Facies Analyses, Chronostratigraphy and Paleo-Environmental Reconstructions of Jurassic to Cretaceous Sequences of the Congo Basin

  • Bastien Linol
  • Maarten J. de Wit
  • Erika Barton
  • Francois Guillocheau
  • Michiel C. J. de Wit
  • Jean-Paul Colin
Part of the Regional Geology Reviews book series (RGR)


The Congo Basin is characterized by an extensive and relatively thick (ca. 1 km) succession of Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary sequences that preserves a unique record of the tectonic and climatic evolution of central Africa during the main period of break-up of Gondwana and the emergence of the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans. New facies analysis and detailed correlations of these ‘Congo’ sequences are described from field observations in the southwestern Congo Basin and by re-logging cores and well logs from four deep boreholes drilled in the center of the basin in the 1950s and 1970s. The lowermost Upper Jurassic sequence (the Stanleyville Group) records a short marine incursion of the proto-Indian Ocean into the northern Congo Basin, and is in turn overlain to the south by widespread aeolian dune deposits (the Lower Kwango Group), which correlate well with other Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous aeolian sequences in Namibia and eastern Brazil, attesting to a giant ‘Sahara-like’ paleo-desert across central West Gondwana, just before the separation of Africa from South America. U-Pb detrital zircons geochronology from this aeolian sequence in the Congo Basin dates mid-Silurian (ca. 430 Ma), Permian-Triassic (ca. 240 and 290 Ma) and Jurassic (ca. 190 Ma) magmatic zircons, here proposed to have been sourced from abundant volcanic activity along the proto-Andes, in southernmost Gondwana. Two successive middle Cretaceous lacustrine sequences in the center of the Congo Basin (the Loia and Bokungu Groups), first analcime-rich and episodically anoxic, and then more carbonated, are interpreted to record an episode of basin stagnation following the eruption of the Paraná-Etendeka Large Igneous Province and a subsequent hot/humid climate maximum during the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean. Late Cretaceous sedimentation in the Congo Basin terminated with fluvial sediments (the Upper Kwango Group) suggesting marginal uplifts during the Kalahari epeirogeny. The top of these sequences is truncated by a regional Cenozoic peneplanation surface.


Black Shale Detrital Zircon Congo Basin South Atlantic Ocean Maximum Flooding Surface 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge funding through the Inkaba yeAfrica and !Khure Africa programs, supported by the DST/NRF of South Africa. B. Linol particularly thanks Edmond Thorose from BRC DiamondCore Ltd. for his guidance in the field in southwestern DRC, and Ariel Boven at the RMCA—Royal Museum of Central Africa in Belgium for his help in accessing the archived cores. We also thank Anthony Tankard and an anonymous referee for reviews that improved this chapter. This AEON contribution number 128 and Inkaba yeAfrica number 98.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bastien Linol
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maarten J. de Wit
    • 1
  • Erika Barton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francois Guillocheau
    • 3
  • Michiel C. J. de Wit
    • 4
  • Jean-Paul Colin
  1. 1.AEON-ESSRI (African Earth Observatory Network – Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  2. 2.Geological Sciences Nelson Mandela Metropolitan UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa
  3. 3.Géosciences-Rennes, UMR 6118 Université de Rennes 1 – CNRS, OSUR, Université de Rennes 1, Campus de BeaulieuRennes cedexFrance
  4. 4.Delrand Resources Pty LtdTorontoCanada

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