A U–Pb age for the Late Caledonian Sperrin Mountains minor intrusions suite in the north of Ireland: timing of slab break-off in the Grampian terrane and the significance of deep-seated, crustal lineaments
An intrusion of trachy-andesite, representative of a newly discovered suite of high-K–Ba–Sr, calc-alkaline minor intrusions (termed herein the Sperrin Mountains suite), hosted within the Grampian terrane in the north of Ireland, has been dated by U–Pb zircon at 426.69 ± 0.85 Ma (mid-Silurian; Wenlock–Ludlow boundary). Geochemistry reveals a close association with the Fanad, Ardara and Thorr plutons of the Donegal Batholith and the Argyll and Northern Highlands Suite of Scotland. The deep-seated Omagh Lineament appears to have limited eastward propagation of the Sperrin Mountains suite from beneath the main centre of granitic magmatism in Donegal. A Hf depleted mantle model age (TDMHf) of c. 800 Ma for trachy-andesite zircons indicates partial melting from a source previously separated from the mantle. Whole-rock geochemistry of the suite is consistent with a model of partial melting, triggered by slab break-off, following thrusting of Ganderia–Avalonia under the Southern Uplands–Down–Longford accretionary prism (i.e. Laurentian margin). The new age constrains the timing of this event in the north of Ireland and is consistent with the petrogenesis of Late Caledonian high-K granites, appinites and minor intrusions across the Caledonides of northern Britain and Ireland.