Full Title: The African Erosion Surface: A Continental-Scale Synthesis of Geomorphology, Tectonics, and Environmental Change over the Past 180 Million Years
Authors: Kevin Burke, Yanni Gunnell
In this Memoir, Burke and Gunnell draw on anglophone and francophone work to analyze the African continent’s distinctive basin-and-swell topography. Exploring topics such as landforms, bauxites and laterites, fission-track studies, climatic changes, volcanic rock distribution, hotspots, mantle plumes, and rifts, as well as deep and shallow mantle geophysics, ocean floor evolution, continental flooding, and offshore sediment deposition, the authors have pieced together a coherent, continent-wide reconstruction of landscape development during the past 200 million years. Two episodes of continental breakup and the formation of ocean floor were followed by erosion that reduced the continent to a low-elevation and low-relief African Surface by Late Cretaceous times. Africa’s present-day topography developed mostly during the past 30 million years as the African Surface underwent swell uplift and climate changed radically after the Antarctic ice sheet first formed. Northern hemisphere glaciation and related Sahara initiation 3 million years ago were Africa’s most recent great changes.