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Cardiff, United Kingdom
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Baars C.,National Museum Cardiff
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association | Year: 2015

A substantial decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during the mid-Palaeozoic is likely to have been the consequence partially of the evolution of rooted land plants. The earliest land plants evolved in the Ordovician but these were small cryptophytes without any roots. Much of the evidence for the evolution of vascular plants comes from the Old Red Sandstone of South Wales and the Welsh Borderland. Plants with large rooting systems evolved during the Middle Devonian and resulted in an increase in chemical weathering of silicate rocks. This, in turn, caused a contemporaneous drop in atmospheric CO2 concentration from approximately 25 times present concentration in the Cambrian to twice the present concentration by the late Carboniferous. The supposed mechanism for CO2 removal from the atmosphere involves oceanic carbonate precipitation, enhanced by plant-enhanced chemical weathering of Ca and Mg silicates. © 2017.


Linnemann U.,Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden | Pidal A.P.,Complutense University of Madrid | Hofmann M.,Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden | Drost K.,Trinity College Dublin | And 11 more authors.
International Journal of Earth Sciences | Year: 2017

In the Cadomian orogen of the NE Bohemian Massif and of SW Iberia, a post-Gaskiers glacial event dated at c. 565 Ma has been detected. Such Ediacaran-aged glaciomarine deposits occur in the Weesenstein and Clanzschwitz groups of the Saxo-Thuringian zone (Bohemia) and in the Lower Alcudian group of the southern Central Iberian zone (Iberia). Both areas are parts of Cadomia situated in the Western and Central European Variscides. Glaciomarine sedimentary rocks are characterized by such features as dropstones, flat iron-shaped pebbles (“Bügeleisen-Geschiebe”), facetted pebbles, dreikanters, and zircon grains affected by ice abrasion. For age and provenance determination, LA–ICP–MS U–Pb ages (n = 1124) and Hf isotope (n = 446) analyses were performed. The maximum age of the glaciomarine deposits within a Cadomian back-arc basin based on U–Pb analytics resulted in the youngest detrital zircon populations showing ages of 562–565 Ma and of c. 566–576 Ma old zircon derived from granitoid pebbles within the diamictites. The youngest age recorded was 538–540 Ma based on zircon from the plutons which had intruded the previously deformed Ediacaran metasedimentary rocks. Previously described glaciomarine diamictites of Cadomia (Weesenstein, Clanzschwitz, and Orellana diamictites) are most definitely younger than the c. 579–581 Ma Gaskiers glaciation in Newfoundland (Gaskiers) and in SE New England (Squantum). We propose the term Weesenstein–Orellana glaciation for this new Ediacaran glacial event, named after the most relevant regions of exposure. Palaeogeographically, these glaciomarine diamictites and related sedimentary deposits lie on the periphery of the West African Craton (western peri-Gondwana), and evidence has been provided by detrital zircon U–Pb ages and their Hf isotope composition. Correlation with similar glaciomarine deposits in the Anti-Atlas (Bou Azzer) and Saudi Arabia suggests a continued distribution of post-Gaskiers glacial deposits along the Gondwana margin of Northern Africa. The Weesenstein–Orellana glaciation correlates in part with the Shuram–Wonoka δ13C anomaly. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany


Knox R.W.O'B.,British Geological Survey | Pearson P.N.,University of Cardiff | Barry T.L.,Open University Milton Keynes | Condon D.J.,NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory | And 11 more authors.
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association | Year: 2012

The 'Tertiary', omitted from IUGS-approved timescales since 1989, is still in common use. With the recent re-instatement of the Quaternary as a formal unit, the question arises as to whether the Tertiary too should be reinstated as a formal period, with the 'Paleogene' and 'Neogene' being downgraded to sub-periods. This paper presents arguments for and against this proposal, stemming from discussions by members of the Geological Society Stratigraphy Commission. It is intended to stimulate discussion of the topic in the wider community. © 2012.


