|Two small pits in a field immediately south of the Carrstown burn, some 3km south of the village of Portaferry and 4km north of the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula (Figs 1 and 2), have long been known to yield excellent graptolite specimens. Examples collected and described by Swanston and Lapworth in the nineteenth century were figured in the classic monograph on “British Graptolites” by Elles and Wood (1918). Limited outcrop makes it difficult to determine the general stratigraphic setting of the graptolitic shales and until recently it has been concluded or assumed that the shales occurred as a band within the greywacke succession. Drainage work in the Carrstown burn itself in the early 1980’s exposed more graptolitic shale and allowed graptolite faunas to be collected from some 25 localities. The graptolites range in age from the anceps to crispus Biozones and, with careful mapping of all available outcrop, demonstrate an apparently continuous pelagic succession of Moffat Shale lithologies ranging from Ashgillian to late Llandovery (Telychian Stage). This succession of fine-grained pelagic sediments occurs immediately beneath, not within, greywacke turbidites of Gala type. The presence of a Moffat Shale succession so far south-east in the Southern Uplands - Down - Longford Terrane and apparently ranging to a slightly younger age than any yet described has important implications for tectonostratigraphic models of the whole terrane.|
|Tieveshilly lies within the Central Belt of the Southern Uplands - Down - Longford Terrane, some 33km SSE of the Orlock Bridge Fault (Fig. 1C), which marks the Northern Belt/Central Belt boundary. Graptolites have been collected from Tieveshilly for at least 150 years. The historical locality consists of two small slate pits in a field immediately south of the Carrstown Burn, some 3km south of the village of Portaferry and 4km north of the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula (Figs 1 and 2). Flaggy grey-black shale from these pits yielded excellent Monograptus specimens to Swanston and Lapworth in the nineteenth century, some of which were figured by Elles and Wood (1901-1918) in their classic monograph. Despite these facts there is no detailed published account of the stratigraphy and structure of the graptolite bearing shales. Indeed the Geological Survey Memoir for the area (Traill and Egan 1871) lists just three species from Tieveshilly and incorrectly (p. 23) places the locality “a little north of the Carrstown Burn”. The three graptolite species were identified and described by W. H. Baily (in Traill and Egan 1871, pp. 22 and 23).|
|Limited outcrop makes it difficult to determine the general stratigraphic setting of the graptolitic shales and until recently it has been concluded or assumed that they occur as a band within the greywacke succession. Drainage work in the Carrstown Burn itself in the early 1980’s exposed more graptolitic shale and has allowed graptolite faunas to be collected from some 25 localities. The faunas range in age from the anceps to crispus biozones and new careful mapping of all available outcrop demonstrates an apparently continuous pelagic succession of Moffat Shale lithologies ranging from the Ashgill to late Llandovery (Telychian Stage). This succession of fine-grained pelagic sediments occurs immediately beneath, not within, greywacke turbidites of Gala type.|
|Swanston (1877) collected graptolites from six localities in the Lower Palaeozoic rocks of County Down. The collections were sent to Lapworth who recorded and described some 14 species from the Tieveshilly locality (Lapworth 1877). The list is given below with appropriate modern names in brackets. An asterisk indicates that there must remain serious doubt as to the identification.|
|Monograptus spiralis (M. spiralis)|
|M. spiralis var. proteus (Torquigraptus proteus)|
|M. turriculatus (M. turriculatus)|
|M. crispus (M. crispus)|
|M. exiguus (M. exiguus)|
|M. Barrandei (M. barrandei)|
|M. lobiferus var. pandus (M. pandus)|
|M. priodon * (M. priodon)|
|M. Riccartonensis * (M. riccartonensis)|
|M. Galaensis (M. galaensis)|
|M. McCoyi (M. mccoyi)|
|M. Hisingeri * (M. hisingeri)|
|M. Hisingeri var. jaculum (Pristiograptus jaculum)|
|M. cyphus (Coronograptus cyphus)|
|On the basis of Lapworth’s identifications Swanston (1877, p.120) recognised that the Tieveshilly fauna indicated “a much higher horizon” than any exposed at Coalpit Bay, where the most complete and best known succession of Moffat Shales in Ireland ranges up to “possibly the base of the sedgwickii” Zone (Griffith and Wilson 1982, p.18), and on that basis suggested that the graptolitic shales at Tieveshilly might be “exact equivalents of the Hawick rocks of Scotland”. His brief description and discussion make it clear that Swanston believed the shales to be a thin band within the greywacke succession.|
