The Info List - Congo Craton

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The Congo Craton, covered by the Palaeozoic-to-recent Congo Basin, is an ancient Precambrian
craton that with four others (the Kaapvaal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and West African cratons) makes up the modern continent of Africa. These cratons were formed between about 3.6 and 2.0 billion years ago and have been tectonically stable since that time. All of these cratons are bounded by younger fold belts formed between 2.0 billion and 300 million years ago. The Congo Craton
occupies a large part of central southern Africa, extending from the Kasai region of the DRC into Sudan
and Angola. It forms parts of the countries of Gabon, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. A small portion extends into Zambia
as well, where it is called the Bangweulu Block.


1 Congo–São Francisco

1.1 West Congo Belt

2 See also 3 References

3.1 Notes 3.2 Sources

Congo–São Francisco[edit] The Congo Craton
and the São Francisco Craton
are stable Archaean blocks that formed a coherent landmass until the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean during the break-up of Gondwana
(c. 2000–130 Ma).[1] They stabilised during the Trans-Amazonian orogeny and Eburnian orogeny and have been affected by a long series of orogens since resulting in similar sequences on both blocks.[2] Congo–São Francisco experienced three large igneous province (LIP) events at 1380–1370 Ma, c. 1505 Ma, and c. 1110 Ma. The relative position of Congo–São Francisco within the supercontinent Nuna/Columbia can be reconstructed because these LIP events also affected other Precambrian
continental blocks. Within Nuna the northern part of Siberia was located adjacent to western São Francisco. 1110 Ma dyke swarms in Angola
are absent in Siberia but coincide with the Umkondo LIP on the Kalahari Craton
and magmatic event in the Bundelkhand Craton
in India, the Amazonian Craton
in South America, and the Keweenawan Rift
in Laurentia
(although the latter was located far from the other continental blocks).[3] A series of 1500 Ma dyke swarms also support the close relation between Congo–São Francisco and Siberia: Kuonamka in Siberia and Curaçá and Chapada Diamantina in São Francisco and Angola. These dyke swarms radiate from a mantle plume centre located in what is now north-eastern Siberia. Magmatic events in Congo (Kunene) and Siberia (Chieress) at 1384 Ma also corroborate the closeness of these two continents during at least 120 million years.[4] It is possible that the 1110 Ma LIP in Congo–São Francisco, Amazonia, and India was part of a much larger event that also involved West Africa
and Kalahari (with a possible but unlikely link to the 1075 Ma Warakurna LIP in Australia). However, while the palaeo-latitudes of India and Kalahari are well constrained, those of Amazonia and Congo–São Francisco are not, making any plate tectonic reconstruction speculative.[5] At the time for the formation of the supercontinent Gondwana
at c. 550 Ma the Congo Craton
formed the already amalgamated central African landmass. The southern and eastern margins (modern coordinates) of this landmass was made of the Archaean Angola-Kasai block and Tanzanian Craton. These proto-Congo blocks were deformed in the Palaeoproterozoic Eburnean orogeny but later stabilised.[6] West Congo Belt[edit] Before the opening of the South Atlantic the São Francisco and Congo cratons were connected by a "cratonic" bridge, the Bahia–Gabon Bridge. The most recent orogenic event on this bridge occurred at 2 Ga, so the connection between São Francisco and Congo must have formed during the Palaeoproterozoic. South of this cratonic bridge the Araçuaí–West Congo orogen evolved in the Neoproterozoic in a sea basin made of oceanic crust, an embayment in the São Francisco–Congo continent.[7] The West Congo Pan-African Belt includes major magmatic events at c. 1000 and 910 Ma. In the Early Neoproterozoic, the western edge of Congo Craton
was the location for the initial rifting of Rodinia before its break-up. During the Neoproterozoic, Central Congo or Bas-Congo
became a passive margin on which was deposited 4,000 m (13,000 ft) sediments. At the end of the Neoproterozoic, Bas-Congo
was only affected by the Pan-African orogeny
Pan-African orogeny
at 566 Ma to a limited extent protected by this passive margin and by the thickness of the craton. At 1000 Ma peralkaline magmatism initiated an early transtensional setting along the western edge of the Congo Craton. An LIP at c. 930–920 Ma was followed by felsic magmatism between c. 920–910 Ma which had a short emplacement interval and resulted in a 3,000–4,000 m (9,800–13,100 ft) thick sequence. Mafic-felsic magma sequences (6,000 m (20,000 ft) thick) on the western edge of the Congo Craton
are similar to those of the Paraná and Deccan LIPs, but in the Congo Craton
the magma source became shallower with time. There was no geodynamic activity along the western Congo margin during the Mesoproterozoic.[8] See also[edit]

Damara Orogeny

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ Ernst et al. 2013, Conclusions, p. 116 ^ Pedreira & De Waele 2008, p. 33–34 ^ Ernst et al. 2013, Abstract ^ Pisarevsky et al. 2014, Congo/ São Francisco and Siberia ^ de Kock et al. 2014, Other 1.1 Ga LIPs?, pp. 139–140 ^ De Waele, Johnson & Pisarevsky 2008, Introduction, pp. 127–128 ^ Babinski et al. 2012, Geotectonic setting, p. 452 ^ Tack et al. 2001, Introduction, pp. 301–302


