The geophysical signatures of the West African Craton

Mark Jessell, Graham Begg, M.S. Miller

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    © 2015 Elsevier B.V. This paper examines existing and newly compiled geophysical representations of the West African Craton (WAC) in terms of its large-scale tectonic architecture. In order to build an interpretation with a significant depth extent we draw upon a range of geophysical data, principally seismic tomographic inversions, receiver functions, gravity and magnetics. We present these results as a series of layers providing a series of depth slices though the cratonic lithosphere. The different geophysical methods suggest partitioning of the WAC into two tectonic elements at the largest scale which is observed in both seismic tomographic images, lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary (LAB) models and long wavelength gravity signals. The different models of the Moho, or crust-mantle boundary, based on these gravity or seismic datasets show little or no correlation, either for short or long-wavelength features, and show little correlation with new receiver function inferred crustal thickness estimates. Manual interpretation of low-wavelength gravity and magnetic data suggest a possible continuation of the WAC across the western margin of the modern boundary, and also highlight distinct domains interpreted to be of Birimian age.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-24
    Number of pages22
    JournalPrecambrian Research
    Early online date13 Aug 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


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