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Abstract

Deposition of Palaeo–Mesoproterozoic sedimentary rocks on the São Francisco–Congo craton started during Statherian taphrogenesis (1.8–1.75 Ga), as verified by ages of c. 1.7 Ga determined for volcanic rocks of the lower part of the Espinhaço Supergroup in the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia (Brazil). These basins contain volcanic rocks and conglomerates alternating with sandstones, argillites and dolomites, deposited in continental, transitional and marine environments. The rocks in the westernmost sector of the Congo Craton (Central Africa) compose the Chela Group, comprising sandstones, argillites and dolomites. In the easternmost region of the Congo Craton the Kibaran, Akanyaru, Kagera and Muva supergroups occur: the first three in the Kibaran Belt and the last in the Irumide Belt and on the Bangweulu Block. They consist predominantly of pelites and schists, sandstones and, in lesser proportion, conglomerates, deposited in shallow marine, fluvial and lacustrine environments. Their sedimentation ages are constrained through ages on felsic tuff layers as follows: Chela Group 1790±17 Ma, Kagera Supergroup 1780 ± 9 Ma, and Muva Supergroup 1879±13 Ma. These data show that broadly coeval and sedimentologically similar epi-continental sedimentary basins occurred on the São Francisco and Congo cratons, suggesting the possible existence of a long-lived wide epi-continental sea covering large areas of these cratons during Statherian times.

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