Abstract

The dolerite sill and ring-like structures of the Karoo Basin have been a matter of debate for a considerable period of time. However, the mechanism for their emplacement still remains an enigma. A review of the available literature shows that very little structural work has been carried out on these intrusions, which outcrop over two thirds of South Africa. A large quantity of geological information, maps, and field data have become available over the last 15 years. A comparative morphotectonic analysis of three sill-ring systems of the western Karoo, that is, Williston, Fraserburg, and Victoria West complexes, indicates that their shape is saucer-like with an inner sill at the bottom, an arcuate inclined sheet (the ring) on the periphery, and an outer sill on the rim. Many arcuate dykes are seen branching onto the ring structures. A mode of emplacement is proposed whereby dolerite dykes feed into the inclined sheets, which then propagate into an outer sill and thereafter into an inner sill.

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