Bulletin of Volcanology

, 77:74 | Cite as

The Cenozoic volcanic province of Tibesti (Sahara of Chad): major units, chronology, and structural features

  • C. Deniel
  • P. M. Vincent
  • A. Beauvilain
  • A. Gourgaud
Research Article


Using both field relationships and some absolute ages, the sequence of volcanic units in the Cenozoic Tibesti Volcanic Province (TVP) (Chad) is established as follows: (1) plateau volcanism, between at least 17 and 8 Ma, consisting of flood basalts and silicic lava plugs, with intercalated ignimbritic sheets in the upper basalt succession increasing in amount upwards. Ages decrease from NE to SW, following the migration of the small NW-SE flexures concentrating the feeding dike swarms; (2) Late Miocene large central composite volcanoes exhibiting diverse and original structures. Some of them (Tarso Toon, Ehi Oyé, and Tarso Yéga) are located along a major NNE fault, representing the main tectonic direction in Tibesti since Precambrian times; (3) construction of three large ignimbritic volcanoes, associated with significant updoming of the basement, ending with the collapse of large calderas: Voon (about 5–7 Ma), Emi Koussi (2.4–1.33 Ma), and Yirrigué (0.43 Ma); (4) basaltic activity, starting at about 5–7 Ma, and essentially consisting of cinder cones and associated lava flows (Tarso Tôh, Tarso Ahon, and Tarso Emi Chi); and (5) final volcanic activity represented by post-Yirrigué caldera activity in the Tarso Toussidé Volcanic Complex, and especially Ehi Toussidé (the only active volcano in Tibesti), plus Ehi Timi and Ehi Mousgou volcanoes, similar to Ehi Toussidé. The two tectonic directions controlling some volcanic features of the province correspond to the major old lithospheric structures delimiting the volcanic province, namely, the great NW-SE Tassilian flexure to the SW and a major NE-NNE fault zone to the E. Unusual conditions of uplift and erosion in the TVP enable exceptional exposure of the internal structure of its volcanoes.


Tibesti Chad Cenozoic Volcanic units Chronology Tectonic control 



Field work in the 1990s was made possible mainly thanks to the Chadian Ministry of National Education and Research (CNAR), the Ministry of Mines and Energy (DRGM), the army and local authorities, plus the French Foreign Office (Mission de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle), the United Nations’ Programme for the Development (PNUD), and the French Air Force (Opération “Epervier”). CD is grateful to J. Maley for fruitful e-mail exchanges and some field photographs (Fig. 8a, b) and to K. Suchorski and P. Boivin for their teaching and advice about Illustrator and Photoshop softwares. We are grateful to C. Pin and P. Boivin for helpful discussions, comments, and suggestions, and to J.-P. Liégeois, R. McDonald, and Editor S. Self for their careful and insightful reviews which greatly improved this paper.



Summit, peak


Dry valley, occasionally with water, as “wadi”


High plateau


“Which killed the local people (the Tou) by fire”. (“Toubous” in French or “Tubu” in English is the name of the local population)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Deniel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. M. Vincent
    • 1
  • A. Beauvilain
    • 4
  • A. Gourgaud
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire Magmas et VolcansClermont Université, Université Blaise PascalClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.LMVCNRS, UMR 6524Clermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.LMVIRD, R 163Clermont-FerrandFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Géographie Comparée des Suds et des Nords (Gecko), UFR SSAUniversité Paris Ouest Nanterre La DéfenseNanterre cedexFrance

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