Abstract

The Ballantrae Complex, SW Scotland, is an ophiolitic assemblage of mostly Early and early Middle Ordovician age (Tremadoc–Arenig in terms of the British Ordovician Series). Its varied components were generated and assembled in the Iapetus Ocean, then obducted on to the Laurentian continental margin by the earliest Llanvirn. The timing of obduction is constrained by biostratigraphic and radiometric data. It was most probably a polyphase process initiated at about the beginning of the Arenig, at around 478 Ma. However, parts of the Complex are significantly younger, with some recent evidence taken to suggest an earliest Llanvirn age of about 464 Ma for the emplacement of some of the volcanic and pelagic sedimentary rocks. The oldest strata in the succession that now unconformably overlies the Ballantrae Complex were deposited at about 463 Ma. Hence there may have been as little as one million years available for the final stages of the Complex's tectonic assembly, obduction, uplift, erosion and downfaulting. Obduction of the Complex has been invoked as a factor in the initiation of the Grampian Orogeny and, whilst there is a broad correlation in timing, the detail from Ballantrae militates against a causal relationship.

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