The Paleoproterozoic Singo Granite in South-Central Uganda Revealed As a Nested Igneous Ring Complex using Geophysical Data


We used high-resolution airborne magnetic and radiometric data and satellite gravity data to investigate the form of occurrence of the Paleoproterozoic Singo granite in west-central Uganda. This granitic body covers an area of ∼700 km2, intrudes Paleoproterozoic crystalline rocks and overlain by Paleoproterozoic-Mesoproterozoic sedimentary rocks, both of which belong to the Rwenzori terrane, and it is host to hydrothermally-formed economic minerals such as gold and tungsten. Our analysis provided unprecedented geometrical details of the granitic body and revealed the following: (1) the margins of the Singo granite are characterized by a higher magnetic signature compared to the interior of the granitic body as well as the surroundings. These anomalies are apparent in both the total magnetic field and horizontal derivative images and define eight overlapping ring features. (2) the depth continuation of these magnetic anomalies define outward but steeply-dipping features as indicated by the tilt images extracted from the airborne magnetic data. This is further supported by forward modeling of the magnetic and gravity data. (3) the Singo granite is characterized by relatively high and evenly-distributed equivalent concentration of Uranium (eU) and Thorium (eTh) compared to the surroundings and this is apparent in the Potassium (K)-eTh-eU radiometric ternary image. (4) the granitic body is defined by a gravity low anomaly that persisted to a depth of three km as shown by the Bouguer anomaly image and its five km upward continuation. We used these observations to identify this granitic body as a nested igneous ring complex and we refer to it as the Singo Igneous Ring Complex (SIRC). We further interpreted the eight ring structures as individual igneous ring complexes aligned in an E-W and NE-SW direction and these were developed due to repeated calderas collapse. Additionally, we interpreted the ring-shaped magnetic anomalies as due to hydrothermally-altered margins of the granite resulting from hot fluid circulation facilitated by the presence of concentric fracture zones that developed in association with the collapse of the calderas. We propose that the nested pattern of the SIRC was developed due to dominantly east and southwest migration of magma plumbing systems. Identifying the SIRC as a nested igneous ring complex has its importance in guiding future mineral exploration activities. Our study highlights the importance of high resolution geophysical data in mapping near surface igneous ring complexes, hence allowing for further examination of their magma plumbing systems.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Granite; Igneous Rock; Magnetic Anomaly; Magnetic Field; Proterozoic; Satellite Data; Terrane; Uganda; Airborne Magnetic And Radiometric Data; Nested Igneous Ring Complex; Paleoproterozoic Rwenzori Terrane; Paleoproterozoic Singo Granite; South-central Uganda

Geographic Coverage


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2016