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Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 14151425

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Sedimentology and depositional environments of the Maastrichtian Patti Formation, southeastern Bida Basin, Nigeria
Olusola J. Ojo*, Samuel O. Akande
Department of Geology and Mineral Sciences, University Of Ilorin, P. M. B. 1515, Ilorin, Nigeria

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 12 December 2008 Accepted in revised form 29 August 2009 Available online 9 September 2009 Keywords: Sedimentology Sedimentary facies Paleoenvironment Patti Formation Bida Basin Nigeria

a b s t r a c t
The Maastrichtian Patti Formation, which consists of shale - claystone and sandstone members, constitutes one of the three Upper Cretaceous lithostratigraphic units of the intracratonic southeastern Bida Basin, in central Nigeria. Well exposed outcrops of this formation were investigated at various locations around the conuence of the Niger and Benue Rivers. The lithostratigraphic sections were measured and their peculiar sedimentological features such as textures, physical and biogenic sedimentary structures, facies variations and associations were documented and used to interpret the depositional environments and develop a paleogeographic model. Some selected representative samples of the sedimentary depositional facies were also subjected to grain size analysis. Three shoreline sedimentary depositional facies composed of shoreface, tidal channel, and tidal marsh to coastal swamp facies were recognized in the study area. Continental sedimentary depositional facies such as uvial channel, swamp, and overbank were also documented. The sandstones of the shoreface and tidal channel facies are medium- to coarse-grained, moderately sorted (standard deviation ranges from 0.451.28 averaging 0.72), and quartzarenitic. The uvial channel sandstone facies are coarse- to very coarse-grained, mostly poorly sorted (standard deviation ranges from 0.61.56 averaging 1.17), and subarkosic. Typical sedimentary structures displayed by the shoreface and tidal channel facies include burrows, clay drapes, hummocky and herringbone cross stratications, whereas the uvial channel sandstone facies are dominated by massive and planar cross beddings. The tidal marsh to coastal swamp shales and ferruginised siltstone facies are fossiliferous and bioturbated, whereas the nonmarine swamp siltstones contain vegetal imprints and lignite interbeds. The overbank claystone facies are massive and kaolinitic. In the study area, a regressive to transgressive model is proposed for the Patti Formation. This model correlates with stratigraphically equivalent sediments of the Ajali and Mamu Formations in the adjacent Anambra Basin to a great extent. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction The northwest southeastern trending Bida Basin forms one of the major inland sedimentary basins in Nigeria (Fig. 1). It is a shallow, linear depression with sedimentary ll of about 3,000 m thick (Udensi and Osazuwa, 2004). Geological developments in the basin in terms of basin evolution and structural features have been discussed by many authors. King (1950) and Kennedy (1965) described the Bida Basin as a rift bounded tensional structure produced by faulting associated with the Benue Trough system and break up of the Gondwana. Landsat imageries analysis by Kogbe

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: (O.J. Ojo). 0195-6671/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2009.08.006

et al. (1981) indicates that the southern Bida Basin is controlled by NW-SE trending faults which supports a rift model. The existence of a deep seated central positive anomaly anked by negative anomalies typical of rift structure was conrmed by the geophysical study of Ojo and Ajakaiye (1989). Whiteman (1982) proposed that the Bida Basin is a post-Santonian shallow cratonic sag whilst Braide (1992) suggests the idea of pull-apart origin for the basin. The rst major work in the Bida Basin with focus on stratigraphy and sedimentology is that of Adeleye (1973,1974). Other previous studies include Jan du Chene et al. (1978), Mebradu et al. (1986) and Agyingi (1993), who assigned Campanian to Maastrichtian age to the argillaceous rocks in the southern Bida Basin. Ojo and Akande (2008) proposed a more denite Maastrichtian age for the shaleclaystone of the Patti Formation based on pollen/spores and dinoagellates. The origin and sedimentological features of the Agbaja

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Fig. 1. a, Map of Nigeria showing NW/SE trending Bida Basin; b, Geological map of study area after Agyingi (1991) showing locations of studied sections.

