A new lithostratigraphic framework for the Anti-Atlas Orogen, Morocco

Thomas, Robert James; Fekkak, A.; Ennih, N.; Errami, E.; Loughlin, Susan; Gresse, P.G.; Chevallier, L.P.; Liegeois, J-P.. 2004 A new lithostratigraphic framework for the Anti-Atlas Orogen, Morocco. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 39 (3-5). 217-226.

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A new lithostratigraphic nomenclatural framework is proposed for the Anti-Atlas Orogen of Morocco, to replace the previous chronostratigraphic scheme. All the lithostratigraphic units of the Anti-Atlas Orogen are well represented in the Sirwa, Kerdous and Sarhro inliers and examples from these areas are given prominence, though correlates in other areas are given, where known. The oldest, Palaeoproterozoic, rocks of the cratonic basement form the northern part of the West African Craton and can be subdivided into a series of Complexes (made up of constituent Groups, Suites etc.), depending on geographical outcrop (e.g. the Zenaga and Kerdous Complexes in the Sirwa and Kerdous inliers respectively). The Neoproterozoic rocks deposited on this basement are termed the Anti-Atlas Supergroup, within which five groups of volcano–sedimentary units (Taghdout, Jbel Lkst, Sarhro, Iriri, and Bou Azzer Groups) and various intrusive igneous rocks are recognised (e.g. Ifzwane and Toudma Suites). These units are related to the earliest passive margin, oceanic and island-arc development phases of the orogen between 800 and 660Ma. The earliest Pan-African deformation (at 660Ma) resulted from closure of the ocean basin, SW-directed thrusting and accretion of the island-arc remnants. Continued prolonged convergence gave rise to a sinistral transpressional regime in which late syn- to post-tectonic continental volcanic and clastic sequences of the Ouarzazate Supergroup were deposited. The first rocks of this new tectonic regime were deposited in narrow, tectonically active, strike-slip pull-apart rift basins (Bou Salda, Mgouna, Tafrawt and Anzi Groups) associated with intrusion of high-K calc-alkaline granitoid batholiths (e.g. Assarag, Bardouz Suites) and the juxtaposition of ophiolitic remnants in major strike-slip shear belts. These were followed by the deposition of the much more areally extensive continental volcano–sedimentary molasse, the volcanic components of which were erupted from several interfingering volcanic centres, often associated with caldera complexes and sub-volcanic alkaline granites (Toufhgrane, Tanghourt and Guellaba Suites). The proposed lithostratigraphic scheme encompasses all the major rock units identified in the literature from the orogen and is flexible so that new, lower-ranking, units can be placed at the appropriate stratigraphic level in future. This framework is supported by new high-precision U–Pb zircon dates that have recently become available.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > International
Additional Keywords: Lithostratigraphy, Morocco, Orogenesis
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 13 Jan 2009 10:27 +0 (UTC)

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