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Southern African topography and erosion history: plumes or plate tectonics?

Moore, Andy, Blenkinsop, Thomas G. and Cotterill, Fenton (Woody) 2009. Southern African topography and erosion history: plumes or plate tectonics? Terra Nova 21 (4) , pp. 310-315. 10.1111/j.1365-3121.2009.00887.x

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The physiography of southern Africa comprises a narrow coastal plain, separated from an inland plateau by a horseshoe-shaped escarpment. The interior of the inland plateau is a sedimentary basin. The drainage network of southern Africa is characterized by three river divides, broadly parallel to the coastline. These features contrast strongly with the broad dome and radial drainage patterns predicted by models which ascribe the physiography of southern Africa to uplift over a deep mantle plume. The drainage divides are interpreted as axes of epeirogenic uplift. The ages of these axes, which young from the margin to the interior, correlate closely with major reorganizations of spreading regimes in the oceanic ridges surrounding southern Africa, suggesting an origin from stresses related to plate motion. Successive epeirogenic uplifts of southern Africa on the axes, forming the major river divides, initiated cyclic episodes of denudation, which are coeval with erosion surfaces recognized elsewhere across Africa.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0954-4879
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:10

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