Thermal perturbations beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone, northwest Botswana

Khumo Leseane, Estella A. Atekwana, Kevin L. Mickus, Mohamed G. Abdelsalam, Elisha M. Shemang, Eliot A. Atekwana

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    30 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We used aeromagnetic and gravity data to investigate the thermal structure beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ) in northwestern Botswana in order to understand its role in strain localization during rift initiation. We used three-dimensional (3-D) inversion of aeromagnetic data to estimate the Curie Point Depth (CPD) and heat flow under the rift and surrounding basement. We also used two-dimensional (2-D) power-density spectrum analysis of gravity data to estimate the Moho depth. Our results reveal shallow CPD values (8-15 km) and high heat flow (60-90 mW m-2) beneath a ∼60 km wide NE-trending zone coincident with major rift-related border faults and the boundary between Proterozoic orogenic belts. This is accompanied by thin crust (<30 km) in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the ORZ. Within the Precambrian basement areas, the CPD values are deeper (16-30 km) and the heat flow estimates are lower (30-50 mW m-2), corresponding to thicker crust (∼40-50 km). We interpret the thermal structure under the ORZ as due to upward migration of hot mantle fluids through the lithospheric column that utilized the presence of Precambrian lithospheric shear zones as conduits. These fluids weaken the crust, enhancing rift nucleation. Our interpretation is supported by 2-D forward modeling of gravity data suggesting the presence of a wedge of altered lithospheric mantle centered beneath the ORZ. If our interpretation is correct, it may result in a potential paradigm shift in which strain localization at continental rift initiation could be achieved through fluid-assisted lithospheric weakening without asthenospheric involvement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1210-1228
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
    Volume120
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    Botswana
    rift zone
    Curie point
    Gravitation
    perturbation
    heat flow
    Heat transfer
    heat
    Fluids
    gravity
    thermal structure
    crust
    fluid
    Precambrian
    mantle
    heat transmission
    Spectrum analysis
    paradigm shift
    aeromagnetic survey
    crusts

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Oceanography
    • Forestry
    • Ecology
    • Aquatic Science
    • Water Science and Technology
    • Soil Science
    • Geochemistry and Petrology
    • Earth-Surface Processes
    • Atmospheric Science
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Space and Planetary Science
    • Palaeontology

    Cite this

    Leseane, Khumo ; Atekwana, Estella A. ; Mickus, Kevin L. ; Abdelsalam, Mohamed G. ; Shemang, Elisha M. ; Atekwana, Eliot A. / Thermal perturbations beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone, northwest Botswana. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 2015 ; Vol. 120, No. 2. pp. 1210-1228.
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    abstract = "We used aeromagnetic and gravity data to investigate the thermal structure beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ) in northwestern Botswana in order to understand its role in strain localization during rift initiation. We used three-dimensional (3-D) inversion of aeromagnetic data to estimate the Curie Point Depth (CPD) and heat flow under the rift and surrounding basement. We also used two-dimensional (2-D) power-density spectrum analysis of gravity data to estimate the Moho depth. Our results reveal shallow CPD values (8-15 km) and high heat flow (60-90 mW m-2) beneath a ∼60 km wide NE-trending zone coincident with major rift-related border faults and the boundary between Proterozoic orogenic belts. This is accompanied by thin crust (<30 km) in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the ORZ. Within the Precambrian basement areas, the CPD values are deeper (16-30 km) and the heat flow estimates are lower (30-50 mW m-2), corresponding to thicker crust (∼40-50 km). We interpret the thermal structure under the ORZ as due to upward migration of hot mantle fluids through the lithospheric column that utilized the presence of Precambrian lithospheric shear zones as conduits. These fluids weaken the crust, enhancing rift nucleation. Our interpretation is supported by 2-D forward modeling of gravity data suggesting the presence of a wedge of altered lithospheric mantle centered beneath the ORZ. If our interpretation is correct, it may result in a potential paradigm shift in which strain localization at continental rift initiation could be achieved through fluid-assisted lithospheric weakening without asthenospheric involvement.",
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    Thermal perturbations beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone, northwest Botswana. / Leseane, Khumo; Atekwana, Estella A.; Mickus, Kevin L.; Abdelsalam, Mohamed G.; Shemang, Elisha M.; Atekwana, Eliot A.

    In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, Vol. 120, No. 2, 2015, p. 1210-1228.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Thermal perturbations beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone, northwest Botswana

    AU - Leseane, Khumo

    AU - Atekwana, Estella A.

    AU - Mickus, Kevin L.

    AU - Abdelsalam, Mohamed G.

    AU - Shemang, Elisha M.

    AU - Atekwana, Eliot A.

    PY - 2015

    Y1 - 2015

    N2 - We used aeromagnetic and gravity data to investigate the thermal structure beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ) in northwestern Botswana in order to understand its role in strain localization during rift initiation. We used three-dimensional (3-D) inversion of aeromagnetic data to estimate the Curie Point Depth (CPD) and heat flow under the rift and surrounding basement. We also used two-dimensional (2-D) power-density spectrum analysis of gravity data to estimate the Moho depth. Our results reveal shallow CPD values (8-15 km) and high heat flow (60-90 mW m-2) beneath a ∼60 km wide NE-trending zone coincident with major rift-related border faults and the boundary between Proterozoic orogenic belts. This is accompanied by thin crust (<30 km) in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the ORZ. Within the Precambrian basement areas, the CPD values are deeper (16-30 km) and the heat flow estimates are lower (30-50 mW m-2), corresponding to thicker crust (∼40-50 km). We interpret the thermal structure under the ORZ as due to upward migration of hot mantle fluids through the lithospheric column that utilized the presence of Precambrian lithospheric shear zones as conduits. These fluids weaken the crust, enhancing rift nucleation. Our interpretation is supported by 2-D forward modeling of gravity data suggesting the presence of a wedge of altered lithospheric mantle centered beneath the ORZ. If our interpretation is correct, it may result in a potential paradigm shift in which strain localization at continental rift initiation could be achieved through fluid-assisted lithospheric weakening without asthenospheric involvement.

    AB - We used aeromagnetic and gravity data to investigate the thermal structure beneath the incipient Okavango Rift Zone (ORZ) in northwestern Botswana in order to understand its role in strain localization during rift initiation. We used three-dimensional (3-D) inversion of aeromagnetic data to estimate the Curie Point Depth (CPD) and heat flow under the rift and surrounding basement. We also used two-dimensional (2-D) power-density spectrum analysis of gravity data to estimate the Moho depth. Our results reveal shallow CPD values (8-15 km) and high heat flow (60-90 mW m-2) beneath a ∼60 km wide NE-trending zone coincident with major rift-related border faults and the boundary between Proterozoic orogenic belts. This is accompanied by thin crust (<30 km) in the northeastern and southwestern parts of the ORZ. Within the Precambrian basement areas, the CPD values are deeper (16-30 km) and the heat flow estimates are lower (30-50 mW m-2), corresponding to thicker crust (∼40-50 km). We interpret the thermal structure under the ORZ as due to upward migration of hot mantle fluids through the lithospheric column that utilized the presence of Precambrian lithospheric shear zones as conduits. These fluids weaken the crust, enhancing rift nucleation. Our interpretation is supported by 2-D forward modeling of gravity data suggesting the presence of a wedge of altered lithospheric mantle centered beneath the ORZ. If our interpretation is correct, it may result in a potential paradigm shift in which strain localization at continental rift initiation could be achieved through fluid-assisted lithospheric weakening without asthenospheric involvement.

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