Geophysical Imaging of Metacratonizaton in the Northern Edge of the Congo Craton in Cameroon


We used the World Gravity Map (WGM 2012) data to investigate the Archean Congo craton and the Oubanguides orogenic belt in Cameroon. The Oubanguides orogenic belt constitutes, from northwest to southeast, the Neoproterozoic West Cameroon domain, the Paleoproterozoic-Neoproterozoic Adamawa-Yade domain, and the dominantly Neoproterozoic Yaoundé domain (the crustal expression of the suture zone between the Congo craton and the orogenic terranes). We analyzed the WGM 2012 data to identify different gravity anomalies. We also applied the two-dimensional (2D) radially-averaged power spectral analysis to the WGM 2012 data to estimate the Moho depth. Additionally, we developed a 2D forward gravity model along a N-S profile to image the lithospheric structure of the Precambrian entities. We found that: (1) the Congo craton, the Yaoundé domain, the southeastern part of the West Cameroon domain, and the northern part of the Adamawa-Yade domain are characterized by low gravity anomaly. (2) the southern part of the Adamawa-Yade domain is marked by a pronounced E-W trending high gravity anomaly. (3) the crust is thicker beneath the Congo craton, the Yaoundé domain and the southern part of the Adamawa-Yade domain. (4) the presence of a denser lower crust material beneath the southern part of the Adamawa-Yade domain. We propose that this denser crustal material is an under-thrusted portion of the Congo craton that has been densified through metacratonization processes that accompanied collision between the craton and the orogenic terranes. This is in good agreement with geological and geochemical observations indicating that the northern edge of the Congo craton and the Adamawa-Yade domain had undergone metacratonization during the Neoproterozoic. Our suggestion is also in good agreement with observations which show that the margins of many cratons worldwide have been decratonized due to subduction processes. Our work highlights the importance of potential field geophysical data in mapping the metacratonized margins of cratons.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Craton; Crustal Structure; Gravity Anomaly; Imaging Method; Moho; Orogenic Belt; Spectral Analysis; Suture Zone; Cameroon; Congo Craton; 2D Radially-averaged Power Spectral Analysis; Metacratonization; Moho Depth; Oubanguides Orogenic Belt

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Article - Journal

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© 2017 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2017