Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 374–384 | Cite as

The geochemistry of Dinantian volcanism in south Kintyre and the evidence for provincialism in the southern Scottish mantle

  • Pauline L. Smedley


Scottish Dinantian transitional to mildly alkaline volcanism is represented by abundant outcrops in the Midland Valley, Southern Uplands and Highlands provinces. Dinantian volcanic rocks from Kintyre in the Scottish Highlands range in composition from basalt through basaltic hawaiite, hawaiite, mugearite and benmoreite to trachyte, the compositions of the evolved types being largely due to differentiation from the basaltic parents.

Recent geochemical investigations of Scottish Caledonian granitoids, Siluro-Devonian Old Red Sandstone (ORS) lavas and xenolith suites from numerous vents and dykes of Permo-Carboniferous to Tertiary age have revealed that the Scottish crust and upper mantle both increase in age and are increasingly enriched in incompatible elements towards the north and northwest. The upper mantle and lower crust below the Highlands province are therefore largely considered to be more enriched and in parts older than those below the Midland Valley and Southern Uplands. Dinantian alkali basalts from these latter two provinces have ɛNd values predominantly in the range +3 to +6, initial 87Sr/86Sr values of 0.7029–0.7041 and 207Pb/ 204Pb values of 15.48–15.60. However, similar basalts from Kintyre and Arran in the Highlands have lower εNd (+0.1 to +3.4) and 207Pb/204Pb (for given 206Pb/204Pb ratios; 15.49–15.51) and slightly higher 87Sr/86Sr (0.7033–0.7046). This regional variation correlates well with the differences seen between Midland Valley and Highland magmas in the ORS calc-alkaline suite (Thirlwall 1986) and it is suggested that both the ORS and Dinantian basic rocks are derived from similar types of mantle, although no lithospheric slab component is present in the later Dinantian suites. Isotopically-distinct portions of mantle therefore appear to have been present below the Highland and Midland Valley-Southern Upland provinces from at least Caledonian to Carboniferous times. The combined incompatible element and Sr-Nd-Pd isotopic evidence from Kintyre and Arran basaltic rocks does not allow unequivocal distinction between a lithospheric mantle and a sublithospheric mantle source. The observed correlation between isotopic composition of Dinantian basalts and the chemical composition of the lithosphere, together with the apparent involvement of long-term separated source reservoirs suggests that Kintyre and Arran lavas were derived largely from a lithospheric mantle source. On the other hand, the isotopic enrichment of Kintyre basaltic rocks is not extreme; trace element and isotopic compositions are still comparable to modem OIB. Sublithospheric mantle could therefore also be a viable source for Kintyre and Arran Dinantian volcanism.


204Pb Mantle Source Lithospheric Mantle Incompatible Element Basaltic Rock 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline L. Smedley
    • 1
  1. 1.Z.W.O. Laboratorium voor Isotopen-GeologieHV AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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