Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A 1,800-million-year-old Proterozoic gneiss terrane in Islay with implications for the crustal structure and evolution of Britain

Abstract

A basement gneiss terrane is exposed in the western part of Islay, an island south of Mull in Scotland. This gneiss terrane has been inferred previously1–5 to be part of the Lewisian complex (that is, Archean in age), although no direct radiometric information is available. Bentley et al.6 questioned the Lewisian age for the basement and suggested that the Islay terrane is allochthonous. In this study we employ four different isotope techniques (Rb–Sr, Sm–Nd, Pb–Pb and U–Pb) to determine the crystallization and crustal extraction ages of the Islay gneisses. The isotopic evidence shows that the Islay terrane is early Proterozoic in age and that it is juvenile mantle-derived material rather than a reworking of Archean crust during the Proterozoic. There are, in consequence, two major implications for the crustal evolution of Northern Britain. First, the Grampian terrane, an area directly adjacent to the newly defined Proterozoic Islay block, is probably underlain by Proterozoic basement. Second, Northern Britain can be included in the reconstruction of the Laurentian Shield.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Johnstone, G. S. in British Regional Geology-The Grampian Highlands 3rd Edn (Institute of Geological Sciences, 1966).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Stewart, A. D. Mem. Am. Ass. Petrol. Geol. 12, 595–608 (1969).

    Google Scholar 

  3. Stewart, A. D. Geol. Soc. Land. spec. Rep. 6, 43–51 (1975).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Evans, D., Kenolty, N., Dobson, M. R. & Whittington, R. J. Report 79/15, Institute of Geological Sciences (Natural Environment Research Council, 1980).

  5. MacIntyre, R. M. & Van Breemen, O. Sci. Proc. Royal Dublin Soc. A5, (19), 301–309 (1975)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bentley, M. R., Maltman, A. J. & Fitches, W. R. Geology 16, 26–28 (1988).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Halliday, A. N. et al. Earth planet. Sci. Lett. 63, 241–256 (1983).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Krogh, T. E. Geochim. cosmochim. Acta 46, 637–649 (1982).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Heaman, L. M., Machado, N., Krogh, T. E. & Weber, W. Contr. Miner. Petrol. 94, 1, 82–89 (1986).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Allègre, C. J. Tectonophysics 81, 109–132 (1982).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. DePaolo, D. J. & Wasserburg, G. J. geophys. Res. Lett. 3, 249–252 (1976).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. DePaolo, D. J. Eos 62, no. 14, 137–140 (1981).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chapman, H. J. & Moorbath, S. Nature 268, 41–42 (1977).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Moorbath, S. & Taylor, P. N. in Precambrian Plate Tectonics (ed. Kröner, A.) 419–525 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1981).

    Google Scholar 

  15. Taylor, P. N., Jones, N. W. & Moorbath, S. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A310, 605–625 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Brewer, J. A. et al. Nature 305, 206–210 (1983).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Westbrook, G. K. & Borradaille, G. J. Scott. J. Geol. 14, no. 3, 213–224 (1978).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Pidgeon, R. & Aftalion, M. Geol. J. spec. Issue 10, 183–220 (1978).

    Google Scholar 

  19. Halliday, A. Nature 307, 229–233 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hamilton, P. J., O'Nions, R. K. & Pankhurst, R. J. Nature 287, 279–284 (1980).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Patchett, P. J. & Bridgwater, D. Contr. Miner. Petrol. 87, 311–318 (1984).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Patchett, P. J. & Kouvo, O. Contr. Miner. Petrol. 91, 1–12 (1986).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Gower, C. F. & Owen, V. Can. J. Earth Sci. 21, 678–693 (1984).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kalsbeek, F. & Taylor, P. N. in The Deep Proteozoic Crust in the North Atlantic Provinces (eds Tobi, A. C. & Touret, J. L. R.) 237–245 (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1986).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Marcantonio, F., Dickin, A., McNutt, R. et al. A 1,800-million-year-old Proterozoic gneiss terrane in Islay with implications for the crustal structure and evolution of Britain. Nature 335, 62–64 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1038/335062a0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/335062a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing