Equatorial paleolatitude for Northeast Africa in the Late Triassic: paleomagnetic study on the Gezira and Bir-Umhebal [229–223 Ma] ring complexes, Southeastern Desert, Egypt

  • Hamza LotfyEmail author
  • Esmat Abd Elaal
Original Paper


Two Late Triassic alkaline ring complexes in the Southeastern Desert of Egypt: the Gezira [229 ± 5 Ma, K/Ar biotite] and Bir-Umhebal [223 ± 9 Ma, Rb/Sr], were paleomagnetically studied to determine the paleo-latitude position of Northeast Africa during the Late Triassic just before the Jurassic dispersion of Pangaea. The initial isothermal remanent magnetization [IRM] study was followed by the progressive thermal demagnetization of all samples to verify the characteristic natural remanent magnetic directions of both complexes. The analysis revealed that: (i) the magnetite-dominated sites generally, had dual-polarity, bi-vectorial with shallow sub-equatorial N–S to NNW–SSE anchored remanent magnetic component, while (ii) the hematite/goethite sites were characterized by normal polarity, bi-vectorial decay with a northward anchored component fluctuating around zero inclination.

Based on their thermal demagnetization behavior, only the magnetite-dominated sites were considered as representing the average Late Triassic paleomagnetic field in the study areas during cooling of the studied complexes. The mean paleomagnetic north poles of the isolated characteristic component using the principal component analysis [PCA] for each complex were: (i) the north poles of Gezira Complex [22.3°N/33.6°E] was at (54.6°N/226.2°E, Dp/Dm= 5°/9°); (ii) the north poles of Bir-Umhebal Complex [23.75°N/28 33.3°E] was at (56.4°N/236°E, Dp/Dm= 3°/6°), and (iii) the mean north pole of both complexes [23°N/33.5°E] was at (56°N/231°E, Dp/Dm = 3°/6°).

The obtained Late Triassic [Late Carnian-Early Norian] paleomagnetic poles for the two ring complexes of Egypt show reasonable consistency with their synchronous African poles as well as poles rotated from the main tectonic units to the Northeast Africa using appropriate Euler pole parameters. These poles reveal that in the Late Triassic:The obtained Late Triassic [Late Carnian-Early Norian] paleomagnetic poles for the two ring complexes of Egypt show reasonable consistency with their synchronous African poles as well as poles rotated fromthe main tectonic units to the Northeast Africa using appropriate Euler pole parameters. These poles reveal that in the Late Triassic: (i) the northern part of Africa was in Equatorial paleo-latitudes with Northeast Africa lying just south the Equator. Cairo [Now at 30°N] was at −4.4° to −1° paleo-latitude; (ii) the Azimuth of the African Plate was between N and 37 NNE about 9° to14° clockwise to its present-day azimuth.


Paleo-latitude Paleomagnetism Paleo-tectonic position of Africa Egypt Triassic Ring complex 



This research would not have been possible without the kind support and help of Prof. Dr. Hatem H. Odah, President of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics [NRIAG]. The authors are deeply indebted to all colleagues and staff members in the seismology Center of Aswan (NRIAG) for their tremendous helps and support during the field work. We wish, also, to express our sincere gratitude to all staff members and researchers in the Geomagnetism Laboratory, for their persistent efforts during the progress of this research. This research was supported by the official research funds of Menia University given to the Faculty members at the Faculty of Science for the first author and special fund and logistics offered by the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics [NRIAG] to the second author. Sincere thanks are due the reviewers of this manuscript, whose comments greatly improve the final version of this research.

The authors are, also, sincerely grateful to the anonymous reviewers of this research for their comprehensive comments which significantly improved our research.


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© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceMinia UniversityMiniaEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Geomagnetic and GeoelectricNational Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics [NRIAG]CairoEgypt

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