Abstract

Paleogeographic reconstructions of Paleozoic time are presented for the northwest margin of the West-African Craton. An extensional regime and a marine transgression were dominant during the Early Cambrian. During the Middle Cambrian, the Rokélides orogen was responsible for the sea regression to the south, while the proto-Atlantic opening was active to the north of the Reguibat shield. A large stable marine platform was present during Early and Middle Ordovician. A general regression and the formation of the West-African Inlandsis took place during the Late Ordovician. During Silurian time, this sea transgressed over most of the African platform. Incipient Hercynian deformations during the Early Devonian produced horsts and grabens in Morocco. At the end of the Devonian and the beginning of the Carboniferous, the sea was restricted to isolated basins and tectonic trenches. Collision between West Africa and North America during the Late Carboniferous transformed the Lower Paleozoic margin into an Hercynian orogenic belt, whose structure is controlled by the presence of crustal blocks, generated as early as the Cambrian, and probably reflecting, in turn, older Panafrican zones of weakness. [Translated by the Journal]

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