|Clark (1902, p.497) recorded the discovery of Rastrites maximus at Tieveshilly but without giving detail of the exact locality. Some of Clark’s collecting for the Geological Survey of Ireland was carried out in the company of James Shanks, a local farmer with many scientific interests, who had already had considerable success in finding graptolites, not only at the slate pits but from the rock in the bottom and sides of the Carrstown Burn and from thin seams of black shale within the greywackes cropping out on the coast some 3km along strike to the ENE. Shanks sent many of his specimens to Lapworth, who apparently returned them with identifications, ages and comment. Shanks’ work and opinions, together with Lapworth’s identifications, are recorded in considerable detail by James Rutherford (1913), in his biography of Shanks. Shanks’ collection of Tieveshilly fossils, as identified by Lapworth, included the following additions to the 1877 Swanston/Lapworth list:|
|Monograptus triangulatus (M. triangulatus)|
|Sedgwicki (Stimulograptus sedgwickii)|
|M. argutus (Pribylograptus argutus)|
|M. Sandersoni (Pribylograptus sandersoni)|
|M. tenuis (Lagarograptus tenuis)|
|M. crenularis (Monoclimaus crenularis)|
|Rastrites maximus (R. maximus)|
|Retiolites perlatus (Retiolites perlatus)|
|It is clear from Rutherford’s careful descriptions of Shanks’ work and the account of some collecting of his own that the specimens of Rastrites maximus were taken from the Carrstown Burn itself, rather than the nearby slate pits. Similarly, other specimens on Shanks’ “Tieveshilly” list may well have been taken from outcrops in the vicinity of the slate pits rather than the pits themselves. Some remnants of Shanks’ once extensive graptolite collection remain in the Ulster Museum, the National Museum of Ireland and the Geology Department at Queen’s University, Belfast.|
|The Elles and Wood (1918) Monograph of British Graptolites illustrates specimens of nine different monograptid species from the collections made by Swanston and Lapworth, including the type specimen of M. mccoyi. The provenance of these specimens is variously recorded as Portaferry, Tieveshilly or Carrstown but it is probable that all came from the two small slate pits.|
|Anderson (1962), in a PhD study of the Lower Palaeozoic rocks of the Ards Peninsula, again collected at Tieveshilly. He recognised that the band of fossiliferous shale exposed in the two pits cropped out twice more in the fields to the east and that at all three outcrops was clearly and conformably overlain by the Tara Sandstones, a formation of coarse sandy greywackes with a thickness of 150m. The Tara Sandstones Formation is folded into a large anticline that continues eastward to the coast at Millin Bay. At Tieveshilly the trace of the Millin Bay Anticline coincides almost exactly with the course of the Carrstown Burn. The outcrops around the shale pits were very overgrown in 1962 and Anderson, like Swanston, incorrectly believed that the fossiliferous shale band, exposed in both pits, occurred within the greywacke succession rather than beneath it. That incorrect interpretation is reported in “A revised correlation of Silurian rocks in the British Isles” in a reference to “the old locality at Tieveshilly” (Cocks et al. 1992, p.24).|
|Loydell (1990) re-examined and re-identified some of the specimens from Tieveshilly originally described by Baily (in Traill and Egan 1871, pp. 22 and 23) and retained in the collection of the Ulster Museum. He recognised six species:|
|M. planus |
|an indeterminate small diplograptid.|
|The fauna was assigned to the middle part of the Monograptus turriculatus Biozone of the Telychian (Upper Llandovery). Loydell also redescribed one of Baily’s new species, Graptolithus plumosus, and suggested that it is the valid type species of the genus Streptograptus. In effect Tieveshilly thus becomes the type locality for the species and the genus. (I am grateful to Dr. Peter Crowther for drawing my attention to Loydell’s work.)|
|Drainage work by the Department of Agriculture in 1980 opened up the Carrstown Burn and left considerable quantities of freshly excavated black shale on its banks. From this float A.W.A. Rushton obtained several graptolites, one of which he believed to be an Ordovician form. The find and the obvious availability of much new outcrop in the bed of the stream prompted remapping and collecting leading to the results described for the first time in this report and concurrently in the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences (Anderson & Rickards 2000).|
