The precambrian mafic magmatic record, including large igneous provinces of the kalahari craton and its constituents: A paleogeographic review

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


The study of Precambrian dyke swarms, sill provinces and large igneous provinces on the Kalahari craton in southern Africa has expanded greatly since the pioneering work initiated almost four decades ago. The main contributors to this progress have been a large number of precise U–Pb crystallization ages of mafic rocks, published in a number of recent papers. This information is compiled here into a series of maps that provide a nearly 3 billion year intraplate magmatic record of the Kalahari craton and its earlier constituents, the proto-Kalahari, Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe cratons. We also review their possible paleogeographic relations to other cratons or supercontinents. This review provides a more accessible overview of individual magmatic events, and mostly includes precise U–Pb ages of mafic dykes and sills, some of which can be linked to stratigraphically well-constrained volcanic rocks. The extrusion ages of these volcanic units are also starting to be refined by, among others, in situ dating of baddeleyite. Some mafic dyke swarms, previously characterized entirely on similarity in dyke trends within a swarm, are found to be temporally composite and sometimes consist of up to three different generations. Other mafic dyke swarms, with different trends, can now be linked to protracted volcanic events like the stratigraphically well preserved Mesoarchean Nsuze Group (Pongola Supergroup) and Neoarchean Ventersdorp Supergroup. Following upon these Archean events, shorter-lived Proterozoic large igneous provinces also intrude the Transvaal Supergroup, Olifantshoek Supergroup and Umkondo Group, and include the world’s largest layered intrusion, the Bushveld Complex. Longer-lived late Paleoproterozoic magmatic events are also preserved as mafic intrusions and lava units within the Waterberg and Soutpansberg groups as well as the granitic basement. Many gaps in our knowledge of the Precambrian mafic record of the Kalahari craton remain, but further multi-disciplinary studies combining the latest advances in U–Pb geochronology and both paleomagnetism and geochemistry will help solve the Precambrian paleogeographic puzzle.


External organisations
  • University of Johannesburg
  • Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • Stellenbosch University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpringer Geology
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSpringer Geology
ISSN (Print)2197-9545
ISSN (Electronic)2197-9553