Tectonic evolution of the Central Steep Zone, Axum area, northern Ethiopia: inferences from magnetic and geochemical data
Helga De Wall, Carlo Dietl, Olga Jungmann, Ashenafi T. Tegene, Manoj K. Pandit, 2011. "Tectonic evolution of the Central Steep Zone, Axum area, northern Ethiopia: inferences from magnetic and geochemical data", The Formation and Evolution of Africa: A Synopsis of 3.8 Ga of Earth History, D. J. J. Van Hinsbergen, S. J. H. Buiter, T. H. Torsvik, C. Gaina, S. J. Webb
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Northern Ethiopia is marked by a fanning system of thrust planes with NW-dipping structures in the east and southeast-dipping in the west. The central zone of this large-scale (200 km long) structure is formed by a c. 10 km wide zone of localized strain and amphibolites facies metamorphic conditions (680 °C and 3.4 kbar) referred to as the Central Steep Zone (CSZ). The CSZ comprises a mafic rock assemblage of amphibolite, serpentinite showing ocean-floor characteristics and calc-silicate schist. A monzonite intrusion in the central part of the CSZ post-dates the deformation and is related to partial melting of the mafic rocks. Magnetic fabric measurements reveal NE-trending (043°) steep foliations in the CSZ with vertical orientation of lineation, parallel to the axes of micro-folds. This high-strain zone is interpreted as central zone of a positive flower structure on the basis of simultaneous flattening and shear movement, typical for transpressive kinematics. The CSZ has a northern continuation into the Nafka terrane of Eritrea where it can be traced over a distance of 200 km. This high-strain belt forms a major structure in the context of Arabian–Nubian Shield (ANS) collision tectonics during the closure of the Mozambique Ocean and assembly of Gondwana.
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The African continent preserves a long geological record that covers almost 75% of Earth’s history. The Pan-Africanorogeny (c.600–500—Ma) brought together old continental kernels (West Africa, Congo, Kalahari and Tanzania) to form Gondwana and subsequently the supercontinent Pangaea by the late Palaeozoic. The break-up of Pangaea since the Jurassic and Cretaceous, primarily through opening of the Central Atlantic, Indian, and South Atlantic oceans, in combination with the complicated subduction history to the north, gradually shaped the African continent.
This volume contains 18 contributions that discuss the geology of Africa from the Archaean to the present day. It celebrates African geology in two ways: first, it highlights multidisciplinary Earth science research by viewing the formation and evolution of Africa from 18 different angles; second, it celebrates the work of Kevin Burke and Lewis Ashwal and portrays the wide range of interests and research angles that have characterized these two scientists throughout their careers, working in Africa, and studying African geology.