Stratigraphy and structure of Devonian fluvial sediments, western Beara Peninsula, south-west Ireland
A stratigraphic and structural summary of 5 km of Upper Devonian strata of south-west Beara, part of the Munster Basin, south-west Cork is presented. Five formations are recognized on the basis of lithofacies geometries and associations. The lowest Caherkeen Formation comprises rapidly alternating sheet-like, plane-bedded, low-angle, cross-bedded sandstones and laminated, rippled or desiccated mudrocks. The incoming of thin lenticular sandstone packages, commonly with high-angle cross-bedding, distinguishes the overlying Eagle Hill Formation. The succeeding Reen Point Formation comprises thicker bedsets of plane-bedded, low-angle and high-angle cross-bedded sandstones, separated by thick, massive mudrocks. Intraformational breccias and calcareous nodular siltrocks are distinctive features. The Tholane Formation is characterized by thick massive red-green mudrocks and a general absence of coarser grained lithologies. This sequence was deposited in a terminal fluvial fan in a basin characterized by decreasing subsidence rates and gradient with time. The overlying Toe Head Formation represents the deposits of a fluvial coastal plain. It has siltrocks that are predominantly green, often with preserved fish and plant debris. There is a relative absence of high-angled cross-bedded sandstones and an abundance of flat-laminated and inclined parallel-laminated sandstones.
The structure of the Beara Peninsula comprises a WSW plunging anticlinorium with a single cleavage formed during the Variscan orogeny. Evidence from locally transecting cleavages and from mapping indicates dextral transpression. Development of the three main fault trends was contemporaneous with the folding. The well-known copper mineralization of the Allihies area is associated with east-west fault trends, a pattern observed elsewhere in the western Munster Basin. Basement involvement during both basin development and deformation is likely, but is difficult to test.
James, A and Graham, J. R. (1995) Stratigraphy and structure of Devonian fluvial sediments, western Beara Peninsula, south-west Ireland. Geological Journal 30: p165-182
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