Kalahari Tectonic Landforms and Processes Beyond the Okavango Graben

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Frank D Eckardt, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, Tyrel Flügel, University of Stellenbosch, Department of Military Geography, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Woody Cotterill, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa, Christie D Rowe, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada and Marty McFarlane, Bosele, Maun, Botswana
The southern African Kalahari basin is generally regarded as a stable shield area which is subject to neotectonic modification along western branches of the East African Rift System (EARS) with much focus having been given to the Okavango Graben and its associated geomorphology. In this study, we look for surface expressions that are indicative of recent to on-going tectonic modification beyond the Okavango region. A number of landforms can be highlighted. These include drainage lines in north eastern Namibia which are aligned along a “horsetail” fracture system, interpreted as the response to an apparent incipient rifting extending west of the Okavango Graben and Gumare fault line. The second region of interest, in north eastern Botswana, is known to house a second lesser graben, centred along the Ntwetwe panhandle but with a wider surface manifestation than previously noted. We can demonstrate that the area north of the Makgadikgadi has been modified by “piano key” type fault blocks. And thirdly, structural modifications to linear dune ridges of the southern central Kalahari manifest faulting, shearing and rotation. These observations raise questions about the extent of tectonic processes operating across the southern African interior and attribute additional processes to Kalahari landforms.