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Permian alkaline undersaturated and carbonatite province, and rifting along the West African craton


Recent work1,2 carried out in north-east Mali, which showed the Pan-African orogeny (600 Myr) to be the result of a collision between the passive margin of the West African craton and the active margin of a continental mass situated to the east, has also outlined an entire province of alkaline undersaturated ring complexes and carbonatites, the first to be discovered in West Africa excluding Morocco3,4 (Fig. 1). This province is quite distinct petrologically and structurally from the Iforas alkaline younger granite province situated in the Pan-African domain east of the suture which has yielded Rb/Sr whole-rock ages of between 560 and 520 Myr (ref. 5). The undersaturated province is located along a well-defined rift on the edge of the West African craton which is totally devoid of Pan-African magmatism. We report here that the Permian radiometric age obtained for one of these intrusions shows the existence of a hitherto unsuspected important tectono-magmatic event in this part of Africa, which may have far-reaching structural implications as well as economic interest.

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Liegeois, J., Bertrand, H., Black, R. et al. Permian alkaline undersaturated and carbonatite province, and rifting along the West African craton. Nature 305, 42–43 (1983).

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