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The formation and evolution of Africa from the Archaean to Present: introduction

By
Douwe J. J. Van Hinsbergen
Douwe J. J. Van Hinsbergen
Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 24, NO-0316 Oslo, NorwayCenter for Advanced Study, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, 0271 Oslo, Norway
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Susanne J. H. Buiter
Susanne J. H. Buiter
Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 24, NO-0316 Oslo, NorwayCenter for Advanced Study, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, 0271 Oslo, NorwayCentre for Geodynamics, Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Leiv Eirikssons vei 39, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
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Trond H. Torsvik
Trond H. Torsvik
Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 24, NO-0316 Oslo, NorwayCenter for Advanced Study, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, 0271 Oslo, NorwayCentre for Geodynamics, Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Leiv Eirikssons vei 39, 7491 Trondheim, NorwaySchool of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, WITS 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa
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Carmen Gaina
Carmen Gaina
Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo, Sem Sælands vei 24, NO-0316 Oslo, NorwayCenter for Advanced Study, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Drammensveien 78, 0271 Oslo, NorwayCentre for Geodynamics, Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Leiv Eirikssons vei 39, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
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Susan J. Webb
Susan J. Webb
School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, WITS 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa
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Published:
January 01, 2011

Abstract

The African continent preserves a long geological record that covers almost 75% of Earth's history. The Pan-African orogeny (c. 600–500 Ma) brought together old continental kernels (or cratons such as West African, Congo, Kalahari and Tanzania) forming Gondwana and subsequently the supercontinent Pangea by the late Palaeozoic (Fig. 1).

The break-up of Pangea since the Jurassic and Cretaceous, primarily through the opening of the Central Atlantic (e.g. Torsvik et al. 2008; Labails et al. 2010), Indian (e.g. Gaina et al. 2007; Müller et al. 2008; Cande et al. 2010) and South Atlantic (e.g. Torsvik et al. 2009) oceans and the complicated subduction history to the north gradually shaped the African continent and its surrounding oceanic basins. Many first-order questions of African geology are still unanswered. How many accretion phases do the Proterozoic belts represent? What triggers extension and formation of the East African Rift on a continent that is largely surrounded by spreading centres and, therefore, expected to be mainly in compression? What is the role of shallow mantle and edge-driven convection (King & Ritsema 2000)? What are the sources of the volcanic centres of Northern Africa (e.g. Tibesti, Dafur and Afar) and can they be traced to the lower mantle? Is the elevation of Eastern and Southern Africa caused by mantle processes? What is the formation mechanism of intracratonic sedimentary basins, such as the Taoudeni Basin on the West African Craton and the Congo

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The Formation and Evolution of Africa: A Synopsis of 3.8 Ga of Earth History

D. J. J. Van Hinsbergen
D. J. J. Van Hinsbergen
University of Oslo, Norway
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S. J. H. Buiter
S. J. H. Buiter
Geological Survey of Norway
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T. H. Torsvik
T. H. Torsvik
University of Oslo
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C. Gaina
C. Gaina
Geological Survey of Norway
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S. J. Webb
S. J. Webb
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
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Geological Society of London
Volume
357
ISBN electronic:
9781862396050
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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