Abstract

A belt of folded early and middle Paleozoic rocks extends along the Atlantic coast of Africa from Morocco at least as far south as Senegal. East of the belt is a flat-lying section of chiefly clastic rocks which overlaps the Precambrian African Shield. The belt comprises a bordering folded zone and an inner zone exhibiting strong deformation, dynamic metamorphism, and possible igneous intrusions. There is evidence of an erosional hiatus associated with the Caledonian, but the main fold movements were post-Devonian (Hercynian). After uplift and erosion, portions of this orogenic belt were obscured by the deposition of Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments along the downwarped coastal zone. The author proposes the name Mauritanides for the Paleozoic orogenic belt of West Africa. This feature should be considered in future speculations regarding continental drift and the permanence of continents.

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