40Ar/39Ar phlogopite geochronology of lamprophyre dykes in Cornwall, UK: new age constraints on Early Permian post-collisional magmatism in the Rhenohercynian Zone, SW England
The spatial and temporal association of post-collisional granites and lamprophyre dykes is a common but enigmatic relationship in many orogenic belts, including the Variscan orogenic belt of SW England. The geology of SW England has long been interpreted to reflect orogenic processes associated with the closure of the Rheic Ocean and the formation of Pangaea. The SW England peninsula is composed largely of Early Devonian to Carboniferous volcano-sedimentary successions deposited in synrift and subsequent syncollisional basins that underwent deformation and low-grade regional metamorphism during the Variscan orogeny. Voluminous Early Permian granitic magmatism (Cornubian Batholith) is considered to be broadly coeval with the emplacement of lamprophyric dykes and lamprophyric and basaltic lava flows, largely on the basis of geochronological data from lamprophyric lavas in Devon. Although published geochronological data for Cornish lamprophyre dykes are consistent with this interpretation, these data are limited largely to imprecise K–Ar whole-rock and biotite analyses, hindering the understanding of the processes responsible for their genesis and their relationship to granitic magmatism and regional Variscan tectonics. 40Ar/39Ar geochronological data for four previously undated lamprophyre dykes from Cornwall, combined with published data, suggest that lamprophyre magmatism occurred between c. 293.6 and c. 285.4 Ma, supporting previous inferences that their emplacement was coeval with the Cornubian Batholith. These data provide insights into (1) the relative timing between the lamprophyres and basalts, the Cornubian batholith and post-collisional magmatism elsewhere in the European Variscides, and (2) the post-collisional processes responsible for the generation and emplacement of lamprophyres, basalts and granitoids.