Geological Features and Crustal Structure of the Cretaceous Middle Benue Trough, Nigeria: Insights from Detailed Analysis and Modelling of Magnetic and Gravity Data

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Goodluck Kelechukwu Anudu, Randell Stephenson and David Macdonald, University of Aberdeen, Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
The middle Benue Trough is the middle (central) segment of the Nigerian Benue Trough, an intra-continental rift that developed during the second phase of rifting of the Gondwana supercontinent that resulted in the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Guinea and separation of South America from Africa in the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. Airborne magnetic and terrestrial gravity data from the area have been analysed and modelled in detail. Results obtained using a variety of edge enhancement (derivative) methods applied to high-resolution, airborne magnetic data reveal widespread magmatic intrusions (mainly volcanic/sub-volcanic rocks, with an areal extent greater than 12000 km2) and numerous geological structures. Rose (azimuth frequency) plots show that the geological structural trends are predominantly NE – SW, NW – SE and ESE – WNW with minor ENE –WSW/N – S trends and thus suggest that the area has undergone several phases of tectonic deformation at different geological times. Integrated two-dimensional (2-D) gravity and magnetic modelling along five profiles constrained by 2-D magnetic depth-to-source estimates and available seismological velocity models indicates the presence of a number of distinct crustal bodies and thin crust. Moho depth varies from ca. 21 – 29 km, while the crustal thickness ranges between ca. 19 and 29 km. Shallower Moho and thinner crust are observed along the trough axis. Results from the study also reveal that the amount of crustal thinning and crustal stretching factor (β) across the area varies from 3.3 – 14.5 km and 1.11 – 1.78, respectively. Broad positive to near positive Bouguer gravity anomalies in the region of the trough axis are due to the combined effects of dense (intermediate to basic) magmatic intrusions (both intra-sedimentary and intra-basement/crustal ones), shallow basement horsts (basement uplift zones) and thin crust replaced by dense abnormal upper mantle bodies. Reactivated intra-basement structures and/or shear zones appear to have controlled the emplacement of elongated (NE-SW trending) high density magmatic (igneous) bodies along the basement-trough’s margins.