Abstract

We report a U-Pb zircon age of 1105 ± 2 Ma for the extensive Umkondo dolerites in eastern Zimbabwe, which are part of a large igneous province that can be traced over much of southern Africa and originally contiguous parts of East Antarctica. Other members of the province include widespread tholeiitic intrusions in Botswana and South Africa, bimodal volcanic rocks in Botswana and Namibia, and dolerites and flood basalts in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Available data indicate that substantial parts of the province were emplaced in a restricted interval at ca. 1.1 Ga and originated from a large-scale mantle thermal anomaly inboard of a coeval continental-margin orogen. Striking similarities in age and tectonic setting between the Umkondo igneous province and widespread 1.1 Ga within-plate magmatism in Laurentia are consistent with reconstructions of the early Neoproterozoic Rodinia supercontinent that place southern Africa and Dronning Maud Land off the southern tip of Laurentia.

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