Ironstone and the Lokoja Formation have been well discussed and published (Ladipo et al., 1994; Abimbola et al., 1999; Ojo and Akande, 2003). The Upper Cretaceous sequences in the northern Bida Basin have also been investigated (Olugbemiro and Nwajide, 1997; Olaniyan and Olobaniyi, 1996). It is noteworthy that the outcrop locations, sedimentological characteristics, petrography, and depositional environments of the Patti Formation have not been well-documented and published and, therefore, form the focus of the present study. The only previous work in this regard is that of Agyingi (1991), in which he interpreted the Patti sediments as meandering river sediments. The reasons for this limited interpretation and hitherto poor and low level of knowledge that

perhaps may be attributed to lack of detail mapping, poor coverage, and few available surface sections. 2. Regional stratigraphic setting Previous reports on the lithostratigraphic differentiations are controversial. In his pioneer work, Falconer (1911) described the Upper Cretaceous strata in the entire Bida Basin as the Lokoja Series, whereas Russ (1930) referred to them as the Nupe Group. Jones (1958) subdivided the sediments into northern and southern Bida Basins. Those in the southern Bida Basin comprise the Campanian to Maastrichtian Lokoja and Patti Formations. The Patti Formation is

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Fig. 2. Regional stratigraphic successions in the Bida Basin and restored NW-SE-S stratigraphic relationships from the Bida Basin to the Anambra Basin (Modied after Akande et al., 2005b).

succeeded by Agbaja Ironstone Formation (Adeleye and Dessauvagie, 1972). These are lateral equivalents of the Bida Formation, Sakpe Ironstone, Enagi Silstone, and Batati Ironstone (Fig. 2) in the northern part of the basin. These successions together form lateral equivalents of the Campanian to Maastrichtian Mamu, Ajali, and Nsukka Formations in the adjacent Anambra Basin, a major depocenter in the Lower Benue Trough during the post Santonian sedimentation (Fig. 2). It should be noted that some authors (Jan du Chene et al., 1978; Idowu and Enu, 1992) did not recognize the lithostratigraphic differentiations of Jones (1958) and described the entire Campanian to Maastrichtian sediments in the southern Bida Basin as the Lokoja Sandstone. In the present study and recent ones (Ojo and Akande, 2003; Akande et al., 2005a,b), the authors uphold the subdivision into distinct mappable stratigraphic units in the southern Bida according to Jones (1958) and Agyingi (1991). The basal Lokoja Formation (Campanian) non-conformably overlies the Precambrian to lower Paleozoic crystalline basement rocks. It is exposed mainly between Lokoja and Kotonkar (Fig. 1). The lithologic units in this formation range from conglomerates and sandstones to claystones. They are thought to have been deposited in alluvial fan to shallow marine environments (Ojo and Akande, 2003). Overlying the Lokoja Formation is the Maastrichtian Patti Formation (Fig. 2), which is exposed around and north of Kotonkar and on the Agbaja Plateau. Two members, shale-claystone and sandstone, of the Patti Formation can be distinguished. Jan du Chene et al. (1978) and Agyingi (1993) suggested a Maastrichtian and Campanian to Maastrichtian age for the shale-claystone and sandstone member, respectively. Agyingi (1991) suggested a meandering river model for the Patti sediments and Braide (1992) interpreted the shale-claystone member as nonmarine swamp sediments. Recent paleoecologic studies by Ojo and Akande (2006) show that the basal part of the shale-claystone member represents a period of shallow marine ooding during the Maastrichtian, based on the occurrence of dinoagellate assemblage such as Dinogymnium, Deandrea, and Spiniferites. The Agbaja Formation, which constitutes the uppermost lithostratigraphic unit, directly overlies the Patti Formation on the Agbaja Plateau. It consists of oolitic and concretional ironstone facies. Ladipo et al. (1994) and Mucke et al. (1999) reported that the

