Constraints on early Cenozoic underplating-driven uplift and denudation of western Scotland from low temperature thermochronometry

Persano, C., Barfod, D., Stuart, F. and Bishop, P. (2007) Constraints on early Cenozoic underplating-driven uplift and denudation of western Scotland from low temperature thermochronometry. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 263(3-4), pp. 404-419. (doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2007.09.016)

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Abstract

Apatite (U–Th)/He and fission track data from profiles in western Scotland constrain the timing and magnitude of denudation during the early Cenozoic when the north Atlantic region was the site of intense magmatic activity related to the proto-Icelandic plume. Apatite helium ages vary from 77 ± 8 to 265 ± 27 Ma (± 2σ) at Sgorr Dhonuill, Ballachulish, and from 104 ± 10 Ma to 166 ± 17 Ma at Clisham, Outer Hebrides. At both locations apatite fission track (AFT) ages are older than the corresponding He ages; at Clisham they vary from 189 ± 28 Ma to 242 ± 26 Ma, and from 186 ± 6 Ma to 257 ± 12 Ma at Sgorr Dhonuill. Apatite He ages increase linearly with elevation suggesting that the cooling rate remained constant in the late Mesozoic. However, the apatite He age profile requires a period of rapid cooling after ∼ 100 Ma. Apatite He ages predicted from the AFT-derived thermal histories are indistinguishable from measured He ages for a rapid cooling event of 1 to 10 Myr duration between 61 and 47 Ma at Sgorr Dhonuill and 65 to 49 Ma at Clisham. The combined apatite FT- and He-derived thermal histories constrain the early Cenozoic geothermal gradient at 39 ± 9 °C/km at Sgorr Dhonuill and 19 ± 6 °C/km at Clisham. Amounts of denudation related to the rapid cooling event vary from 1330 ± 230 m at Sgorr Dhonuill to 2250 ± 750 m at Clisham, in agreement with models that predict greater amounts of denudation where magmatic underplating is thicker. However, the direct correlation between underplating-driven surface uplift and denudation may only be apparent and a more complex link between spatial variation of surface uplift and denudation is suggested. The integration of results from multiple low-temperature thermochronometers, combined with inverse and forward modelling, provides a convincing and quantitative method to deduce onshore erosional histories, and provides critical information about the spatial distribution of erosion that cannot be derived from the offshore record.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barfod, Dr Dan and Persano, Dr Cristina and Stuart, Professor Finlay and Bishop, Professor Paul
Authors: Persano, C., Barfod, D., Stuart, F., and Bishop, P.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Earth and Planetary Science Letters
ISSN:0012-821X
ISSN (Online):1385-013X
Published Online:28 September 2007

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