The Limpopo Belt of southern Africa is a Neoarchean orogenic belt located between two older Archean provinces, the Zimbabwe craton to the north and the Kaapvaal craton to the south. Previous studies considered the Limpopo Belt to be a linearly trending east-northeast belt with a width of ∼250 km and ∼600 km long. We provide evidence from gravity data constrained by seismic and geochronologic data suggesting that the Limpopo Belt is much larger than previously assumed and includes the Shashe Belt in Botswana, thus defining a southward convex orogenic arc sandwiched between the two cratons. The 2 Ga Magondi orogenic belt truncates the Limpopo-Shahse Belt to the west. The northern marginal, central and southern marginal tectonic zones define a single gravity anomaly on upward continued maps, indicating that they had the same exhumation history. This interpretation requires a tectonic model involving convergence between the Kaapvaal and Zimbabwe cratons during a Neoarchean orogeny that preserved the thick cratonic keel that has been imaged in tomographic models.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


This article has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Journal International © 2002 Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords and Phrases

Craton; Geodynamics; Gravity Survey; Orogenic Belt; Tectonic Setting; South Africa; Gravity; Limpopo Belt; Southern Africa

Geographic Coverage

Southern Africa

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

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© 2002 Oxford University Press, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2002

Included in

Geology Commons