ironstones were formed from minor marine reworking of some primary kaolinitic clay particles. 3. Methods and locations This study beneted signicantly from recently constructed Lokoja-Agbaja road, which provides good and fresh exposures of the sandstone member of the Patti Formation hitherto covered by the Agbaja Plateau and its vegetation. Other accessible routes in the study area are Lokoja-Abaji and Gegu-Gerinya highways (Fig. 1). Ten lithostratigraphic sections of the Patti Formation exposed along the traverses above were measured and data on the lithological variations, textures, and sedimentary structures were recorded. These features were used to characterize the sedimentary lithofacies and interpret their depositional environments. Nineteen representative samples of the depositional facies were selected for petrographic and grain size studies. The grain size frequency data (Table 1) were used to complement the paleoenvironmental interpretations.
Table 1 Grain size analysis data of sandstone samples of the Patti Formation, southeastern Bida Basin Sample no. Z1 Z2 Z3 AG1 AG2 AG3 AG4 AG5 AG6 AB1 AB2 AG3 AB4 AB5 AB6 AB7 GR1 GR2 GR3 Skewness 0.81 0.52 0.21 0.21 0.40 0.34 1.4 0.31 0.2 0.10 0.30 0.85 0.10 0.10 0.21 0.20 0.32 0.40 0.42 Stand. D 0.53 0.59 0.48 1.20 0.48 0.53 0.68 0.76 0.59 1.28 1.28 0.62 0.54 0.45 0.50 1.1 0.6 1.56 1.35 Mean size 0.9 1.18 0.61 0.53 1.25 1.8 1.30 1.24 1.40 0.58 1.28 1.0 1.63 0.75 2.00 1.25 0.65 0.88 1.05

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4. Sedimentary facies and depositional environments Detailed descriptions of measured outcrop sections indicate that the Patti Formation was deposited in a wide range of environments. The suite of depositional environments recognized include shoreface, tidal channels, and tidal marsh to coastal swamp. Sedimentary facies corresponding to uvial channels, overbanks, and freshwater swamps were also recorded.

4.1. Shoreface facies association The sandstone facies association of the Patti Formation interpreted as shoreface in the study area are ne to medium grained, well sorted, hummocky cross stratied, and bioturbated. This facies is well represented at the Agbaja, Ozi, and Abaji sections (Figs. 3 and 4). The hummocky cross stratied sandstone facies appears at the middle part of the Agbaja and Ozi sections. The hummocks consist

Fig. 3. Composite lithologic section of the Upper Cretaceous Sequences exposed along Lokoja-Agbaja road. Note the Patti Formation.

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Fig. 4. Lithologic sections of the Patti Formation exposed at (a) Ozi and (b) Abaji.

of cross stratied sets with low angle dips. They have erosionally bound tops and bases and are internally laminated with the laminae parallel to the lower bounding surface (Fig. 5). The thickness of the hummocky cross stratied beds ranges from 2 to 4 m. According to Walker (1990), hummocky cross stratications are generally believed to be associated with storm-enhanced wave action below fair-weather wave base.

The massive bioturbated sandstone facies occur towards the upper parts of the Agbaja and Abaji sections. In these locations, the beds show varying degrees of burrowing, from strongly bioturbated to sparingly bioturbated (Fig. 6). At Agbaja, the dominant trace fossil is that of Thalassinoides, whereas at Abaji Ophiomorpha dominates. The sandstone beds in which the burrows are well preserved are ferruginised.

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Fig. 5. Hummocky cross stratied sandstone facies of the Patti Formation exposed at (a) Agbaja (arrow) and (b) Ozi (HCS).

Fig. 6. Bioturbated sandstone facies of the Patti Formation at (a) Agbaja and (b) Abaji. Note the Thallasinoides in 6a and Ophiomorpha burrows (biro) in 6b.

