Jurassic Paleogeographic, Climate, Drainage and Topographic Maps of Africa

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Rhaetian/Hettangian boundary 200+-5Ma

Africa is still moving north over the climatic belts, including an expanded arid zone (Boucot, 2013) , although this movement is now slowing. Despite the widespread evaporites in north Africa, there are still indications of periodically humid conditions, particularly in NE Africa, where coals are developed (Boucot, 2013). Humid conditions become more frequent in NW Africa as one moves into the Jurassic (Olsen, 2000). Increasingly hot and arid conditions are evidenced in the Great Karoo (GK) Basin, with aeolian sandstones now being deposited (Catuneanu et al, 2005).

Pleinsbachian 185+-7Ma

Transgressions are evident into the developing Central Atlantic ocean (Davison, 2005)  and the developing rifts of East Africa ((Macgregor (2018). These appear to be progressive in nature, with in east Africa, the Ogaden Basin (OG) being flooded in the early Liassic but the Tanzanian rifts not till the Toarcian (Macgregor (2018) .  Just above this level, in the Toarcian, evaporites are developed in the East Africa basins of Mandawa (MA), Majunga (MT) and according to seismic evidence, as far south as Angoche (AN). Northern Africa remains a carbonate dominated margin.

The first AFTA-derived uplift interpretations start to appear though are not backed up by sedimentological data in offshore sinks (i.e by an input of sands), so these interpretations are uncertain. The Reguibat massif of NW Africa may be starting a long slow topographic rise (Charton et al 2020) , though this is not reflected in any significant supply of coarse clastics to the adjoining margin. AFTA data alone also suggest an uplift of the Leo massif region (Wildman, 2022). There are relatively few climate datapoints for this interval, These indicate a continuation of the widespread arid conditions of the Late Triassic. Increasingly hyperarid conditions are indicated for the Great Karoo Basin (Bordy and Catuneanu, 2002).

Bajocian 170+-5Ma

Carbonate deposition dominates on all African margins. Opposing carbonate platforms are now developed on the two Central Atlantic margins (von Rad, 1982). The earliest transgressions in East Africa are marked by the formation of carbonates, particularly in the Bajocian, when opposing carbonate platforms formed in Tanzania/Kenya and Madagascar (Macgregor (2018). Evaporites are developed in the Ogaden (OG), partly ponded behind the Bir Aqaba High (Hunegwah, 1998). Relatively little climatic information is available in this time interval, though what is available suggests a continuation of the dominantly arid conditions of the Early Jurassic. Exceptions are increasingly humid conditions present in northeastern Africa, close to the Tethys ocean (e.g. coal development in the Western Desert).  Indications of low clastic fluz suggest low topography across Africa. The only evidence for high topography gain comes from AFTA over NW Africa (Charton et al,2020) and the Leo Massif (Wildman, 2022) and is not supported by the presence of any clastic influxes to adjoining margins.


Kimmeridgian 155+-5Ma

The East African margin is now fully transgressed, with the southern margin now reached by waters transgressing over the East Falklands Ridge from the Proto-Weddell Sea.  The first marine strata are encountered in the Gamtoos (GA) Basin in the Kimmeridgian while marine strata are not seen in the Bredasdorp (BR) Basin to the west till the Tithonian (Mcmillan et al, 1997). A wide carbonate-prone transgression of central eastern Africa occurs, encompassing the Blue Nile gorge and in the Mekele inlier (ME, Alemu et al 2018). Papers in de Wit (2015)  tentatively interpret Kimmeridgian shallow marine environments as far inland as the Cuvette Centrale (CC) of the DR Congo. Carbonate deposition dominates all northern regions of the African plate, while the south-western margins are clastic dominated, though without evidence of any major deltas. The Central Atlantic has now broken through to the proto-Caribbean ocean, with carbonate banks on all sides.

There is little evidence, either direct or indirect, for significant topography development in Africa during the Late Jurassic, other than some topography previously described from NW Africa. The widespread nature of transgressions, related to high global sea level at this time, is indicative of low topography. Paleoclimatic data (Myers et al, 2011: Boucot et al, 2013) indicates three clear zones namely, humid tropical conditions on the East Mediterranean margin, widespread arid conditions in the interior and humid and warm temperate conditions in the south and south-west.


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