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Tectonic Map of Africa

Published in november 2010
Scale 1:10 000 000
Total surface: 127 x 106 cm
Mercator Projection at the Equator. Datum: WGS84 Central Meridian: 20°E
English Legend
©CGMW 2010

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The first edition of the Tectonic Map of Africa dates back to 1968, i.e. before the full elaboration, then acceptance, of the paradigm of plate tectonics. The second edition at the scale of 1:10 million of the Tectonic Map of Africa is the result of a quarter of a century of collaboration involving an important number of scientists from European and African geological surveys and universities, supported in their efforts by two French companies, Total and Areva.

This new edition takes into account the most recent developments in Earth sciences with ever more precise and profuse radiometric dating of Archean and Proterozoic formations, on the one hand, and a better knowledge of the structure of the great African sedimentary basins coming from the oil exploration, on the other.

Among the main cartographic themes, it is worth to mention the following:

  1. The representation of the successive orogenic systems: Archean, Eburnean-Paleoprotorozoic, Kibarian-Mesoproterozoic, Panafrican-Neoproterozoic, Variscan- Cap Fold Belt, Atlas-Alpine Orogen. An original mode of representation allows indicating the age of the reworkings endured by the formations during subsequent orogenic phases. Conversely, this mode of representation can also indicate remnants of a former orogenic phase.
  2. The great magmatic outpourings during post-paleozoic times corresponding to hotspots activity: CAMP (Central Atlantic Magmatic Province), Karoo, Etendeka (related to the Parana traps in South America), Madagascar volcanism, Ethiopia traps and the volcanism linked to the Great East-African rift, as well as other Cenozoic volcanics disseminated in Africa. Younger granites are also figured.
  3. Special attention was paid to representing the large sedimentary basins shaped from the Archean up to the Cenozoic. A specific color was attributed to the age of the initiation of the basin: Archean, Paleoproterozoic, Mesoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic + Paleozoic (south), Proterozoic (north), Cambrian-Ordovician, Silurian-Carboniferous, Carboniferous-Jurassic (Karoo), Meso-Cenozoic in which are distinguished the basins with a maximum subsidence during the Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Cenozoic. In addition, with the exception of Archean to Mesoproterozoic and Cambrian-Ordovican basins, the other chronological units are represented with their isopachs. Moreover, when the Cenozoic cover thickness (or Cretaceous to Cenozoic) of an older basin is less than 1 000 m, it is shown by a scattering of superimposed dots.
  4. As concerns the African continental margins whose importance is well known for oil and gas deposits exploration, the approximate limit between continental and ocean crust, and the isopachs (every 1 000 m) of the sedimentary filling are also figured. The Niger delta represents a special case with part of its onshore built on a Cretaceous oceanic crust and a sedimentary accumulation over 10 km thick.

In conclusion, this map constitutes a major improvement in the representation of the tectonic and structural knowledge of the African continent, both for the extent of innovative data compiled, and the original way of representation that it required. This map should be of utmost interest for professional geologists (oil research, basement studies, geodynamics, …) and for academics and their students.

  • Length 106 cm
  • Width 127 cm
  • Weight 0.145 kg
  • Scale 1:10 000 000