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Thermal history and basin evolution of the Moatize - Minjova Coal Basin (N'Condédzi sub-basin, Mozambique) constrained by organic maturation levels


Galasso, Francesca; Fernandes, Paulo; Montesi, Giovanni; Marques, João; Spina, Amalia; Pereira, Zélia (2019). Thermal history and basin evolution of the Moatize - Minjova Coal Basin (N'Condédzi sub-basin, Mozambique) constrained by organic maturation levels. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 153:219-238.

Abstract

Kerogen concentrates obtained from Lopingian (Late Permian) to Upper Triassic mudrock lithologies of seven coal exploration boreholes, drilled in the Moatize – Minjova Coal Basin (N'Condédzi sub-basin, Mozambique), were studied by means of vitrinite reflectance (VR), spore fluorescence and spore colour, in order to constrain the thermal history and basin evolution by organic maturation levels. VR increases with depth, indicating organic maturation related to sediment burial for most of the boreholes. Modelled VR data indicate a regional palaeogeothermal gradient between 35 and 40 °C/km. Lower Jurassic doleritic intrusions observed in three boreholes had only local thermal effects without affecting the regional palaeogeothermal gradient. Two boreholes located near the basin margin show high palaeogeothermal gradients suggesting thermal processes other than heating due to burial were involved. These processes may have involved hot diagenetic fluids circulating through fault zones and/or permeable lithologies, locally elevating geothermal gradients. Circulation of these fluids was induced by lithostatic pressure due to rapid rates of sedimentation. These high sedimentation rates lead to the accumulation of a thick succession (over 2000 m) of Lopingian (Late Permian) to Upper Triassic siliciclastic sediments. All the organic maturation indices measured and the age of the successions indicate that organic maturation occurred during or after Late Triassic times. However, the presence of reworked Permian palynomorphs into Upper Triassic sediments and the absence of Middle Triassic sediments indicate an exhumation and erosion of Permian strata in Middle Triassic times. The organic maturation levels of the reworked palynomorph population are considerably higher than the indigenous Upper Triassic population, indicating that they attained higher burial temperatures prior to being reworked.

Abstract

Kerogen concentrates obtained from Lopingian (Late Permian) to Upper Triassic mudrock lithologies of seven coal exploration boreholes, drilled in the Moatize – Minjova Coal Basin (N'Condédzi sub-basin, Mozambique), were studied by means of vitrinite reflectance (VR), spore fluorescence and spore colour, in order to constrain the thermal history and basin evolution by organic maturation levels. VR increases with depth, indicating organic maturation related to sediment burial for most of the boreholes. Modelled VR data indicate a regional palaeogeothermal gradient between 35 and 40 °C/km. Lower Jurassic doleritic intrusions observed in three boreholes had only local thermal effects without affecting the regional palaeogeothermal gradient. Two boreholes located near the basin margin show high palaeogeothermal gradients suggesting thermal processes other than heating due to burial were involved. These processes may have involved hot diagenetic fluids circulating through fault zones and/or permeable lithologies, locally elevating geothermal gradients. Circulation of these fluids was induced by lithostatic pressure due to rapid rates of sedimentation. These high sedimentation rates lead to the accumulation of a thick succession (over 2000 m) of Lopingian (Late Permian) to Upper Triassic siliciclastic sediments. All the organic maturation indices measured and the age of the successions indicate that organic maturation occurred during or after Late Triassic times. However, the presence of reworked Permian palynomorphs into Upper Triassic sediments and the absence of Middle Triassic sediments indicate an exhumation and erosion of Permian strata in Middle Triassic times. The organic maturation levels of the reworked palynomorph population are considerably higher than the indigenous Upper Triassic population, indicating that they attained higher burial temperatures prior to being reworked.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Geology
Physical Sciences > Earth-Surface Processes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes, Geology
Language:English
Date:1 May 2019
Deposited On:11 Feb 2021 13:22
Last Modified:16 Feb 2021 16:44
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1464-343X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2019.02.020

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