Some Aspects of Tertiary Acid Magmatism in NE Ireland

I. G. Meighan, D. Gibson and D. N. Hood
Department of Geology, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland
Present address: Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited, Biwater House, Portsmouth Road, Esber, Surrey KT10 9SJ.

Abstract: Geochemical data (including REE determinations) are presented for all five Mourne Mountains granites and three Northern Ireland rhyolites. These confirm (1) the extremely fractionated nature of some of the rocks (Sr and Ba < 10 ppm, Rb > 400 ppm, Eu/Eu* < 0.1, and K/Rb < 100), and (2) a major revision to the outcrops of the E. Mourne granites G1 and G2 in which much of the former is reclassified as G2. Combined petrographic and geochemical studies have also indicated that magmatic pulses were involved in the emplacement of Mourne intrusions G2 (Revised)-G5 inclusive.

The N. Ireland Tertiary acid rocks exhibit general geochemical similarities to their analogues elsewhere in the British Tertiary Igneous Province (in which Sr is generally < 100 ppm and CeN/YbN generally < 8 with Eu/Eu* often < 0.6), but as a suite the Mourne granites are enriched in Rb and some other LIL elements relative to their N. Arran counterparts.

The more fractionated acid magmas of NE Ireland are believed to have evolved from primitive granitic parent liquids by crystal fractionation at depth which involved major and accessory phases (including zircon and allanite). In the Mourne (and County Antrim) areas the primitive acid compositions lie at the ends of basaltic (tholeiitic) differentiation series, and in the Mourne central complex there is a complete geochemical sequence from basic rocks through intermediate members to primitive and ultimately highly evolved, subalkaline, granitic intrusions. It is concluded that the data are consistent with the Mourne granites and Northern Ireland rhyolites being essentially basaltic differentiates, although Sr isotope evidence indicates some (probably minor) crustal involvement.

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1984 v. 48; no. 348; p. 351-363; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1984.048.348.05
© 1984, The Mineralogical Society
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