Bulletin Volcanologique

, 46:161 | Cite as

The geology and structural relationships of the southern Lebombo volcanic and intrusive rocks, South Africa

  • E. P. Saggerson
  • J. W. Bristow


A brief account is presented for the Lebombo volcanic succession which crops out in Natal, South Africa. The volcanic belt is of late Karoo age and is composed of a thick sequence of basaltic lavas (Sabie River Formation) overlain by an equally voluminous succession of acid-flows (Jozini Formation) erupted over a period of about 70 m.y. Field relationships indicate that the Lebombo basalt pile consists of simple and compound flow units. The rhyolite succession consists of thick (80–284 m) flows units characterised by features found in both ignimbrites and rhyolitic lavas respectively. It is postulated that they were extruded as high temperature, low volatile pyroclastic flows. The Bumbeni volcanic complex which crops out near the southern termination of the Lebombo mountains, disconformably overlies the Jozini Formation and is characterised by a suite of rocks that includes rhyolite lavas, air-fall and ash-flow tuffs, syenite intrusions and basic-intermediate lavas. Dolerite dykes are ubiquitous throughout the succession and an extremely dense concentration of basic intrusions located along the western margin of the belt gives rise to the Rooi Rand dyke swarm. Rare sill-forms are found associated with the mafic volcanies. Acid intrusives are represented by simple and composite quartz-porphyry intrusions and rhyolite dykes. The structure of the Lebombo is that of a faulted monocline, tilted to the east, developed prior to the fragmentation of eastern Gondwanaland. The volcanic belt is located at the tectonic contact between two major Precambrian elements, the 3,000 m.y. Kaapvaal craton to the west and the southerly extension of the 550 m.y. Mozambique belt to the east. It is bounded to the south by the 1,000 m.y. old Natal-Namaqua mobile belt.


Volcanic Rock Breccia Lava Flow Intrusive Rock Volcanic Belt 
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Copyright information

© Intern. Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. P. Saggerson
    • 1
  • J. W. Bristow
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of GeochemistryUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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