Pearce J.A.,University of Cardiff | Hastie A.R.,University of Cardiff | Hastie A.R.,University of Birmingham | Leat P.T.,British Antarctic Survey | And 8 more authors.
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2014

The Ancestral South Sandwich Arc (ASSA) has a short life-span of c. 20. m.y. (early Oligocene to middle-late Miocene) before slab retreat and subsequent 'resurrection' as the active South Sandwich Island Arc (SSIA). The ASSA is, however, significant because it straddled the eastern margin of the Drake Passage Gateway where it formed a potential barrier to deep ocean water and mantle flow from the Pacific to Atlantic. The ASSA may be divided into three parts, from north to south: the Central Scotia Sea (CSS), the Discovery segment, and the Jane segment. Published age data coupled with new geochemical data (major elements, trace elements, Hf-Nd-Sr-Pb isotopes) from the three ASSA segments place constraints on models for the evolution of the arc and hence gateway development. The CSS segment has two known periods of activity. The older, Oligocene, period produced basic-acidic, mostly calc-alkaline rocks, best explained in terms of subduction initiation volcanism of Andean-type (no slab rollback). The younger, middle-late Miocene period produced basic-acidic, high-K calc-alkaline rocks (lavas and pyroclastic rocks with abundant volcanigenic sediments) which, despite being erupted on oceanic crust, have continental arc characteristics best explained in terms of a large, hot subduction flux most typical of a syn- or post-collision arc setting. Early-middle Miocene volcanism in the Discovery and Jane arc segments is geochemically quite different, being typically tholeiitic and compositionally similar to many lavas from the active South Sandwich Island Arc front. There is indirect evidence for Western Pacific-type (slab rollback) subduction initiation in the southern part of the ASSA and for the back-arc basins (the Jane and Scan Basins) to have been active at the time of arc volcanism. Models for the death of the ASSA in the south following a series of ridge-trench collisions are not positively supported by any geochemical evidence of hot subduction, but cessation of subduction by approach of progressively more buoyant oceanic lithosphere is consistent with both geochemistry and geodynamics. In terms of deep ocean water flow the early stages of spreading at the East Scotia Ridge (starting at 17-15. Ma) may have been important in breaking up the ASSA barrier while the subsequent establishment of a STEP (Subduction-Transform Edge Propagator) fault east of the South Georgia microcontinent (<. 11. Ma) led to formation of the South Georgia Passage used by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current today. In terms of mantle flow, the subduction zone and arc root likely acted as a barrier to mantle flow in the CSS arc segment such that the ASSA itself became the Pacific-South Atlantic mantle domain boundary. This was not the case in the Discovery and Jane arc segments, however, because the northward flow of the South Atlantic mantle behind the southern part of the ASSA gave an Atlantic provenance to the whole southern ASSA. © 2014.


Corkhill C.,University of Manchester | Ixer R.A.F.,University of Leicester | Mason J.S.,National Museum Cardiff | Irving D.,University of Manchester | Pattrick R.A.D.,University of Manchester
Scottish Journal of Geology | Year: 2010

Vein mineralization hosted by NW-trending joints at Tombuie near Loch Tay, Central Grampians contains base metal sulphides with Au, Bi, Ag and Te bearing phases associated with relatively late stage galena-dominated mineralization. Minerals present include mercurian electrum, tetradymite, altaite, rucklidegeite, hessite and argentian tetrahedrite. The mineralization is similar to that at Calliachar-Urlar and other mineralized localities in the region that form a small metallogenic province partially defined by a Bi stream sediment anomaly. © 2010 Scottish Journal of Geology.


Pearce J.A.,University of Cardiff | Hastie A.R.,University of Cardiff | Leat P.T.,British Antarctic Survey | Dalziel I.W.,University of Texas at Austin | And 5 more authors.
Global and Planetary Change | Year: 2015

