Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract This paper provides new geochemical and isotopic data on the evolution of the western foreland to the Nubian shield of north-east Africa. There is abundant evidence for early to middle Proterozoic crust west of the River Nile, but this was severely affected by the Pan-African (≈ 500–900 Ma) orogenic cycle. The results are reported of Rb-Sr whole rock and zircon evaporation geochronological studies and whole rock Sm-Nd and feldspar Pb isotopic analyses for four rock units around Wadi Halfa in northernmost Sudan. These results indicate the presence of heterogeneous pre-Pan-African crustal components, preserved in mylonitic gneisses and in conglomerates that unconformably overlie the gneisses. Several episodes of crust formation, inferred from zircon ages, are preserved in the gneisses : 2.6, 2.4, 2.0, 1.7, 1.2 and 0.72 Ga. Nd model ages for the same units are invariably older than the zircon ages, yet still record a predominantly late Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic history, with depleted mantle model ages between 1.3 and 2.8 Ga. The earliest recorded Pan-African magmatic event is about 720 Ma and dates the beginning of collisional deformation. A younger Pan-African volcanic sequence (≈ 650 Ma) has isotopic compositions of Sr and Nd compatible with derivation from late Prote rozoic asthenospheric mantle. A ≈ 530 Ma anorogenic ‘A-type’ granite also has isotopic compositions suggesting derivation from a primitive source. The inferred tectonic evolution began with rifting to form an oceanic re-entrant. This was followed by subduction leading to collision at about 700 Ma, accompanied by post-orogenic rifting at about 650 Ma.
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