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Killas is a Cornish mining term for metamorphic rock strata of sedimentary origin which were altered by heat from the intruded granites in Cornwall, England.

Origin of killas

The deposition of the killas strata is spread over the Devonian and Carboniferous geological periods. The sediments are not evenly spread over the county, with the Carboniferous beds being only found in the far north of Cornwall.

The depositional environments of the killas were very varied, as is revealed by the fossil content and the sedimentary sequences. The fossils indicate changes from anaerobic ocean basin environments to shallow sea environments. The well known Delabole Butterfly formation was found in the upper Devonian beds of North Cornwall.

  Shortly after the deposition of the sediments, the Variscan orogeny caused the intrusion of the Cornish granites and the subsequent contact metamorphism created the metamorphic rocks seen today. This also put intense pressure on the sediments causing them to be folded and faulted. This is most apparent in the cliffs at Millook Haven on the north Cornwall coast, where the cliffs display an impressive series of angular recumbent folds.

Economic uses of killas

Killas underlie two thirds of Cornwall and, as a result of hydrothermal mineralization from the granites, contain the majority of the mineral lodes or veins which at one time provided up to half of the world's tin and copper, and economic prosperity to Cornwall. Of lesser economic importance, the stone itself is an important building and roofing stone in Cornwall, the largest single source in the county being Delabole slate quarry, which has provided a high quality stone for at least six centuries.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Killas". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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