Geochemistry of 24 Ma basalts from NE Egypt: source components and fractionation history
Chira Endress, Tanya Furman, Mohamed Ali Abu El-Rus, Barry B. Hanan, 2011. "Geochemistry of 24 Ma basalts from NE Egypt: source components and fractionation history", 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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Subalkaline basalts from NE Egypt represent an episode of magmatism at c. 24 Ma, coincident with widespread eruptive activity in northern Africa. New geochemical data provide insight into the mineralogical and isotopic characteristics of the underlying mantle. The basalts show little geochemical variation, with incompatible trace element abundances similar to those of ocean island basalts. They display fairly smooth primitive mantle-normalized incompatible trace element patterns. Trace element abundances and Sr–Nd–Pb–Hf isotopic signatures are consistent with contributions from two distinct source regions, one similar to the Afar plume and the other located within the metasomatized spinel-facies subcontinental lithosphere. Mixing of melts from these two domains was followed by minor crustal contamination during prolonged ascent or emplacement. Integrating the geochemical data with available tomographic information allows us to develop a framework for understanding mid-Tertiary magmatic activity throughout northern Africa. A model for this widespread volcanism involves ascent of upwelling mantle derived from the margins of the South African Superplume rooted at the core–mantle boundary and/or through small-scale convection at the 660 km discontinuity. Ascent of magmas to the surface was facilitated by pre-existing structures within the lithosphere, including those associated with incipient rifting of the Red Sea.
Mineral chemistry data are available at http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/SUP18483.
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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.