International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 103, Issue 2, pp 579–595 | Cite as

The provenance of northern Kalahari Basin sediments and growth history of the southern Congo Craton reconstructed by U–Pb ages of zircons from recent river sands

  • Andreas Gärtner
  • Ulf Linnemann
  • Mandy Hofmann
Original Paper


The southern Congo Craton is widely overlain by Meso- to Cenozoic sediments of the northern Kalahari Basin, which hamper any correlation of basement units. The latter are represented by the Archaean Angola and Kasai Blocks, while the southern cratonic margin is framed by several Meso- to Neoproterozoic orogenic belts. For provenance analysis of the sedimentary cover and reconstruction of the main zircon-forming events, we studied zircons from recent sediments of the largest rivers at the southern margin of the Congo Craton. U–Pb zircon ages suggest a major amount of the sediments to originate from E Lufilian and Kibaran Belts, while input from the S Damara Belt seems to increase to the W. Ages related to the Angola Block were only noticed in the westernmost parts of the working area, which is not in accordance with the SE-trending drainage pattern, proposed to have been onset during the Cretaceous. Thus, it is assumed that the Meso- to Cenozoic sedimentary cover extended further west than today prior to the Mesozoic to Neogene uplift of the Angola Block and that subsequent erosion exhumed the basement stepwise from west to east. A recurrent destabilisation of the southern margin of the Congo Craton at ~2.7, 1.9, 1.0 and 0.6 Ga is supposed to be represented by major peaks in the age distribution pattern of the total amount of concordant zircons. This is in accordance with similar studies in adjacent areas. Additionally, the obtained data fit well to several hypothesised major events during the supercontinent cycle.


Southern Congo Craton Episodic crustal growth and reworking Pan-African orogeny Northern Kalahari Basin U–Pb zircon dating 



J-P Liégeois and A Wanke are thanked for their constructive and critical reviews in order to improve the manuscript. The authors are very grateful to C Quesada for his help and patience during the entire publishing process.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Gärtner
    • 1
  • Ulf Linnemann
    • 1
  • Mandy Hofmann
    • 1
  1. 1.GeoPlasma Lab, Sektion Geochronologie, Museum für Mineralogie und GeologieSenckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen DresdenDresdenGermany

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