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Mechanism of emplacement and crystallisation history of the northern margin and centre of the Galway Granite, western Ireland

Leake, Bernard Elgey 2007. Mechanism of emplacement and crystallisation history of the northern margin and centre of the Galway Granite, western Ireland. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh - Earth Sciences 97 (1) , pp. 1-23. 10.1017/S0263593300001371

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The main phase (~400 Ma) emplacement of the central and northern part of the reversely zoned Galway Granite was incremental by progressive northward marginal dyke injection and stoping of the 470–467 Ma Connemara metagabbro-gneiss country rock. The space was provided by the synchronous ESE-opening, along the strike of the country rocks, of extensional fractures generated successively northward by a releasing bend in the sinistrally moving Skird Rocks Fault or an equivalent Galway Bay Fault. This fault is a prolongation of the Antrim–Galway (a splay off the Highland Boundary Fault) and Southern Upland Faults. The ESE-strike of the spalled-off rocks controlled the resultant ESE-elongated shape of the batholith. The magma pulses (~5–30 m in thickness) were progressively more fractionated towards the northern margin so that the coarse Porphyritic (or Megacrystic) Granite (GP; technically granodiorite) in the centre was followed outwards by finer grained, drier and more siliceous granite, until the movements opening the fractures ceased and the magma became too viscous to intrude. ‘Out-of-sequence’ pulses of more basic diorite-granodiorite (including the Mingling–Mixing Zone) and late main phase, more acid, coarse but Aphyric Granite, into the centre of the batholith, complicated the outward fractionation scheme. The outward expansion, caused by the intrusions into the centre, caused a foliation and flattening of cognate xenoliths within the partly crystallised northern marginal granite and in the Mingling–Mixing Zone to the south. Late phase (~380 Ma) central intrusions of the newly-discovered aphyric Shannapheasteen Finegrained Granite (technically granodiorite), the Knock, the Lurgan and the Costello Murvey Granites, all more siliceous and less dense than the GP, were emplaced by pushing up the already solid and jointed GP along marginal faults. This concentration of lighter granites plus compression shown in thrusting, caused overall fault uplift of the Central Block of the Galway batholith so that the originally deepest part of the GP is exposed where there is the most late phase granite. Chemical analyses show the main and late phase magmas, including late dykes, were very similar, with repetition of the same fractionation except that the late phase magmas were drier and more quickly cooled, giving finer grained rocks.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Royal Society of Edinburgh
ISSN: 0263-5933
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 07:58

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