Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic sediment influx and morphology of the Mozambique Basin

Jude.Castelino [ at ]


The Mozambique Basin is one of the oldest extensional sedimentary basins developed along the eastern African margin. The basin hosts a continuous record of sediments since the Jurassic separation of Antarctica from Africa. The objectives of this study were to extend the regional stratigraphic framework north of the Zambezi Delta into the deep abyssal plains and review the early evolution of the Mozambique Basin using nine multi-channel seismic reflection profiles. We identify six major stratigraphic units that were deposited in Jurassic, Early Cretaceous, Late Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene and Quaternary times. Mesozoic sedimentation rates of 5-10 cm/kyr and 1-3 cm/kyr during the Paleogene are calculated in the deeper basin. The presence of shales in neighbouring wells on the shelf implies an euxinic environment in the rapidly subsiding basin until Early Cretaceous times. The Mesozoic sediments have a high seismic velocity that exceeds 4.5 km/s, except in a distinct Early Cretaceous low-velocity (3.7 km/s) zone that may indicate the presence of undercompacted, overpressured shales. In spite of the fact that the Zambezi catchment was much smaller in pre-Miocene times, the high Late Cretaceous sedimentation rates can be attributed to rapid denudation of the African continent after a major tectonic uplift episode at approximately 90 Ma. Increased sediment influx into the basin from the Zambezi in Late Cretaceous times resulted in the formation of an elongated submarine fan lobe into the Mozambique Channel north of Beira High. Strong north-south bottom currents commenced within the channel in Late Cretaceous times, forcing the aggradation of sediments on the southern flank of the lobe. In addition, we observe several current-controlled sediment deposits in the deeper basin that are influenced by north-south bottom currents. Low Paleogene sedimentation rates are attributed to a sediment-starved basin during a relative quiet tectonic phase onshore.

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DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.07.028

Cite as
Castelino, J. A. , Reichert, C. , Klingelhoefer, F. , Aslanian, D. and Jokat, W. (2015): Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic sediment influx and morphology of the Mozambique Basin , Marine and Petroleum Geology, 66 (4), pp. 890-905 . doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.07.028

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