Field of Science

Upper Triassic Sedimentology of Botswana

Bordy, E. M., Segwabe, T., and B. Makuke. 2010. Sedimentology of the Upper Triassic–Lower Jurassic (?) Mosolotsane Formation (Karoo Supergroup), Kalahari Karoo Basin, Botswana. Journal of African Earth Sciences 58:127–140.


Abstract - The Mosolotsane Formation (Lebung Group, Karoo Supergroup) in the Kalahari Karoo Basin of Botswana is a scantly exposed, terrestrial red bed succession which is lithologically correlated with the Late Triassic to Early Jurassic Molteno and Elliot Formations (Karoo Supergroup) in South Africa. New evidence derived from field observations and borehole data via sedimentary facies analysis allowed the assessment of the facies characteristics, distribution and thickness variation as well as palaeo-current directions and sediment composition, and resulted in the palaeo-environmental reconstruction of this poorly known unit. Our results show that the Mosolotsane Formation was deposited in a relatively low-sinuosity meandering river system that drained in a possibly semi-arid environment. Sandstone petrography revealed mainly quartz-rich arenites that were derived from a continental block provenance dominated by metamorphic and/or igneous rocks. Palaeo-flow measurements indicate reasonably strong, unidirectional current patterns with mean flow directions from southeast and east–southeast to northwest and west–northwest. Regional thickness and facies distributions as well as palaeo drainage indicators suggest that the main depocenter of the Mosolotsane Formation was in the central part of the Kalahari Karoo Basin. Separated from this main depocenter by a west northwest – east–southeast trending elevated area, an additional depocenter was situated in the north–northeast part of the basin and probably formed part of the Mid-Zambezi Karoo Basin. In addition, data also suggests that further northeast–southwest trending uplands probably existed in the northwest and east, the latter separating the main Kalahari Karoo depocenter from the Tuli Basin.

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