Geology, zircon U–Pb dating and εHf data for the Julie greenstone belt and associated rocks in NW Ghana: Implications for Birimian-to-Tarkwaian correlation and crustal evolution

Samuel Nunoo, Axel Hofmann, Jan Kramers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The Julie greenstone belt of NW Ghana is characterized by a predominately volcanic succession of basalt with minor rhyolite and a mainly sedimentary succession of siltstone, shale and greywacke. The first unit is correlated with the Sefwi Group, and the second with the Kumasi Group of the Birimian Supergroup. The volcano-sedimentary succession is separated by a sheared unconformable contact from clastic sedimentary rocks, including sandstones and conglomerates, correlated with the Tarkwaian Group of Ghana. The supracrustal rocks are intruded by various granitoids. Two major deformational events have been identified. A regional N–S shortening event (D1) affected rocks of the Birimian Supergroup and associated granitoids. A later NW-SE shortening event (D2) affected both the Birimian and Tarkwaian units. Rocks have undergone regional greenschist to amphibolite facies metamorphism. Peak metamorphism took place during D2. Several samples of igneous and sedimentary rocks were subjected to U–Pb zircon dating and Lu–Hf isotope analyses. All zircons provided Paleoproterozoic ages in the range of 2112 ± 5 to 2337 ± 11 Ma, which is consistent with existing zircon ages from volcanic and plutonic rocks in various parts of Ghana, and other Birimian and Tarkwaian terrains within the West African Craton. Rhyolite of the Sefwi Group has an age of 2182 ± 3 Ma and marks a period of explosive felsic volcanism. Detrital zircon ages from greywacke of the Kumasi Group yield a maximum depositional age of 2158 ± 4 Ma. This age compares well to a maximum depositional age of 2154 ± 2 Ma defined in southern Ghana. Zircon ages from Tarkwaian sandstones indicate a maximum depositional age of 2135 ± 5 Ma, which is in accord with similar depositional ages for the Tarkwaian in SW Ghana and Houndé in Burkina-Faso. Thus the Tarkwaian rocks from the Julie greenstone belt area are correlative to those in SW Ghana and elsewhere. Detrital zircon ages point to a derivation from erosion of felsic volcanic and plutonic rocks within the Paleoproterozoic terrain. Detrital zircon ages of Birimian and Tarkwaian rocks show a ∼70% overlap. This suggest that the Tarkwaian detritus may have been derived from reworking of older Birimian rocks. Alternatively, both groups sampled a similar source but were deposited at different periods. Dated granitoids include a 2209 ± 5 Ma phase and a post-Tarkwaian intrusion of 2112 ± 5 Ma in age. The older granitoid is in sheared contact with basalt, and both share similar D1 structures. The ϵHf values for zircon grains from analyzed rocks are in the range of −1.78 to +6.37, in agreement with most Hf isotopic signatures currently available from the Paleoproterozoic Baoulé-Mossi Domain, and indicate crust components with apparent mantle derivation ages averaging c. 2300 Ma and ranging from c. 2100 to c. 2500 Ma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104444
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Birimian
  • Julie greenstone belt
  • Lu–Hf isotopes
  • Tarkwaian
  • U–Pb geochronology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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