey and with Ganderia in the Appalachians, indicating probable derivation from Amazonia in West Gondwana. Silurian sandstones from the Lake District show an influx of Laurentia-derived zircon, and lack the peri-Gondwanan signal. This indicates that in the Caledonides, Ganderia was not accreted to the Laurentian margin until c. 430 Ma, in contrast to the Ordovician accretion of Ganderian fragments recorded in the Appalachians, suggesting that the configuration of the closing Iapetus Ocean varied significantly along the strike of the orogen.
Details of sample coordinates, analytical procedure and U/Pb detrital zircon analytical data are available at www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18739.