|The original two small pits immediately south of the Carrstown Burn at J61234808 and J61254808 (Figs. 2 and 3) expose almost 5 metres of grey-black flaggy mudstones which were apparently worked for roofing slate over 150 years ago. While the pits are now commonly flooded and full of farm waste, the western pit usually provides some accessible outcrop. The excavated area is some 10m along strike by 7m across and the pit is about 3m deep. The southern face of the pit is formed by the base of a medium-to-coarse grained, quartz-rich greywacke bed bearing weak sole markings. The bed strikes at 078o and dips between 78o and 86o to the north but youngs southward. Immediately north of the greywacke base and therefore stratigraphically beneath, the eastern face of the western pit usually offers the best opportunities to examine the black mudstone succession and to obtain graptolites. A 5m thickness of grey black mudstones, well bedded and parting readily into slabs about 10mm thick, yields very well preserved Monograptids. Three collections have been made: A72 from the strata between 0.3 and 0.9m below the greywacke base, A71 from between 2.6 and 2.7m below the greywacke base and A73 from between 4.6 and 4.9m below the greywacke base. All three faunas are of the M. crispus Zone. A collection (A28) made some 40 years ago, mainly from outcrop of all the mudstone in the two pits but including specimens from surrounding outcrop and float at Tieveshilly, is also largely of graptolites of crispus Biozone age.|
|Five metres stratigraphically below the base of the greywacke outcrop fails for about a metre. On the north face of the pit grey silty mudstones of a much lighter hue are oriented at 063/57N. These grey mudstones lack the pyrite content and the sulphurous weathering of the beds above and appear to be unfossiliferous.|
|The greywacke sandstones above the black mudstones of the pits are exposed on the gentle slopes of the small east-west valley followed by the Carrstown Burn, younging southward on the southern side of the valley and northward on the northern side. This Tara Sandstone Formation is of a lithology typical of the Gala greywackes cropping out in SW Scotland and further north in the Ards Peninsula. The formation is about 150m thick and consists of 0.5 to 4m thick beds of coarse sandy greywacke alternating with 20mm to 0.2m partings of grey shale. The greywacke bases show weakly developed load- and flute-casts. In thin section the sandstones have a high percentage of quartz clasts.|
|Intermittent outcrop northward along the lane from Carrstown Bridge (J61654840, Figs. 2 and 4) shows the sandstones passing stratigraphically upward into the Kearney Siltstones Formation. This consists of light grey, carbonate-rich, siltstones with a few red mudstone bands near the base.|
|The Tara Sandstone Formation outcrop on the southern side of the valley is truncated by a major tract-bounding fault separating the youngest beds of the formation from the rocks of the Ballyquintin Block to the south. The Ballyquintin Block is composed entirely of a fairly homogeneous 600m thick succession of alternating greywacke siltstones and shales. The siltstones are fine grained and carbonate-rich, and commonly contain numerous carbonate concretions which appear as oval depressions on the weathered surface of most outcrops. The siltstone beds are typically 0.1 to 0.4 m thick and separated by grey shales of a similar or lesser thickness. The lithology is thus similar to the Kearney Siltstones Formation and also typical of the Hawick Group in SW Scotland.|
|At Millin Bay, 2km ENE along strike, (Fig. 1) the Tara Sandstone Formation is again well exposed in coastal outcrop on both limbs of the anticline. Shanks (Rutherford 1913, p.14) obtained graptolites from thin seams of black shale within the Tara Sandstones on the southern limb of the fold. These suggest a crispus Biozone or griestoniensis Biozone age. A new collection (A27) from the same locality (J65134901) is indicative of the griestoniensis Biozone. The shales beneath the Tara Sandstones are not exposed on the coast but there is excellent outcrop of the upward passage from the sandstones into a thick formation of siltstones of Hawick type, again with beds of red mudstone occurring at the base of the siltstone formation.|
|The upward stratigraphic succession from the black mudstone member at Tieveshilly, into greywackes of Gala Group lithology (Tara Sandstone Formation) in turn succeeded by a large thickness of Hawick- type siltstones (Kearney Siltstone Formation), is thus reasonably clear. The downward succession is much less well exposed and apparently fragmented by strike-parallel faults.|
|Immediately north of the two shale pits is a 3m high gorse-covered mound some 30m in diameter. Digging in this mound immediately north of the western pit yields exposure of grey silty mudstone. Rare films of black mudstone occur on some bedding planes but no fossils have yet been discovered. 20 metres north of the western pit the grey silty mudstone appears to rest on green-grey mudstone and slate with a well developed tectonic cleavage. The green-grey mudstones extend northward to the Carrstown Burn and are intermittently exposed for some 50 metres along the banks and bed of the stream.|
|The same succession can be recognised with difficulty from similarly poor outcrop in the field immediately south of the Carrstown Bridge (J61654840, Fig. 4) but here the grey and green-grey members appear thinner and are obviously sheared and broken by numerous minor faults parallel or sub-parallel to bedding.|
