Geology

Zambia's diverse mineral endowment is entirely a function of the variety of geological terrains and the multiplicity of thermal and tectonic events that have overprinted and shaped these terrains. The resulting geological domains each have specific metallogenic characteristics in terms of known mineral occurrences that can be successfully utilized to direct further exploration. Equally importantly, the understanding of the processes that formed these domains has reached a level at which lateral thinking and conceptual modelling can be used to generate important new exploration targets.

Major cratons and fold-belts of central southern Africa

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Geology of Zambia
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The complex geology and multiplicity of tectono-thermal events reflect Zambia's somewhat unique position effectively sandwiched between the Kasai, Zimbabwe-Kaapvaal and Tanzania cratons. Differential movements between these stable blocks, together with their buttressing effects, have played an important role in the geological evolution of the country and hence in the genesis of the country's mineral and energy resources.

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in places infolded with meta-carbonate. granitic gneiss.Stratigraphy The oldest succession of rocks in the country. also outcrop in the structurally elevated Kafue Anticline and "Domes" of the Copperbelt and north-western Zambia. the Basement Supergroup.the Lower . and also forming a major component of the Zambezi Belt south and east of Lusaka. quartzites and argillites) .3000Ma. The lower part of the almost exclusively sedimentary sequence is the economically important Mine Series Group which hosts the bulk of the copper-cobalt mineralization of the Copperbelt. and meta-pelite units.100m over the Bangweulu Block to 3500m southwards into the Irumide Belt. the lowest unit . In central and eastern Zambia the sequence of meta-pelites and meta-quartzites is commonly infolded and even imbricated with the Basement rocks. migmatites and amphibolites. Granite.the Mporokoso Group. arenites. Sedimentation commenced around 1800Ma and ended c. partially overlie the southern edge of the Bangweulu Block. mudstones and minor conglomerates of the Kasama Formation which ranges in thickness from c. Within the Bangweulu Block of northern Zambia the sedimentary sequence is very different. the two sequences being later folded to form the core of the Irumide Belt extending north-eastwards from Kabwe to Mpika.500Ma. overlain by quartzites. hematitic sandstones. meta-quartzite. and also occur within the Zambezi Belt south and east of Lusaka. The Supergroup rocks are mostly younger than 2050Ma but the Lutembwe River granulite near Chipata has been dated at c. This sequence was deposited in response to a NEdirected marine incursion across a deeply dissected continental landscape. The rocks are exposed throughout the Copperbelt and north-western Zambia. The Katanga Supergroup overlies the Basement and Muva sequences with marked angular unconformity and spans an approximate time interval of 1000Ma . The overlying meta-sedimentary Muva Supergroup generally exhibits a tectonized contact with the Basement sequences. consists mostly of granitic gneisses and migmatites which are evident throughout eastern. comprising a lower 5000m thick succession of continental sediments (rudites. believed to belong mostly to the Basement Supergroup. central and southern Zambia.1250Ma.

shale. argillite and minor carbonate rocks of the Mwashia Formation.External fold-thrust belt II . locally sediment cover Archaean to lower Proterozoic Strike-slip fault Thrust International boundary MSZ .Synclinorial belt IV .comprising conglomerate and aeolian sandstones succeeded by siliciclastic sediments and finally by argillites. dolostones and arenites.Roan Formation .Mwembeshi Shear Zone L .Lusaka Geological terrains of Zambia . the Kataba Group. has been intersected by drilling beneath basal Karoo rocks and has been broadly dated as Ordovician-Silurian. the "Grand Conglomerat". at the base of the Kundelungu Group. A poorly defined unit. The extent of the unit is not known.Katanga High Kibaran and Irumide Belts Precambrian. N 25° 30° UB E ND IA N 0 100km LT BE BE LT KI BA R AN LUFILIAN ARC BANGWEULU BLOCK 10° I II III IV Hook Granite Complex IR ID UM E BE LT Lu an Sinda Batholith MOZ AMB gw aV a ll ELT IQU E B Chipata Granite ey 15° L ZAMBEZI BELT BAROTSE BASIN MS Z CHOMA-KALOMO BLOCK ZIMBABWE CRATON LEGEND Palaeozoic to Recent Granitoids Katanga Supergroup I . The overlying Upper Roan is a predominantly dolomiteargillite sequence which is succeeded conformably by carbonaceous shales. a further tillite and a fine shale-dominated unit. An hiatus of as much as 100 million years was succeeded by a period of glaciation and the deposition of a tillite unit. This was followed by a thick sequence dominated by dolomitic limestones.Domes Region Mozambique Belt Basement inliers in Lufilian Arc Zambezi Belt III . comprising unmetamorphosed marine sandstones and mudstones.