Other associated sedimentary structures in this facies association include convolute beddings, wave ripples, low angle cross laminations, and horizontal laminations (Fig. 7). Minor claystones and siltstone interbeds and interlaminae are also present. Taylor and Lovell (1991) observed that such parallel laminated sandstones may indicate that the grain size of the sands being moved and reworked on the sea-oor below the fair-weather wave base was too large to form hummocky cross stratication under storm wave inuence, thus forming upper ow regime, parallel laminated sands instead. Generally, the facies association is interpreted as transgressive ll of incised valleys (Castle, 2001; Castle and Brynes, 2004). The ne grained sandstone and interbeds of siltstone and claystones may represent low energy deposition under the inuence of wave in shallow marine environments. 4.2. Tidal channel facies The tidal channel facies consist of well sorted to moderately sorted, ne to medium grained sandstone and minor coarse to very coarse grained sandstones characterized by bi-directional current features. They are frequent, occurring in almost all the sections studied (Figs. 3 and 4). These sandstone facies are commonly interbedded with the shoreface facies and the uvial channel lls. The sandstones show herringbone cross bedding and reactivation surfaces (Fig. 8). Herringbone cross beddings indicate reversals in current direction typical of tidal regimes (Klein, 1970). Reactivation surfaces have also been described from tidal environments as a result of lee-face modication of the bedforms by surbodinate tidal currents (Elliott and Gardiner, 1981; Ladipo, 1986). Other

observed sedimentary structures are trough cross bedding, planar cross bedding and clay drapes. Minor vertical and horizontal burrows are present in some of the beds. In this facies association, the sandstone beds locally grade nely upward. This sequence perhaps represents progadation of tide dominated shoreline environment (Amireh, 1997).

4.3. Tidal marsh to coastal swamp facies association This facies association, which represents part of the shaleclaystone member of the Patti Formation, has no regional extent, rather it is restricted to the Ahoko Acheni areas of the southern Bida Basin (Fig. 1). At the Ahoko section (Fig. 9), where lithologic units of this facies association are well represented at the lower part, they consist of fossiliferous, dark grey to black carbonaceous shale, fossiliferous and ferruginised siltstone, bioturbated and concretional ironstone (Fig. 10). The shales contain imprints of marine bivalves. According to Ojo and Akande (2006), shallow marine dinoagellates such as Dinogymnium, Senegalinium and Spiniferites recovered from the shales suggest shallow marine ooding. The laminated ferruginised siltstone subfacies contain well preserved whole mollusk shells belonging to the class bivalvia (Fig. 10). The bioturbated ferruginous facies is dominated by Ophiomorpha burrows. The physical and the biogenic features of these lithofacies suggest deposition processes dominated by suspension settling mode in a quiet low energy, nearshore marine swamps, contrary to the nonmarine lacustrine environment suggested by Braide (1992),

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Fig. 7. Convolute beddings (CB) with low angle cross laminations and wave ripples (Wr) in the ne-medium grained sandstone of the Patti Formation at Agbaja.

Fig. 8. Herringbone cross stratied sandstone facies of the Patti Formation at (a) Agbaja (arrow) and (b) Ozi (notebook).

and oodplain associated with meandering stream model proposed by Agyingi (1991). 4.4. Fluvial channel facies association The sandstone facies association in the study area interpreted as uvial channel facies consists of medium grained to very coarse grained sandstone, conglomeratic sandstone, and minor ne grained sandstone. They are exposed at Gerinya and also represented at the lower part of the Abaji section (Figs. 4 and 11). The thickness of the sandstones beds range from 0.5 m to 15 m. The grains are generally poorly sorted. Massive, graded bedding, and unidirectional planar cross bedding occur commonly (Fig. 12). The sandstone generally nes upward with channel lag deposits on erosional surface and through a medium to coarse grained sandstone, and terminates with siltstone and claystones (Fig. 11). The ning upward cycles and the unidirectional cross bedding suggest a uvial origin for this facies (Miall, 1990; Bridge and Diemmer, 1983). 4.5. Nonmarine swamp/overbank facies association This facies, which consists of claystones, siltstones, shales, and lignites, is well represented around the Ahoko, Idu, and Gerinya areas (Fig. 1). In these areas, they occur towards the upper parts of the sections. The claystones are kaolinitic, massive bedded to thinly laminated, and white to cream in colour. Their thickness ranges from 1 to 10 m in the outcrops studied. At the Ahoko quarry, the claystone is being worked. The siltstone ranges from brown to dark grey and frequently is parallel laminated and