|At the bridge itself the stream has been deepened into a trench for drainage purposes. When water levels are low and the vegetation cut back rock can be obtained from the banks and floor of this trench (Figs. 5 and 6), though actual visible outcrop is very limited and structural relations never clear. At the bridge, and for some 20 metres upstream (Fig. 6), the rock from the southern bank is unfossiliferous grey mudstone with minor tectonic folds. Some 4 metres upstream of the bridge grey-black graptolitic shale can be extracted from the northern bank. Stream-bed outcrops of graptolitic shale are then available for some 30 metres upstream in the main Carrstown Burn until outcrop fails completely. A northern tributary joins the Burn about 15 metres upstream of the bridge and again grey black shales in the banks and bed yield abundant graptolites. Ten graptolite collections have been made from these outcrops. The faunas range from acuminatus to turriculatus biozones. The numbers and positions of the localities are plotted on Figure 6 and the faunas given in Appendix 2. Comparison of the locations of the collections relative to their ages makes it clear that faulting must complicate the grey-black shale succession. However a single black shale member with a stratigraphic thickness of at least 12m spanning the first ten Silurian graptolite biozones is capable of accounting for all of the outcrop. The unfossiliferous grey mudstone member cropping out beneath the bridge is lithologically very similar to Upper Ordovician Barren Mudstones as exposed at the classic Moffat localities and at Coalpit Bay. At the bridge the contact between the black shale and grey mudstone members is very poorly exposed and probably faulted but a further group of stream-bed outcrops about 100 metres downstream from the bridge expose the same two units in straightforward stratigraphic succession (Fig. 5). Here the oldest black shales, of the persculptus and acuminatus biozones, appear to rest directly on the grey mudstones, relatively undisturbed bedding in both members dipping steeply north and younging south.|
|An isolated outcrop of grey black shale in the bed of the stream 17m downstream from the bridge has also yielded an Ordovician graptolite fauna, of probable anceps Biozone age, including the oldest graptolites yet obtained in the southern part of the Ards Peninsula. The stratigraphic relationship of the shales in this outcrop to the other identified units is not exposed but it seems entirely reasonable to infer, from the proximity to the next oldest shales, of persculptus age, and the location of the outcrop on the hinge of the faulted anticline, that the shales are the oldest currently exposed member of what was once a continuous Moffat Shale succession spanning from the Upper Ordovician through to the crispus Biozone of the Upper Llandovery. A succession which is at least compatible with the maps and the outcrop evidence is given in Figure 7. The quality of the outcrop combines with tectonic disruption to make some thicknesses uncertain and there are necessarily breaks where outcrop is lacking or faulting intervenes. Thicknesses given are the minima compatible with the mapped outcrop.|
|Further details on the graptolite biostratigraphy are contained in Anderson and Rickards (2000)|
|National geology: In the Northern Belt and in the northern tracts of the Central Belt of the Southern Uplands - Down - Longford Terrane greywacke (turbidite) successions are seen to rest on a sequence of fine grained, deep water sediments. These pelagic sediments, the "Moffat Shales", provided Lapworth with the graptolite material for his classic zonation and interpretation of the Upper Ordovician and Lower Silurian rocks. The Moffat Shales are now interpreted as the pelagic sediments either in the closing Iapetus Ocean ( McKerrow, Leggett and Eales, 1977) or in a back-are basin on its northern margin (Stone et al., 1987), beyond the limits of greywacke sedimentation. The Moffat Shales extend no higher than the turriculatus Zone before being succeeded by turbidites. The Moffat Shale outcrops show much repetition by thrusting and typically occur along the southern faulted margins of the tracts to which they belong.|
|Further south, in the southern parts of the Central Belt and in the Southern Belt, greywacke and siltstone formations of younger age compose the complete stratigraphic successions and the Moffat shales are absent. The absence of the Shales is readily explained by assuming that the décollement, at the base of all stratigraphic successions in the terrane, climbs southward out of the shales into the overlying greywackes. The latter have effectively been detached from the Moffat Shale basement on which they once rested.|
|In this context the presence of a Moffat Shale succession so far south and extending up to crispus Zone age is of considerable importance to the interpretation of stratigraphy in the Southern Uplands - Down - Longford Terrane. The occurrence of a continuous upward succession through Gala to Hawick Group appears to be unique (Barnes, Anderson and McCurry, 1987).|
