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Stoping and the mechanisms of emplacement of the granites in the Western Ring Complex of the Galway granite batholith, western Ireland

Leake, Bernard Elgey 2011. Stoping and the mechanisms of emplacement of the granites in the Western Ring Complex of the Galway granite batholith, western Ireland. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 102 (01) , pp. 1-16. 10.1017/S175569101100911X

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The western end of the Galway granite batholith demonstrates the importance of stoping as a granite emplacement process, which is currently controversial, and also of space generation by uplift of the centre of a ring complex. The granite rings are shown (with a coloured 1:25 000 geological map) to be consanguineous, near coeval, and older than the 407–410 Ma late molybdenite mineralisation. A newly-recognised Mace–Ards granite, around and injected by the Aplitic Murvey-type granite of the ring core (both lacking hornblende and titanite), has biotite–muscovite–cordierite orbs and sulphide–granite orbs, showing separation of immiscible hydrous and sulphide fluids from the late magma which, with vugs, indicates a low pressure, near-roof site. The outer ring of the Errisbeg Townland granite (ETG, the main batholith granite with K-feldspar phenocrysts), was emplaced by progressive outward stoping of the country rock metagabbro, as shown by mapping, and by chemical fractionation of feldspars, biotites and bulk rocks, to the marginal, dry, fine-grained aphyric, in part garnetiferous, highly fractionated, siliceous Murvey granite. Stoping ceased when, after previously invading dense metagabbro, the outer ring complex reached the low-density Roundstone granite, which is shown for the first time to be older than the Galway batholith. This arresting of the batholith intrusion shows that stoping was such a significant process that emplacement ceased when stoping became impossible. The inside edge of the ETG grades into the slightly later, intrusive, aphyric Carna granite, which shows inward fractionation to the wet magma of the Mace–Ards granite. The ring complex core was injected by highly fractionated, dry, Aplitic Murvey-type granite, intensely hydrothermally altered by late magmatic water. The radially outward dipping, inclined igneous layering in the ETG shows that the original ETG centre was pushed upwards by the intruded Carna granite and eroded away. The Galway granite and its nearby magmatism matches the low Ba and Sr, high Th and Rb, Scottish Cairngorm Suite and similarly has few appinitic rocks associated with it. Magmatism extended over >45 Myr from ∼425 Ma to 380 Ma. It originated by slab breakoff and consequent rise of the asthenosphere, causing deep crustal melting.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1755-6910
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 07:58

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