interbedded with the claystones and shales. In some cases, it grades upward into sandy siltstone. At Ahoko, Geheku, and Idu, the siltstones are rich in vegetal remains and coaly particles. At Idu, the sandy siltstones contain interbeds of thin lignites and shales (Fig. 12c). The predominant argillaceous and ne grained strata in this facies association indicate a low-energy environment. Absence of marine fossils and burrows coupled with the abundance of structured vegetal remains, which are land-derived in the shales and siltstones, suggest prevalence of fresh water in this low-energy environment. The lignites, shales, and siltstones are interpreted as representing a vast oodplain with rich vegetation, drowned during the wanning stages of the river and forming a nonmarine swamp (Abed, 1982; Umeji, 2002). The kaolinitic claystones are interpreted as overbank deposits.

5. Grain size distribution and paleoenvironmental implications Several authors have highlighted and discussed the utility of grain size analysis in the reconstruction of paleoenvironments (Friedman, 1961,1979; Visher, 1969; Olugbemiro and Nwajide, 1997). However, the failure of size parameters as paleoenvironmental indicators has been noted in some studies (Solohub and Klovan, 1970; Amaral and Pryor, 1977), where it was suggested that it should be combined with other sedimentological attributes. Selley (1985) and Tucker (1988) also observed that particle size analysis can be employed to differentiate between sediments of different environments and facies to provide information on

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Fig. 9. Lithologic sections and facies interpretation of the Patti Formation at (a) Ahoko and (b) Idu.

depositional process when combined with other parameters, e.g,. sedimentary structures. Therefore, in this study, representative sandstone samples from each sedimentary depositional facies were selected for grain size analysis to reinforce the earlier inferences drawn from lithofacies association and sedimentary structures in the sections studied. Sandstone samples of the shoreface and tidal channel facies at Agbaja and Ozi are predominantly medium grained, moderately sorted, and negatively skewed (Table 1). Okoro (1995) reported that negative skewness gives indication of marine reworking in the continental shelf settings. At Gerinya, samples of the uvial channel sandstones are coarse to very coarse grained, poorly sorted, and positively skewed. Bivariate plots of the grain size parameters (skewness versus standard deviation and mean size versus standard deviation) were plotted (Fig. 13). The plots indicate that the studied samples of the shoreface and tidal channel sandstones at

Agbaja and Ozi areas were deposited in a moderate energy regime with constant reworking by waves similar to a beach (Friedman, 1961,1979). It is interesting to note that samples of the uvial channel sandstone facies at Gerinya plotted well within the uvial eld. The prevalence of poorly sorted sandstones and unimodal grain size variation suggest low energy unidirectional uvial system of deposition. These observations lend credence to the paleoenvironmental deductions based on lithosome characters and sedimentary structures presented above. 6. Paleogeography The depositional processes suggested by the assemblage of sedimentary structures present in the lithofacies association of the Patti Formation range from regressive (uvial) to transgressive (marine) processes. The sandstone facies association characterized

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Fig. 10. Rhythmically bedded fractured shale, ferruginous and fossiliferous siltstones and concretional ironstones. Tip of burrow points to a bivalve shell within the ferruginised siltstone (lower part). Note the concretional ironstone (arrow).

