Late Jurassic-Cretaceous fluvial evolution of central Africa: insights from the Kasai-Congo Basin, Democratic Republic Congo

Owusu Agyemang, Prince C., Roberts, Eric M., and Jelsma, Hielke A. (2016) Late Jurassic-Cretaceous fluvial evolution of central Africa: insights from the Kasai-Congo Basin, Democratic Republic Congo. Cretaceous Research, 67. pp. 25-43.

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Abstract

The Congo Basin in central Africa is one of the largest intracratonic sedimentary basins in the world. The geological knowledge of Congo Basin is mainly based on studies from the central part of the basin ("Cuvette Centrale"). We present the results of sedimentary provenance investigations of the Jurassic-Cretaceous strata from the southwestern part of the basin, called the Kasai region. This study combines sandstone petrography with U-Pb and Lu-Hf analyses of detrital zircons to assess the stratigraphy, sedimentary provenance and drainage history of the Upper Jurassic-Cretaceous strata in the Kasai region. The stratigraphy is subdivided into a single Upper Jurassic unit (J1) and four Cretaceous units (C1-C4). Petrographically, sandstones from all units except the conglomeratic C3 are texturally and compositionally mature, dominated by quartzarenite and subarkosic compositions. These characteristics can be attributed to considerable recycling of older sedimentary strata and crustal sources, along with long distance fluvial and aeolian processes. The analyses of fifteen detrital zircon samples from the Upper Jurassic Cretaceous strata yielded mainly Archean and Proterozoic zircons. This result suggests that sandstones are likely sourced from the underlying Archean-Paleoproterozoic Congo Kasai Craton and from nearby Proterozoic mobile belts, particularly the Irumide and Lufilian Belts to the south of the basin. The dominance of Archean and Proterozoic detrital zircons in Upper Jurassic Cretaceous strata suggests that the Kasai portion of the Congo Basin experienced exhumation and erosion, which is possibly associated with far-field reactivation of Archean and Proterozoic structures during and following Gondwana rifting in the late Mesozoic. A large fluvial drainage network sourced from the south of the basin, is interpreted to have developed across central Africa during the Late Jurassic Cretaceous. This fluvial system is believed to have flowed northward across the Congo Basin and ultimately drained into a wrench fault system called the Central African Shear Zone, which extends in an ENE direction from the Gulf of Guinea through Cameroon into Sudan and Kenya.

Item ID: 45940
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-998X
Keywords: Cretaceous, Kasai-Congo, detrital zircon, provenance, palaeodrainage, Lu-Hf
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 07:54
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840103 Diamond Exploration @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 75%
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