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Reinterpreting the age of the uppermost ‘Old Red Sandstone’ and Early Carboniferous in Scotland

Reinterpreting the age of the uppermost ‘Old Red Sandstone’ and Early Carboniferous in Scotland
Reinterpreting the age of the uppermost ‘Old Red Sandstone’ and Early Carboniferous in Scotland
In Scotland the base of the Ballagan Formation has traditionally been placed at the first grey mudstone within a contiguous Late Devonian to Carboniferous succession. This convention places the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary within the Old Red Sandstone Kinnesswood Formation. The consequences of this placement are that the tetrapods from the Ballagan Formation were dated as late Tournaisian in age and that the ranges of typically Devonian fish found in the Kinnesswood Formation continue into the Carboniferous. The Pease Bay specimen of the fish Remigolepis is from the Kinnesswood Formation. Comparisons with its range in Greenland, calibrated against spores, shows it to be Famennian in age. Detailed palynological sampling at Burnmouth from the base of the Ballagan Formation proves that the early Tournaisian spore zones (VI and HD plus Cl 1) are present. The Schopfites species that occurs through most of the succession is S. delicatus rather than S. claviger. The latter species defines the late Tournaisian CM spore zone. The first spore assemblage that has been found in upper ‘ORS’ strata underlying the Ballagan Formation (Preston, Whiteadder Water), contains Retispora lepidophyta and is from the early latest Famennian LL spore zone. The spore samples are interbedded with volcaniclastic debris which shows that the Kelso Volcanic Formation is, in part, early latest Famennian in age. These findings demonstrate that the Ballagan Formation includes most of the Tournaisian with the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary positioned close to the top of the Kinnesswood Formation. The Stage 6 calcrete at Pease Bay can be correlated to the equivalent section at Carham showing that it represents a time gap equivalent to the latest Famennian glaciation(s). Importantly some of the recently described Ballagan Formation tetrapods are older than previously dated and now fill the key early part of Romer’s Gap.
Devonian, Carboniferous, tetrapods, palynology, Ballagan
1755-6910
Marshall, John
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Reeves, Emma J.
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Bennett, Carys
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Davies, Sarah
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Kearsey, Tim
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Millward, David
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Smithson, Tim
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Browne, Mike
c6a87a81-9840-463e-bbab-460f5e534ba0
Marshall, John
cba178e3-91aa-49a2-b2ce-4b8d9d870b06
Reeves, Emma J.
6a834ffb-6e81-4f04-bdd2-175b64979125
Bennett, Carys
d13a7482-b784-4fa1-8087-0921dc9e7f88
Davies, Sarah
b8564160-ae26-4582-bb22-72e881331827
Kearsey, Tim
cec4c711-039c-4f8e-929a-63397583a303
Millward, David
59fd1573-99a8-4422-93e3-5efd7b856b81
Smithson, Tim
8cf74940-5b7f-4dd7-a916-8618f262b0fc
Browne, Mike
c6a87a81-9840-463e-bbab-460f5e534ba0

Marshall, John, Reeves, Emma J., Bennett, Carys, Davies, Sarah, Kearsey, Tim, Millward, David, Smithson, Tim and Browne, Mike (2019) Reinterpreting the age of the uppermost ‘Old Red Sandstone’ and Early Carboniferous in Scotland. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 109. (doi:10.1017/s1755691018000968).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In Scotland the base of the Ballagan Formation has traditionally been placed at the first grey mudstone within a contiguous Late Devonian to Carboniferous succession. This convention places the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary within the Old Red Sandstone Kinnesswood Formation. The consequences of this placement are that the tetrapods from the Ballagan Formation were dated as late Tournaisian in age and that the ranges of typically Devonian fish found in the Kinnesswood Formation continue into the Carboniferous. The Pease Bay specimen of the fish Remigolepis is from the Kinnesswood Formation. Comparisons with its range in Greenland, calibrated against spores, shows it to be Famennian in age. Detailed palynological sampling at Burnmouth from the base of the Ballagan Formation proves that the early Tournaisian spore zones (VI and HD plus Cl 1) are present. The Schopfites species that occurs through most of the succession is S. delicatus rather than S. claviger. The latter species defines the late Tournaisian CM spore zone. The first spore assemblage that has been found in upper ‘ORS’ strata underlying the Ballagan Formation (Preston, Whiteadder Water), contains Retispora lepidophyta and is from the early latest Famennian LL spore zone. The spore samples are interbedded with volcaniclastic debris which shows that the Kelso Volcanic Formation is, in part, early latest Famennian in age. These findings demonstrate that the Ballagan Formation includes most of the Tournaisian with the Devonian-Carboniferous boundary positioned close to the top of the Kinnesswood Formation. The Stage 6 calcrete at Pease Bay can be correlated to the equivalent section at Carham showing that it represents a time gap equivalent to the latest Famennian glaciation(s). Importantly some of the recently described Ballagan Formation tetrapods are older than previously dated and now fill the key early part of Romer’s Gap.

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Marshall et al. age of ORS for repository upload - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 27 November 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 20 February 2019
Keywords: Devonian, Carboniferous, tetrapods, palynology, Ballagan

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428169
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428169
ISSN: 1755-6910
PURE UUID: 22b90159-15cf-44a0-b829-8c5df7904a95
ORCID for John Marshall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9242-3646

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Date deposited: 13 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 15 Oct 2019 04:02

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Contributors

Author: John Marshall ORCID iD
Author: Emma J. Reeves
Author: Carys Bennett
Author: Sarah Davies
Author: Tim Kearsey
Author: David Millward
Author: Tim Smithson
Author: Mike Browne

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