and finally fine grained lacustrine sediments . The Lower Karoo Group comprises a basal conglomerate. tillite and sandstone overlain unconformably by conglomerate. SUPERGROUP MAJOR GROUP OROGENY Kalahari (Lueti Formation) Karoo Upper Karoo KAROO RIFTING Lower Karoo Kataba LUFILIAN OROGENY (D2 & D3) c.2000-1800Ma Kapemba Basement Mulungwizi Major lithostratigraphic subdivisions and tectono-thermal events in Zambia . Luano-Lukusashi and Kafue valleys and also outcrop in western Zambia.1350-1100Ma Mpanshya Muva Mporokoso UBENDIAN OROGENY c.850-750Ma Lusakan Folding Event c. The unconformably overlying Upper Karoo essentially comprises a series of arenaceous continental sediments and overlying mudstones capped by basalts of the Batoka Formation.the Madumabisa Formation. and much of western Zambia is covered by aeolian sands and minor epiclastic sediments of Quaternary to Present age comprising the Kalahari Group. the Batoka basalts are unconformably overlain by up to 100m of continental sandstones and mudstones of Cretaceous age.950Ma Manshya River IRUMIDE OROGENY c.Rocks of the Karoo Supergroup (late Carbonifer ous to Jurassic) occupy the rift troughs of the MidZambezi.850Ma Mwashia Fm. sandstone and carbonaceous siltstones and mudstones (the Gwembe Formation). In western Zambia and within the Zambezi Valley. Katanga Mine Series Lomamian Orogeny (?) c. Luangwa.690-450Ma Kundelungu LUFILIAN OROGENY (D1) c. coal.

2000-1800Ma. Sol. The earliest recognizable event in the region was the Ubendian Orogeny.Cross-section A of the Irumide Belt in north-eastern Zambia. the only evidence of this fold event is a SE-trending fabric recorded in the Mafinga Hills. however. Pub. Within Zambia. . London Spec. Tectono-thermal Events Daly (1986) in Geol. minerals and even energy resources. which generated the NW-SE-trending fold belt of high-grade metamorphic rocks that demarcates the northeastern margin of the Bangweulu Block. although granitic rocks flanking the southern and northwestern margins of the Bangweulu Block represent a late Ubendian thermal event. c. 19 A number of major tectono-thermal events have affected Zambia and have often contributed directly to the accumulation of metals.

R. Congo. The resulting Irumide Belt trends north-east to east-north-east through eastern Zambia and is also evident within the Choma-Kalomo Block of southern Zambia. 19 The next major orogenic event was the Irumide Orogeny which resulted in extensive folding and shearing of Basement and Muva rocks in central and eastern Zambia during the period 1350-1100Ma. Intrusive granitic magmatism accompanied the orogeny in the Choma-Kalomo Block (13451200Ma). broadly synchronous with the Kibaran Orogeny of D. London Spec. Pub. Sol.Cross-section B of the Irumide Belt in north-eastern Zambia. Daly (1986) in Geol. and charnockitic granites were emplaced in the Basement-Muva terrain east of the Luangwa Valley at about 1100Ma. .

separated by the Mwembeshi Shear Zone.the Lufilian Arc and the Zambezi-Mozambique Belts. were represented by a complex series of tectonic and thermal events in the approximate time interval 950 . Key events have been recognized in the formation of these still poorly understood terrains: N 25° 30° 0 100km LUFILIAN ARC BANGWEULU BLOCK A AI B IR E ID UM 10° LT BE BI 15° Lusaka Location of cross-sections A and B . which has been interpreted as a "pop-up" structure.The Irumide Belt has been interpreted as a NW-facing. Two somewhat different domains were generated . this contraction was accommodated by the Luongo Fold and Thrust Zone near the southern margin of the Bangweulu Block and by the Shiwa Ngandu Fold. The subsequent Lomamian and Lufilian Orogenies.450Ma. the latter broadly equivalent to the continent-wide Pan-African Orogeny. In the northern sector of the belt. Shortening in the south-western part of the belt was taken up within the Mkushi Gneiss Complex. 350km wide foreland fold and thrust belt resulting from NW-SEdirected crustal shortening.

The complex history of rifting in the region accounts for the marked variations in sedimentation within Zambia's rift valleys. R. the Zambezi and Lufilian Arc terrains being separated by the Mwembeshi Shear Zone. Hook Granite Complex 570-530Ma. ENE-directed thrusting contributing to the development of the Kafue Anticline and other Domes as Basement culminations. with nappe emplacement in the Shaba Province of D.690-540Ma. and a final episode of rifting related to the development of the East African Rift system in late Cretaceous and early Tertiary times. Concommittant WSW-directed thrusting of the Zambezi Belt. ! ! ! ! The final tectono-thermal event was the Karoo Rifting associated with the break-up of Gondwanaland during the Permian followed by opening of the proto-Indian Ocean in the Jurassic. Main phase of NE-directed thrusting. Congo and possibly also in the Copperbelt. Strike-slip faulting and late folding c. . Syntectonic emplacement of batholithic granites into the Zambezi Belt c. "Lusakan Folding" event at c. culminating in the eruption of the late-Karoo Batoka basalts.490Ma.950Ma Lomamian Orogeny (although there is some debate as to whether this represents a discrete major orogenic event). probably c. Emplacement of syn. a transform shear forming part of a major inter-cratonic zone of dislocation.! ! Early recumbent folding of the Lower Roan sequence during the c. The Permian rifting was accompanied by reactivation of the Mwembeshi Shear Zone.607Ma.850Ma that accompanied deep burial of the Lower Roan.to post-tectonic granites: Mtuga Granite and Mkushi aplites c.820Ma. Sinda Batholith near Petauke at c.850-750Ma.

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