by hummocky cross stratication (HCS), herringbone cross stratications, reactivation surfaces, and clay drapes in the study area provide evidence of tidal currents and deposition by oscillatory ow conditions in tide and wave dominated shoreline environments (DeCelles, 1987; DeCelles and Cavazza, 1992; Colguhoun, 1995). Other notable features of the tidal channel and shoreface facies include wave ripple cross lamination and Ophiomorpha and Thalassinoides burrows, which further support the uctuating shallow marine environments (Howard, 1972). The above scenario closely compares with the Maastrichtian shallow marine conditions that largely inuenced the sedimentation of the well-known Ajali and Mamu Formations in the adjacent Anambra basin, southeastern Nigeria. Several authors (Ladipo, 1986,1988; Reijers, 1996) have advanced shallow marine intertidal depositional environments for the Ajali Formation, based on similar sedimentary features identied in the present study area. It is remarkable that sandstones of the Patti and Ajali Formations share common textural attributes, that is, they are both moderate to well sorted. The textural and mineralogical maturity of the these tidal and shoreface sandstone facies of the Patti Formation indicate that some of the particles could have passed through second cycle of transportation and probably derived from adjacent Anambra Basin. Low energy, shallow marine depositional environments are also well-represented in the study area by the tidal marsh to coastal swamp facies association. This facies consists of fossiliferous shales, siltstones, and ironstones, which have been differentiated and classied as the shale-claystone member of the Patti Formation.

Fig. 11. Lithologic section and facies interpretation of the Patti Formation exposed at Gerinya.

This lithofacies assemblage is similar in part also to the Mamu Formation in the Anambra Basin. Biostratigraphic studies by the authors (Ojo and Akande, 2006) have revealed the occurrence of shallow marine dinoagellate cysts similar to assemblages described by Salami (1990) from the Mamu Formation. This further support the idea of regional correlation, that part of the Patti Formation was deposited in marginal marine to brackish water conditions similar to the depositional environments of the Maastrichtian Mamu and Ajali Formations. The above inferences point to the fact that perhaps there was at least marginal marine connection between the Bida and Anambra Basins during Maastrichtian time

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Abaji Gerinya Ozi



-4.0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6


Agbaja Abaji Gerinya





0.5 0.1 0.5 0.9 1.3 1.7 2.1 2.5

Standard Deviation
Fig. 13. Bivariate plots of (a) skewness versus standard deviation and (b) mean versus standard deviation.

7. Conclusions 1. The Maastrichtian Patti Formation in the southern Bida Basin consists of sandstone and shale-claystone members deposited in a wide range of environments ranging from uvial to marine. 2. Three sedimentary depositional facies comprising of shoreface, tidal channel, and tidal marsh to coastal swamp are recognized in the study area. Freshwater sedimentary depositional facies such as uvial channel, swamp, and overbank were also documented. 3. The sandstone of the shoreface and tidal channel facies are generally ne to medium grained, well sorted, and friable. Herringbone and hummocky cross stratication and bioturbations are the common sedimentary structures. The coastal swamp facies consist of fossiliferous shale and ironstones, whereas the nonmarine swamp consists of lignite, sandy siltstone, and coaly shale. 4. Generally the uvial channel sandstones are characterized by poor sorting and unidirectional cross bedding. The overbank claystones, which are kaolinitic, are very prominent in the study area. Acknowledgements The authors are grateful to the University of Ilorin for the Senate Reasearch Grant and sponsorship of the Geology of Nigeria Field programme at various times during which the eld aspect of this

Fig. 12. a, Massive, coarse to pebbly, uvial channel sandstone facies of the Patti Formation exposed at Gerinya; b, Vertically fractured siltstone and claystone (nonmarine, swamp/overbank) facies at Gerinya (one of the men touches the fracture); c, Sandy siltstone and thin lignite bed (Head of Hammer) exposed at Idu area.

and this could be the link between the Tran Saharan Sea and the Gulf of Guinea in the Late Cretaceous. The offshore to landward transition in the study area is indicated by the presence of uvial facies associations, such as the uvial channel sandstones and overbank claystones in the study area. Further evidence of nonmarine swamps is provided by the occurrence of lignites and sandy siltstones that are rich in large, structured, vegetal remains in some parts of the study area. On the basis of the detailed facies analysis, we conrm the inuence of uvial processes in the sedimentation of parts of the Patti Formation, as envisaged by previous workers (Braide, 1992; Agyingi, 1991).

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work was undertaken. Our appreciation also goes to the Kogi State Police Command for their permission and protection in the studied area. Ola Sayomi of Aegis Technologies, Ilorin, is appreciated for the technical assistance in drafting the gures. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers, whose comments, have greatly improved the quality of this article.

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