The Unst Ophiolite is the best exposed of a chain of early Ordovician ophiolites in the Scottish Caledonides and is widely regarded as having formed in a supra-subduction zone setting within the Iapetus Ocean. Reinterpretation of sheeted dykes suggests that it formed as an oceanic core complex, presumably during subduction roll-back immediately prior to obduction onto the Laurentian margin. A new U–Pb zircon age of 484 ± 4 Ma for development of the metamorphic sole places a lower limit on the timing of obduction, which was subsequently followed by regional-scale crustal thickening and Barrovian metamorphism during the Grampian orogenic event.

Supplementary material:

Analytical methods, CL images of representative zircon grains and an LA-ICP-MS U–Th–Pb zircon data table are available at

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