The onset of flysch sedimentation in the Kaoko Belt (NW Namibia) – Implications for the pre-collisional evolution of the Kaoko–Dom Feliciano–Gariep orogen
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Detrital zircon provenance study of a metamorphosed sedimentary succession in the eastern part of the Kaoko Belt in Namibia has revealed two distinct sources for the Neoproterozoic sedimentation along the southwestern Congo Craton margin. The lower part of the succession shows detrital zircon ages consistent with erosion of Paleoproterozoic basement of the Congo Craton with an inferred Mesoproterozoic volcano-sedimentary cover. Within the middle part of the succession, which includes glaciogenic sediments correlated with the Sturtian (717–660 Ma) glaciation, the Mesoproterozoic zircon grains disappear and the signal is dominated by ages known from the Congo Craton basement.
The sedimentation in these parts of the succession is interpreted as related to the early Neoproterozoic rifting. The sedimentary rocks in the top part of the profile contain only subordinate proportion of the Paleoproterozoic–Archaean zircon grains and the populations are dominated by three age groups of ca. 1.0–1.2 Ga, ca. 800–750 Ma and ca. 650 Ma, consistent with erosion of the Punta del Este–Coastal Terrane exposed in the centre of the Kaoko–Dom Feliciano–Gariep orogen. An associated glaciogenic horizon interpreted as reflecting the Marinoan (645–635 Ma) glaciation constrains the sedimentation in the upper part of the succession and suggests a short time span between the high-grade metamorphism/magmatism in the Punta del Este–Coastal Terrane and its exhumation. Sedimentary rocks with such detrital zircon pattern appear also in the Damara and Gariep belts. Their source in the western part of the Kaoko–Dom Feliciano–Gariep orogen suggests that they represent an early orogenic flysch that originated during early collision in the western part of the orogen.
The short time span between the metamorphism/magmatism in the Punta del Este–Coastal Terrane and deposition of the early orogenic flysch derived from it suggests that the Coastal Terrane was never separated from the Congo Craton by an oceanic domain. The estimated time span between the end of lithospheric stretching and sedimentation of the early flysch suggests that the hypothetical Adamastor Ocean separating the western and eastern forelands of the Kaoko–Dom Feliciano–Gariep orogen must have been small.