The North Pennine batholith (Weardale Granite) of northern England : new data on its age and form

Kimbell, G.S.; Young, B.; Millward, D.; Crowley, Q.G.. 2010 The North Pennine batholith (Weardale Granite) of northern England : new data on its age and form. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 58 (2). 107-128.

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A three-dimensional gravity model of the North Pennine batholith is interpreted to show that it comprises five contiguous steep-sided plutons. The North Pennine batholith was previously referred to as the Weardale Granite, but this term is now restricted to the largest, most central pluton, which was proved by the Rookhope Borehole in 1961. The surrounding plutons are the Tynehead and Scordale plutons in the west, and the Rowlands Gill and Cornsay plutons in the east. A new U–Pb zircon age of 399.3±0.7 Ma demonstrates an unequivocal Early Devonian (Emsian) age of emplacement for the Weardale Pluton. The similarity of the forms of the four unsampled plutons to the body beneath Rookhope, and to other Devonian granites in northern England, strongly suggests that they are also of Devonian age. Seismic reflection evidence supports a contrast between relatively deep-seated Devonian granites and tabular Ordovician granites in northern England. The most conspicuous magnetic anomalies over the North Pennine batholith are associated with the Early Permian Great Whin Sill, but there is also evidence of magnetized basement rocks or denser magnetic intrusive phases on the flanks of the non-magnetic, low density plutons. A long-wavelength magnetic low can be explained in part by the granite puncturing a deep magnetic basement, although the demagnetized zone may extend beneath the batholith. A spatial correlation between the vein systems in the Northern Pennine Orefield and the form of the batholith suggests that the granite masses played a significant role in focussing mineralizing fluids into the overlying Carboniferous rocks. The highest temperature mineralization occurs over the Weardale and Tynehead plutons, where there is also the clearest evidence for the channelling of mineralizing fluids through the batholith. The other plutons are generally associated with a lower intensity of mineralization, which occurs on their flanks rather than above their roofs. The Rookhope and Tynehead areas may therefore mark the location of convective ‘chimneys’ which were important in focussing the fluid circulation responsible for the mineralization. The coincidence of the ‘chimney’ zones with the minimum of the long wavelength magnetic low suggests that the hydrothermal system may also have played a role in modifying crustal magnetization.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Geology and Landscape (England)
ISSN: 0044-0604
Date made live: 05 Jan 2011 11:34 +0 (UTC)

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