Permo-Triassic Paleogeographic, Climate, Drainage and Topographic Maps of Africa

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Kungurian 275+-5Ma

At this time the South Pole is located in Antarctica and Africa is entirely in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the paleoequator to approx 60 deg S. As would be expected for such a range, sedimentological descriptions indicate a wide range of environments ranging from humid tropical in Morocco (Olsen, 2000)  to cool temperate peat bog in the coal belt (Cairncross, 2001) . Climate has warmed progressively from a glacial episode in the latest Carboniferous and continues to changes with time over the Permian as Africa rapidly moves northwards (Visser, 1995) . Most topography is interpreted to be associated with a series of broad folds across North Africa that run parallel to the Hercynian belt that were the sites of later deep erosion represented by the Hercynian subcrop pattern. The Permian rifts of southern Africa may or may not have had high rift shoulders.


Induan 250+-5Ma

Aridity is interpreted for all data points north of a warm temperate zone that covers the Cape Fold Belt and Permo-Triassic graben belt (Visser, 1995). This change does not just seem to be due to continental drift, which is now slowing. Particularly interesting is an interpreted change in Moroccan paleoclimates from humid tropical to arid (Olsen, 2000) , despite this area remaining close to the equator over the period.

Carnian 230+-5Ma

Africa is now moving rapidly northwards, which as Africa is fixed on these maps, is shown as a southern migration of paleolatitude belts.  The plotted data points on indicator minerals such as evaporites seem to indicate at least seasonal aridity over most of the continent (Boucot et al, 2013), with humid episodes around the NW African rifts (Olsen, 2000: Manspeizer, 1988) and in southern Africa. Many authors believe that parts of the Carnian were more humid than other Late Triassic eras. On the margins of the Great Karoo (GK) basin, the flora and fauna of the Molteno Formation (Cairncross, 2001) indicate warm temperate conditions with semi-humid and humid periods allowing marshlands to form. There are no indicators of the existence of any significant topography, though this interval is generally beyond the AFTA ‘clock’, so this may due to a lack of any surviving evidence in rocks of this age

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