Abstract

Detrital zircons in late Cretaceous – Palaeogene, calcareous sandstone and conglomerate deposited in continental basins on the southeastern African margin after the breakup of Gondwana have characteristic combinations of age and epsilon-Hf that indicate an origin by recycling of Palaeoproterozoic (Waterberg, Soutpansberg and Pretoria groups) and Phanerozoic (Karoo Supergroup) cover successions. The latter is dominant in the south and east (Boane, Mahosi, Chilojo Cliffs), and the Palaeoproterozoic sources in the northwest (Pafuri, Wright’s Tower, Masisi). This recycling and mixing regime was restricted to late Mesozoic and Palaeogene time in northeastern South Africa and adjoining parts of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Detrital zircon distribution patterns in these deposits reflect the denudation history of the southern African continental surface after breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent.

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