Abstract

The ∼2.65 Ga old Shamvaian Group sedimentary rocks occur as a folded succession in the central part of the Bindura–Shamva greenstone belt of Zimbabwe. The strata comprise distinct, shear zone-bounded tectonostratigraphic units which may be stratigraphically arranged as follows. The lower part of the succession is represented by a transgressive, fining-upward sequence of alluvial fan conglomerate, overlain by fluvial braid-plain pebbly sandstone and marine shoreface sandstone. Detritus was derived from a mid-Archaean granitoid-gneiss terrain situated to the east. Sediment supply and subsidence rate must have been high. Shallow shelf sedimentation was followed by deep-water (sub-wave base) deposition by turbidity currents, giving rise to a thick succession of fine to coarse clastic material. The turbidite deposits were locally overlain by shallow-marine sandstone and fluvial to alluvial fan conglomerate. An upward increase in the abundance of intermediate and felsic volcanic clasts suggests an increase in the proximity of a volcanic terrain, such as a volcanic arc. Deposition was followed by layer-parallel shearing during thrust belt-style tectonism. Major shear zones developed preferentially along the contact between shallow- and deep-marine facies associations. Basin initiation may have been related to extensional tectonics, possibly on rifted continental crust, whereas later stages of basin history were characterized by compression, suggesting a foreland or fore-arc basin setting. Sedimentary facies, stratigraphy, and facies distribution are remarkably similar to some late Archaean sedimentary sequences of the Superior Province in Canada.

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