Insights on the crustal evolution of the West African Craton from Hf isotopes in detrital zircons from the Anti-Atlas belt

Thumbnail Image
Full text at PDC
Publication Date
Advisors (or tutors)
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam
Google Scholar
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
The Lu-Hf isotopic composition of detrital zircons has been used to investigate the crustal evolution of the northern part of the West African Craton (WAC). The zircons were separated from six samples of siliciclastic sedimentary rocks from the main Neoproterozic stratigraphic units of the Anti-Atlas belt, from the Sirwa and Zenaga inliers. The data suggest that the north part of the WAC formed during three cycles of juvenile crust formation with variable amount of reworking of older crust. The younger group of zircons, with a main population clustering around 610 Ma, has a predominant juvenile character and evidences of moderate mixing with Paleoproterozoic and Neoarchean crust, which supports that most igneous and metamorphic rocks where zircons originally crystallized were formed in an ensialic magmatic arc environment. The group of zircons in the age range 1.79–2.3 Ga corresponds to the major crust forming event in the WAC: the Eburnian orogeny. The isotopic data indicate that the provenance area should represent a crustal domain that was separated from a mantle reservoir at ∼2050–2300 Ma, and further evolved with a time-integrated 176Lu/177Hf of ∼0.01, characteristic of continental crust. The evolution of the Eburnian orogeny is, consequently, compatible with new crust formation in an island arc environment, the transition to a continental arc setting and a final continent–continent collision. The Lower Paleoproterozoic and Neoarchean evolution (2.3–2.75 Ga) includes a group of detrital zircon ages that has not been identified up to now in the igneous or metamorphic rocks of the north WAC basement. Their Hf isotopic signature points to reworking of mainly juvenile Neoarchean crust with some Meso- to Palaearchean contributions. The significance of these ages is uncertain: they can represent a tectonothermal event not discovered yet in the Reguibat Shield or the zircons can be far traveled from an unknown source.
UCM subjects
Unesco subjects