Lithostratigraphy, sedimentary petrography and geochemistry of the Upper Karoo Supergroup in the Central Kalahari Karoo Sub-Basin, Botswana

Fulvio Franchi, Tebogo Kelepile, Andrea Di Capua, Mike C.J. De Wit, Onalethata Kemiso, Reneilwe Lasarwe, Octavian Catuneanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Kalahari Karoo Basin of Botswana is an intracratonic basin developed in south-central Gondwana and is filled with Upper Carboniferous–Lower Jurassic Karoo Supergroup volcano-sedimentary units. The Karoo Supergroup units are unconformably covered by the Cretaceous to recent Kalahari Group. The Upper Karoo Supergroup in the Central Kalahari Karoo Sub-Basin of Botswana consists of the lacustrine sediments of the Beaufort Group (Tlhabala Formation), overlaid unconformably by the continental sediments of the Lebung Group, and by the continental basalts of the Stormberg Group. The Late Triassic to Early Jurassic Lebung Group is subdivided into the Mosolotsane Formation and the Ntane Formation. This sedimentary sequence is poorly exposed, and formation boundaries are tentatively identified by lithological changes in boreholes. Here, new sedimentological and geochemical data are used for the refinement of the stratigraphy of the Upper Karoo Supergroup in the Central Kalahari Karoo Sub-Basin of Botswana, new criteria for the identification of unit boundaries are set and provenance of the Lebung Group sediments has been defined. The geochemical investigation of the Upper Karoo Supergroup in the Central Kalahari Karoo Sub-Basin of Botswana revealed clear geochemical markers that have allowed the pinpointing of unit boundaries between the Tlhabala Formation (Beaufort Group), Mosolotsane Formation (lowermost Lebung Group). The sediments from the Tlhabala Formation have a geochemical signature typical of wackes, while the sandstones from the overlying Mosolotsane Formation and the Ntane Formation are dominated by arkose to subarkose. The transition from wacke to subarkose pinpoints the boundary between the Beaufort Group and the base of the Lebung Group. The Tlhabala Formation is characterized by increasing SiO2/Al2O3 ratio, with a maximum at the base of the Lebung Group, and by an upward decrease in the abundance of Na, K and transition metals such as Cr, Mn and Fe. The SiO2/Al2O3 ratio decreases upward in the Lebung Group. Similarly, the abundances of Na, K, Cr, Mn and Fe slightly increase upward only to show a negative peak at the Lebung Group and the Kalahari Group boundary. This contact is marked by a clear increase in the total REE content. The chemical composition of the Lebung Group sandstones also indicates a quartzose sedimentary provenance. The CIA (chemical index of alteration) values for these sandstones ranged from 63 to 73, indicating a high degree of chemical weathering. This type of intense weathering should produce high volumes of clay minerals, which are rather scarce in the studied samples. This indicates that the large amount of quartz in the Lebung Group has been recycled from the Paleoproterozoic sedimentary sequences of the Palapye Group, located southeast from the study area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104025
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Volume173
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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