Late Archaean foreland basin deposits, Belingwe greenstone belt, Zimbabwe

A. Hofmann, P. H.G.M. Dirks, H. A. Jelsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The c. 2.65 Ga old sedimentary Cheshire Formation of the Belingwe greenstone belt (BDB), central Zimbabwe, has been studied in detail for the first time to shed some light on the much debated evolution of this classical belt. The Cheshire Formation rests sharply on a mafic volcanic unit (Zeederbergs Formation) and comprise a basal, eastward-sloping carbonate ramp sequence built of shallowing-upward, metre-scale sedimentary cycles. The cycles strongly resemble Proterozoic and Phanerozoic carbonate cycles and might have formed by small-scale eustatic sea level changes. The top of the carbonate ramp is represented by a karst surface. The carbonates are overlain by and grade laterally to the east into deeper water (sub-wave base) siliciclastic facies. Conglomerate, shale and minor sandstone were deposited by high-to low-density turbidity currents and were derived from the erosion of Zeederbergs-like volcanic rocks from the east. Shortley after deposition, the Cheshire Formation and underlying volcanic were affected by a northwest-directed thrusting event. Thrusting gave rise to the deformation of semi consolidated sediments and resulted in the jux taposition of a thrust slice of Zeederbergs basalts onto Cheshire sediments. The stratigraphy, asymmetric facies and sediment thickness distribution, palaeographic constraints and evidence for an early horizontal tectonic event suggest that the Cheshire Formation formed in a foreland-type sedimentary basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-168
Number of pages38
JournalSedimentary Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Archaean
  • Foreland basin
  • Greenstone belt
  • Zimbabwe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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