The mantle of Scotland viewed through the Glen Gollaidh aillikite

Hutchison, M. T., Faithfull, J. W. , Barfod, D. N. , Hughes, J. W. and Upton, B. G.J. (2018) The mantle of Scotland viewed through the Glen Gollaidh aillikite. Mineralogy and Petrology, 112(S1), pp. 115-132. (doi: 10.1007/s00710-018-0610-y)

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The Glen Gollaidh aillikite dyke (58.36741°N 4.69751°W), N.W. Scotland, occurs within the Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks of the Moine Supergroup ~4 km east of the Moine Thrust. Phlogopite 40Ar/36Ar measurements give a late Devonian maximum emplacement age of 360.3 ± 4.9 (2σ) Ma. This age occurs in a quiet period of Scottish magmatic history c. 30 Ma after the closure of the Iapetus and before the start of intra-plate alkali magmatism which affected southern Scotland for ~60 My from c. 350 Ma. Abundant chromites and Cr-diopsides and a few unaltered olivines, reflecting a mantle provenance, were recovered from heavy mineral concentrates. The North Atlantic Craton, exposed in Lewisian gneisses west of the Moine thrust, is therefore inferred to extend east at depth under Glen Gollaidh, presenting an opportunity to investigate the thickness and composition of the cratonic margin in the Devonian. The aillikite was found to be barren of diamond and no picro-ilmenites or garnets were definitively identified. However, mineral chemistry suggests that a proportion of Glen Gollaidh xenocrysts crystallised in equilibrium with garnet. Most spinels are Mg, Al chromites, with some Mg chromite present. All fall within the garnet peridotite field based on Ti and Cr but with insufficient Cr2O3 (up to 47.2 wt%) to be consistent with the diamond stability field. Amongst Cr-diopsides 30% of grains have Cr and Al contents consistent with derivation from garnet peridotite. The majority of clinopyroxenes also show a marked depletion in heavy compared to light rare-earth elements, again consistent with equilibration with garnet. The opx-cpx solvus thermometer demonstrates that average Cr-diopside compositions require at least 37 kbar to give a temperature (979 °C) lying even on a relatively warm 40 mWm−2 geotherm (Hasterok and Chapman Earth Planet Sc Lett 307:59–70, 2011). Large variations in the chemistry of mantle minerals reflect a complex history of metasomatism akin to constituents of alkali igneous rocks elsewhere in the Hebridean and Northern Highlands Terranes. Fertilised mantle provided the conditions for generation of aillikite melts, probably triggered by break-off of the advancing Avalonia slab. The cratonic root underlying the Glen Gollaidh aillikite during the late Devonian was apparently too thin to lie within the diamond stability field, consistent with xenoliths from alkali basalts further south. Nonetheless, sufficient geophysical and mineral chemical evidence supports Glen Gollaidh aillikite sitting close to the edge of diamond-prospective mantle therefore suggesting diamond potential a short distance to the west within the Lewisian and what is now East Greenland.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barfod, Dr Dan and Faithfull, Dr John
Authors: Hutchison, M. T., Faithfull, J. W., Barfod, D. N., Hughes, J. W., and Upton, B. G.J.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
University Services > Library and Collection Services > Museum and Art Gallery
Journal Name:Mineralogy and Petrology
ISSN (Online):1438-1168
Published Online:11 July 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Mineralogy and Petrology 112(S1):115–132
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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