Stratigraphic correlation of the Awahab and Tafelberg Formations, Etendeka Group, Namibia, and location of an eruptive site for flood basalt volcanism

Marsh, J.S. and Milner, S.C. (2007) Stratigraphic correlation of the Awahab and Tafelberg Formations, Etendeka Group, Namibia, and location of an eruptive site for flood basalt volcanism. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 48 (5). pp. 329-340. ISSN 0899-5362



Official URL:


Detailed field and geochemical investigations in the vicinity of the type section of the Tafelberg Formation of the early Cretaceous Etendeka Group, NW Namibia, have revealed the existence of a large eruptive vent in the lower part of the regional volcanic sequence produced by Strombolian and Vulcanian eruptions. The vent is filled with the thick, differentiated, ponded Kudu-Run olivine-rich basaltic flow, which has a distinctive low Zr/Y geochemical signature as well as a Tafelberg-type tabular basalt and the Nil Desperandum latite. Field evidence indicates that the Kudu-Run basalt and the latite were erupted from fissures located within the vent. Associated with the vent is an extensive pyroclastic apron extending from the vent edge and which is interbedded with the regional stratigraphy. Blocks of Precambrain basement lithologies occur within this deposit and indicate that the vent was excavated to a depth of at least 350 m below the palaeosurface at that time. The original Tafelberg Formation type section described by Erlank et al. [Erlank, A.J., Marsh, J.S., Duncan, A.R., Miller, R.McG., Hawkesworth, C.H., Betton, P.J., Rex, D.C. 1984. Geochemistry and petrogenesis of the Etendeka volcanic rocks from SWA/Namibia, 195–247. In: Erlank, A.J. (Ed.), Petrogenesis of Volcanic Rocks of the Karoo province. Special Publication of the Geological Society of South Africa, vol. 13, 395 p.] the Tafelberg Gully section, crosses from the lower part of the regional sequence into the intra-vent sequence and returns to the regional sequence higher up. In doing so it includes some of the localized intra-vent flows and excludes a number of flows which are part of the regional sequence in its lower part, thus rendering it inappropriate as a type section. A revised type section for the Tafelberg Formation is described by combining the upper part of the Tafelberg Gully section with a new section of 14 flows at the base of the regional sequence in the Tafelberg North (TBN) section some 2 km N of the Tafeleberg Gully. Distinctive flows in the TBN section can be mapped southwards where their precise stratigraphic relationship to the northward-thinning Springbok and Goboboseb Quarts Latite members of the Awahab Formation can be demonstrated. These stratigraphic relationships are entirely consistent with palaeomagnetic reversal stratigraphy and demonstrate that the same N–R–N polarity sequence occurs in the type sections of the Awahab and Tafelberg formations. Thus, the Awahab and Tafelberg magma systems were contemporaneous but the Tafelberg system outlived that of the Awahab. The Awahab system was built from eruptive centres located S of the Huab River whereas the Tafelberg vents were located further north.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Etendeka; stratigraphy; flood volcanism; vent
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geology
ID Code:774
Deposited On:20 Aug 2007
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
386 full-text download(s) since 20 Aug 2007
82 full-text download(s) in the past 12 months
More statistics...

Repository Staff Only: item control page