Structure and geological history of the Congo Basin: an integrated interpretation of gravity,magnetic and reflection seismic data
E. Kadima, D. Delvaux, S.N. Sebagenzi, L. Tack and S.M. Kabeya
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 23, No 5, October 2011 pp. 499 - 527
Info: Article, PDF ( 4.57Mb )
The stratigraphic, paleogeographic and tectonic evolution of the intracratonic Congo Basin in Central Africa has been revised on the basis of an integrated interpretation of gravity, magnetic and reflection seismic data, together with a literature review of papers sometimes old and diffcult to access, map compilation and partial reexamination of outcrop and core samples stored in the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA).The Congo Basin has a long and complex evolution starting in The Neoproterozoic and governed by the interplay of tectonic and climatic factors, in a variety of depositional environments. This multidisciplinary study involving 2D gravity and magnetic modeling as additional constraints for the interpretation of seismic profiles appears to be a powerful tool to investigate sedimentary basins where seismic data alone may be diffcult to interpret. The tectonic deformations detected in the Congo Basin after the 1970-1984 hydrocarbon exploration campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been attributed to crustal contraction and basement uplift at the center of the basin, following a transpressional inversion of earlier graben structures. Two-dimensional gravity and magnetic models run along key seismic lines suggest the presence of evaporite sequences in some of the deeper units of the stratigraphic succession, in the lateral continuity with those observed in the Mbandaka and Gilson exploration wells.The poorly defined seismic facies that led to the previous basement uplift interpretation of the crystalline basement is shown to correspond to salt-rich formations that have been tectonically de- stabilized. These features may be related to vertical salt-tectonics connected to the near/far- field effects of the late Pan-African and the Permo-Triassic compressive tectonic events that affected this African part of Gondwana.