|International geology: The Southern Uplands - Down - Longford Terrane now figures in many internationally used textbooks as a model accretionary prism produced by the offscraping of oceanic sediments from a subducting slab of Ordovician oceanic crust (Mitchell and McKerrow 1975, McKerrow, Leggett and Eales 1977, McKerrow 1987). The unresolved ‘Southern Uplands Controversy’, between proponents of this model and those favouring the interpretation of the same rocks as a rotated thrust stack of sediments and lavas accumulated in a back arc basin (Stone et al., 1987), is also widely quoted in the international literature of geotectonics. The evidence from Tieveshilly places new restraints on these and other tectono-stratigraphic models (Anderson & Rickards 2000). The presence of a black shale succession extending up to crispus Zone implies that the basin of sedimentation, whether back arc or fore arc, was open and, at least at this locality, beyond the reach of turbidite sedimentation.|
|This has obvious significance for the timing of the closure of the Iapetus Ocean and Caledonian Orogenic collision. The continuity of the succession from Upper Ordovician to within two zones of the top of the Llandovery also appears to challenge the viability of the successor-basin model of Murphy and Hutton (1987).|
|The extensive and commonly beautifully preserved graptolite faunas at Tieveshilly are clearly important in their own right. In particular Loydell’s (1990) designation of a specimen from Tieveshilly as the neotype for the species Streptograptus plumosus (Baily, 1871) in effect makes this the type locality for the genus Streptograptus.|
|The outcrop at Tieveshilly and in the Carrstown Burn exposes a succession of fine-grained pelagic sediments, comparable with the Moffat Shale succession at Coalpit Bay and in the classic outcrops around Moffat itself. The oldest shales now exposed are of Upper Ordovician, probably anceps Zone, and pelagic sedimentation continued through most of the Llandovery to crispus Zone times, at least a zone later than in the outcrops referred to above. The shales were succeeded by coarse greywackes of Gala Group lithology and probable griestoniensis Zone age and these in turn are succeeded by sediments of Hawick Group lithologies.|
TO BE SOURCED AND ENTERED Captions for two appendices and seven figures:
|Appendix 1: Detail and 8-figure grid references for the 25 localities from which 79 graptolite taxa were collected.|
|Appendix 2: Species lists and age for the 25 localities.|
|Figure 1. Location of the Portaferry Block and the Tieveshilly graptolite locality|
|Figure 2. Geological map of the Carrstown Burn and Tieveshilly outcrop. The legend also applies to Figs. 3 and 4.|
|Figure 3. Enlarged geological map of the immediate area of the Tieveshilly slate pits.|
|Figure 4. Enlarged geological map of the immediate area of Carrstown Bridge.|
|Figure 5. Graptolite localities in the Carrstown Burn at J61564832, about 100m downstream from Carrstown Bridge.|
|Figure 6. Graptolite localities at Carrstown Bridge.|
|Figure 7. Summary of the stratigraphy of the Tieveshilly - Millin Bay area (Portaferry Block).|
|Two spreadsheets are appended:|
|Appendix 1 gives detail and 8-figure grid references for the 25 localities from which graptolites, of 70 species, were collected. Note that locality A27 on the SE edge of Millin Bay is beyond the limits of the site described.|
|Appendix 2 lists the species and age for each fauna as identified and determined by R.B. Rickards.|
|The full range of ESCR site relating to the Lower Palaeozoic are as follows:|
|Stratigraphic, Palaeontological and Structural sites|
|Coalpit Bay – Lower Palaeozoic (record no. 1350)|
|Helen’s Bay – Grey Point – Lower Palaeozoic (record no. 1351)|
|Kearney Point – Knockinelder Bay – Lower Palaeozoic (record no. 1352)|
|Orlock Bridge – Lower Palaeozoic (record no. 1353)|
|Tieveshilly – Carrstown – Lower Palaeozoic (record no. 1354)|
|Orlock Bridge - Structural (record no. 652)|
|Whiskin Rocks - Structural (record no. 653)|
|White House Port, Cloghy - Structural (record no. 654)|
|Knockinelder Bay and Kearney Point - Structural (record no. 655)|
|Millin Bay - Structural (record no. 656)|
|Craigbardahessiagh and Bardahessiagh River – Palaeontology (record no. 29)|
|Lime Hill Farm – Palaeontology (record no. 33)|
|Little River and Slate Quarry Bridge – Palaeontology (record no. 31)|
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Anderson, T.B. & Rickards, R.B. 2000. The stratigraphy and graptolitre faunas of the Moffat Shales at Tieveshilly, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and their implications for the modelling of the Southern Uplands-Down-Longford Terrane. Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, 18, 69-88.
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