Unique Application of Detrital Geochronology to Constrain Depositional Ages and Assess the Hydrocarbon Potential of the Rukwa Rift Basin, East African Rift System
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences / Geology / Sedimentology, Geochronology, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
As one of the next hydrocarbon frontiers, East Africa hosts rift systems with characteristics that encourage hydrocarbon generation, including deep basins with high sediment accumulation, and high heat flow promoting thermal maturation in young rift fill strata. This research aims to reconstruct the temporal and spatial development of rifting, uplift and sedimentation in the Rukwa Rift Basin (RRB), a key segment of the Western Branch of the East African Rift System. The RRB is currently the focus of renewed hydrocarbon exploration and is also a rich archive of tectonic and environmental change over the last 25 My. Applying now standard approaches to detrital zircon geochronology to the investigation of petroleum exploration wells has great potential for refining depositional ages of continental sedimentary basins, which are often notorious for ambiguous biostratigraphy and poor age constraint. Successful pilot zircon ages acquired from the RRB by the author make this a compelling location for applying these new analytical approaches to investigate sedimentary provenance and strata age. Improved age constraint and sedimentology of stratigraphic units in the rift is fundamental to assessing the hydrocarbon potential of the RRB. This project will specifically focus on detailed sedimentology and U/Pb detrital zircon and apatite geochronology of samples collected from two deep exploration wells (Ivuna-1 and Galula-1) in the RRB to: 1) systematically constrain maximum depositional ages through the stratigraphy and resolve conflicting biostratigraphic data; 2) determine the timing of rift initiation and sedimentation rates; and 3) better constrain the depositional environments in the RRB through time.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90199 © 2014 AAPG Foundation 2014 Grants-in-Aid Projects