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AAPG Bulletin, V.
Control of normal fault interaction on the distribution of major Neogene sedimentary depocenters, Lake Tanganyika, East African rift
Kiram E. Lezzar,1 Jean-Jacques Tiercelin,2 Caroline Le Turdu,3 Andrew. S. Cohen,4 David J. Reynolds,5 Bernard Le Gall,6 Christopher A. Scholz7
1UMR 6538 Domaines Oceaniques, Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzane, France; current address: Department of Earth Sciences, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244; email: [email protected]
2UMR 6538 Domaines Oceaniques, Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzane, France; email: [email protected]
3UMR 6538 Domaines Oceaniques, Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzane, France; current address: Elf Petroleum Norge AS, Dusavik, P.O. Box 168N, Stavanger, Norway; email: [email protected]
4Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721; email: [email protected]
5Exxon Production Research Company, P.O. Box 2189, Houston, Texas, 77252-2189; email: [email protected]
6UMR 6538 Domaines Oceaniques, Institut Universitaire Europeen de la Mer, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzane, France; email: blegall@univ_brest.fr
7Department of Earth Sciences, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244; email: [email protected]
Kiram E. Lezzar received an M.S. degree in marine geosciences (DEA 1991) and a Ph.D. (1997) from the University of Western Brittany in Brest, France. His Ph.D. topic was the tectonics and stratigraphy of the northern Lake Tanganyika rift basin. Since 1998, he has been a research associate in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, New York. His main research is concentrated on reflection seismic analysis (structure and stratigraphy) of the East African rift great lakes, such as Tanganyika, Malawi, Albert, and Edward. He is also the limnogeology mentor of the Nyanza Project (since 1999), a National Science Foundation-funded research training program in tropical lake studies in East Africa, open to undergraduates, graduate students, and secondary school teachers.
Jean-Jacques Tiercelin is research director in the CNRS/IUEM at the University of Western Brittany in Plouzane, France. He received his Doctorat d'Etat from the Aix-Marseille II University in 1981. He has worked on the sedimentology and tectonics of various lake basins in the East African rift system from Ethiopia down to Botswana.
Caroline Le Turdu is an account manager for France and eastern Europe at Technoguide in Oslo, Norway. She received her Ph.D. in structural geology from the University of Western Brittany in Brest, France, in 1998. After a two-year postdoctorate at Elf Petroleum Norge in Stavanger, Norway, she joined Technoguide, a provider of advanced software for 3-D modeling of oil and gas reservoirs.
Andy S. Cohen is a professor of geosciences and joint professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. He is interested in rift lake history and paleolimnology.
David J. Reynolds is a senior research specialist at ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company. He received his B.A. degree from Princeton University, an M.S. degree from Duke University, and a Ph.D. from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. His research interests include rift tectonics and structural modeling.
Bernard Le Gall received his Ph.D. in 1983 and his HDR (research director) in 1995 from the University of Western Brittany (UBO/CNRS-Brest). Since 1995, he has been studying extensional deformation in the active rift system of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania), and in the Karoo rifted zone of Botswana and South Africa.
Christopher A. Scholz is an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University. His research focus is on the sequence stratigraphy and basin analysis of rift systems and large lakes.
This article represents parts of Kiram Lezzar's and Caroline Le Turdu's Ph.D. dissertations at the Doctoral School of Marine Geosciences UMR 6538 of the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France, and benefited from the assistance of several research projects: the Casimir Project of the Royal Museum of Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium); the Tanganydro Project; and the 3D-3G Project of the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest. Research permits in Zaire (currently the Democratic Republic of Congo) were provided by the Ministere de l'Energie, Commission Nationale l'Energie and in Burundi by the Faculte des Sciences, Universite du Burundi. The Ministere de l'Education National at Algiers, Algeria, granted in 1991 a Ph.D. scholarship to K. E. Lezzar. This work was funded by grants from the Casimir Project, Elf Aquitaine Production, AAPG Grant-in-Aid 1997 to C. Le Turdu and K. E. Lezzar, Elf Petroleum Norge AS (3D-3G Project; grant to J.-J. Tiercelin, principal coordinator), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, INSU-CNRS (France), and the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale (SUCRI). We would like to thank the coordinator of this AAPG special issue, John Underhill, for his patience and great help during a long period of revision. Thanks also to our three reviewers, Bruce Trudgill, Christopher Morley, and Patience Cowie, for their immense and essential input; they provided extremely helpful guidance and advice to improve the quality of the submitted manuscript. Thanks also to Max Fernandez-Alonso, Karel Theunissen, Joel Rolet, and Christophe Coussement for helpful discussions and suggestions. Special thanks to Elf Aquitaine Production for providing access to the Georift Project database. Thanks to Bernadette Coleno for her assistance in preparation of illustrations and to Peter Cattaneo for his helpful advice to solve computer system and software problems. We express our gratitude to the management of Elf Petroleum Norge AS for having authorized this publication. We thank the National Science Foundation (Grant #ATM-9619458 Nyanza Project) for financial support of this research. This article is publication #128 of the International Decade of East African Lakes (IDEAL) program.
The Tanganyika continental rift basin is one of the most important structural features of the East African rift system and provides an opportunity to observe the early stages of rift basin development unobscured by postrift deformation and erosion. The geometry of half grabens and their zones of linkage have a great influence on rift development and depositional environments. Topographic features associated with zones of linkage between half grabens exert a direct control on drainage basin evolution, sediment supply, and synrift stratigraphy. Previous structural studies, based on widely spaced (~15 km) seismic reflection profiles, focused mainly on large-scale geometrical fault descriptions and not on the spatial and temporal linkage of the individual border faults controlling each half graben. In this article, using newly available basin age estimates, multichannel seismic reflection data, high-resolution single-channel sparker seismic data, and onshore structural data (remote directioning and microstructural field observations), we have constructed a detailed late Miocene-Holocene kinematic model for the evolution of the northern part of the Lake Tanganyika rift basin. A classification of fault interaction geometry is proposed to describe the initiation and development through time of major depocenters. Fault correlation lessons are provided for exploration seismic interpreters in extensional settings. The development of the depocenters of northern Lake Tanganyika is complex, and this article clearly shows that antecedent structures control subbasin initiation and development. As the rift evolves, border faults become dominant, producing more continuous and elongate depocenters, although the influence of transverse structures is still evident.
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