Abstract

The Lairg Gravity Low may represent a buried impact crater ∼40 km across that was the source of the 1.2 Ga Stac Fada Member ejecta deposit but the gravity anomaly is too large to represent a simple crater and there is no evidence of a central peak. Reanalysis of the point Bouguer gravity data reveals a ring of positive anomalies around the central low, suggesting that it might represent the eroded central part of a larger complex crater. The inner or peak rings of complex craters show a broadly consistent 2:1 relationship between ring diameter and total crater diameter, implying that the putative Lairg crater may be as much as 100 km across. This would place the crater rim within a few km of the Stac Fada Member outcrop, a location inconsistent with the thickness and clast size of the ejecta deposit. We propose that the putative impact crater originally lay further east, substantially further from the Stac Fada Member than today, and was translocated westwards to its present location beneath Lairg during the Caledonian Orogeny. This model requires that a deep-seated thrust fault, analogous to the Flannan and Outer Isles thrusts, exists beneath the Moine Thrust in north-central Scotland.

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