Babinski, M.; Pedrosa-Soares, A. C.; Trindade, R. I. F. D.; Martins, M.; Noce, C. M.; Liu, D. (2012). "Neoproterozoic glacial deposits from the Araçuaí orogen, Brazil: Age, provenance and correlations with the São Francisco craton and West Congo belt" (PDF). Gondwana Research. 21 (2): 451–465. doi:10.1016/j.gr.2011.04.008. Retrieved 7 May 2017.  de Kock, M. O.; Ernst, R.; Söderlund, U.; Jourdan, F.; Hofmann, A.; Le Gall, B.; Bertrand, H.; Chisonga, B. C.; Beukes, N.; Rajesh, H. M.; Moseki, L. M.; Fuchs, R. (2014). "Dykes of the 1.11 Ga Umkondo LIP, Southern Africa: Clues to a complex plumbing system" (PDF). Precambrian
Research. 249: 129–143. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2014.05.006. Retrieved 6 May 2017.  De Waele, B.; Johnson, S. P.; Pisarevsky, S. A. (2008). " Palaeoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic growth and evolution of the eastern Congo Craton: its role in the Rodinia
puzzle" (PDF). Precambrian
Research. 160 (1): 127–141. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2007.04.020. Retrieved 6 May 2017.  Ernst, R. E.; Pereira, E.; Hamilton, M. A.; Pisarevsky, S. A.; Rodriques, J.; Tassinari, C. C.; Teixeira, W.; Van-Dunem, V. (2013). " Mesoproterozoic intraplate magmatic 'barcode'record of the Angola portion of the Congo Craton: Newly dated magmatic events at 1505 and 1110Ma and implications for Nuna (Columbia) supercontinent reconstructions" (PDF). Precambrian
Research. 230: 103–118. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2013.01.010. Retrieved 6 April 2017.  Pisarevsky, S. A.; Elming, S. Å.; Pesonen, L. J.; Li, Z. X. (2014). " Mesoproterozoic paleogeography: supercontinent and beyond" (PDF). Precambrian
Research. 244: 207–225. doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2013.05.014. Retrieved 6 May 2017.  Pedreira, A. J.; De Waele, B. (2008). "Contemporaneous evolution of the Palaeoproterozoic– Mesoproterozoic sedimentary basins of the São Francisco–Congo Craton" (PDF). Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 294 (1): 33–48. doi:10.1144/sp294.3. Retrieved 6 May 2017.  Tack, L.; Wingate, M. T. D.; Liégeois, J. P.; Fernandez-Alonso, M.; Deblond, A. (2001). "Early Neoproterozoic magmatism (1000–910 Ma) of the Zadinian and Mayumbian Groups (Bas-Congo): onset of Rodinia rifting at the western edge of the Congo craton" (PDF). Precambrian research. 110 (1): 277–306. doi:10.1016/S0301-9268(01)00192-9. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 

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Major African geological formations


African Plate Somali Plate Madagascar Plate Seychelles Plate

Cratons and shields

Arabian-Nubian Shield Congo Craton Kaapvaal Craton Kalahari Craton Saharan Metacraton Tanzania Craton Tuareg Shield West African Craton Zimbabwe Craton

Shear zones

Aswa Dislocation Broodkop Shear Zone Central African Shear Zone Chuan Shear Zones Foumban Shear Zone Kandi Fault Zone Mwembeshi Shear Zone Todi Shear Zone Western Meseta Shear Zone


Alpide Orogen Cape Fold Belt Damara Orogen East African Orogen Eburnean Orogen Gondwanide Orogen Kibaran Orogen Kuunga Orogen Mauritanide Belt Pan-African orogens Terra Australis
Terra Australis


Afar Triangle Anza trough Bahr el Arab rift Benue Trough Blue Nile rift East African Rift Gulf of Suez Rift Lamu Embayment Melut Basin Muglad Basin Red Sea Rift Sangha Aulacogen Atbara rift White Nile rift

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Basin Aoukar Blue Nile Basin Chad Basin Congo Basin Douala Basin El Djouf Foreland Karoo Basin Gabon
Basin Iullemmeden Basin Kufra Basin Murzuq Basin Niger Delta Basin Ogaden Basin Orange River basin Ouled Abdoun Basin Owambo Basin Reggane Basin Rio del Rey Basin Sirte Basin Somali Coastal Basin Taoudeni basin Tanzania Coastal Basin Tindouf Basin Turkana Basin

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v t e

Continents of the world







North America

South America







Former supercontinents Gondwana Laurasia Pangaea Pannotia Rodinia Columbia Kenorland Nena Sclavia Ur Vaalbara

Historical continents Amazonia Arctica Asiamerica Atlantica Avalonia Baltica Cimmeria Congo craton Euramerica Kalaharia Kazakhstania Laurentia North China Siberia South China East Antarctica India


Submerged continents Kerguelen Plateau Zealandia

Possible future supercontinents Pangaea
Ultima Amasia Novopangaea

Mythical and hypothesised continents Atlantis Kumari Kandam Lemuria Meropis Mu Hyperborea Terra Australis

See also Regions of the world Continental fragment