The Ancestral South Sandwich Arc (ASSA) has a short life-span of c. 20. m.y. (early Oligocene to middle-late Miocene) before slab retreat and subsequent 'resurrection' as the active South Sandwich Island Arc (SSIA). The ASSA is, however, significant because it straddled the eastern margin of the Drake Passage Gateway where it formed a potential barrier to deep ocean water and mantle flow from the Pacific to Atlantic. The ASSA may be divided into three parts, from north to south: the Central Scotia Sea (CSS), the Discovery segment, and the Jane segment. Published age data coupled with new geochemical data (major elements, trace elements, Hf-Nd-Sr-Pb isotopes) from the three ASSA segments place constraints on models for the evolution of the arc and hence gateway development. The CSS segment has two known periods of activity. The older, Oligocene, period produced basic-acidic, mostly calc-alkaline rocks, best explained in terms of subduction initiation volcanism of Andean-type (no slab rollback). The younger, middle-late Miocene period produced basic-acidic, high-K calc-alkaline rocks (lavas and pyroclastic rocks with abundant volcanigenic sediments) which, despite being erupted on oceanic crust, have continental arc characteristics best explained in terms of a large, hot subduction flux most typical of a syn- or post-collision arc setting. Early-middle Miocene volcanism in the Discovery and Jane arc segments is geochemically quite different, being typically tholeiitic and compositionally similar to many lavas from the active South Sandwich Island Arc front. There is indirect evidence for Western Pacific-type (slab rollback) subduction initiation in the southern part of the ASSA and for the back-arc basins (the Jane and Scan Basins) to have been active at the time of arc volcanism. Models for the death of the ASSA in the south following a series of ridge-trench collisions are not positively supported by any geochemical evidence of hot subduction, but cessation of subduction by approach of progressively more buoyant oceanic lithosphere is consistent with both geochemistry and geodynamics. In terms of deep ocean water flow the early stages of spreading at the East Scotia Ridge (starting at 17-15. Ma) may have been important in breaking up the ASSA barrier while the subsequent establishment of a STEP (Subduction-Transform Edge Propagator) fault east of the South Georgia microcontinent (<. 11. Ma) led to formation of the South Georgia Passage used by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current today. In terms of mantle flow, the subduction zone and arc root likely acted as a barrier to mantle flow in the CSS arc segment such that the ASSA itself became the Pacific-South Atlantic mantle domain boundary. This was not the case in the Discovery and Jane arc segments, however, because the northward flow of the South Atlantic mantle behind the southern part of the ASSA gave an Atlantic provenance to the whole southern ASSA. © 2014.


Ghavidel-Syooki M.,University of Tehran | Popov L.E.,National Museum Cardiff | Pour M.G.,Golestan University | Alvaro J.J.,CSIC - National Institute of Aerospace Technology | Ehsani M.H.,University of Tehran
Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh | Year: 2015

Brachiopods are among the most common components of the Late Ordovician benthic faunal assemblages recorded in the Faraghan Mountains, Zagros Ranges, Iran. A total of 19 species referable to 16 genera are identified, including seven new species; namely Drabovia elegans, Hibernodonta bonehensis, Hedstroemina zakeenensis, Jezercia faraghani, Protomendacella multicostata, Tafilaltia dargazensis and Tafilaltia seyahouensis. Reported brachiopod assemblages are oligotaxic (2-3 species per assemblage) to monotaxic. The only exception is the medium diversity Aegiromena-Hedstroemina Association, with up to ten species, which occurs at the lower part of the A. nigerica Zone. Low diversity patterns were probably controlled by the palaeogeographical position of the region in high southern latitudes throughout the Ordovician. Paterula sp. and Iranospirifer sp. are the only brachiopods documented from the Silurian (Llandovery) Sarchahan Formation. This paper gives the first detailed report of shelly fossils from the Llandovery 'hot shale' of the Arabian margin of Gondwana. Most of the Katian genera, and many of their species, are shared with neighbouring high- to mid-latitude peri-Gondwanan margins, including Morocco, Spain, France, Sardinia and Bohemia. Copyright © The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2015.


PHILLIPS B.A.,University of Cardiff | KERR A.C.,University of Cardiff | BEVINS R.,National Museum Cardiff
Geological Magazine | Year: 2015

The Fishguard Volcanic Group represents an excellently preserved example of a volcanic sequence linked to the closure of the Iapetus Ocean. This study re-examines the petrogenesis and proposed tectonic setting for the Llanvirn (467–458 Ma) Fishguard Volcanic Group, South Wales, UK. New major and trace element geochemical data and petrographic observations are used to re-evaluate the magma chamber processes, mantle melting and source region. The new data reveal that the Fishguard Volcanic Group represents a closely related series of basalts, basaltic andesites, dacites and rhyolites originating from a spinel lherzolite source which had been modified by subduction components. The rocks of the Fishguard Volcanic Group are co-genetic and the felsic members are related to the more primitive basalts mainly by low-pressure fractional crystallization. The geochemistry of the lavas was significantly influenced by subduction processes associated with a coeval arc, while significant amounts of assimilation of continental crust along with fractional crystallization appear to have contributed to the compositions of the most evolved lavas. The Fishguard Volcanic Group was erupted into a back-arc basin where extensive rifting but no true seafloor spreading had occurred. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015

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