Tectonic setting and uplift analysis of the Pangani rift basin in northern Tanzania using apatite fission track thermochronology
Thirty four new Apatite Fission Track (AFT) ages and 32 track length distributions from samples of basement rocks flanking the Pangani rift, East African Rift System (EARS) are presented, in an attempt to elucidate the uplift and erosion of the rift flanks. The ages fall in the range of 207±15 to 48±4 Ma, spanning from Early Jurassic to Early Tertiary. These ages are much younger than the last termal event in the Mozambique belt that form the basement complex and are interpreted to represent the most recent tectonic events. Track length (TL) distributions suggest that uplift and erosion of the rift flanks are related to three different tectonic events, which are also recorded by the sedimentary units within the adjacent coastal basins. These include the Triassic/Early Jurassic, Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary tectonic events. Erosion and isostatic rebound have modified the tectonically induced topographic patterns and the highly elevated plateaus flanking the Pangani rift represent an erosional surface referred to as the “Gondwana surface” of eastern and central Africa. The present AFT data suggest that initial exhumation of the “Gondwana surface” from the temperatures above 110º to temperatures less than 60ºC, in this area, took place during Early Jurassic times, but the final sub-aerial exposure of the surface did not take place until Early Tertiary.