Rift du Lac Albert, Ouganda, Rift Est Africain : déformation, érosion, sédimentation et bilan de matière depuis 17 Ma

Abstract : The aim of this work is (1) to study the relationships existing between deformation, erosion and sedimentation and (2) to quantify the erosion-sedimentation budget in a continental rift: the Rift Albert located in Uganda, in the north of the Western Branch of the East African Rifts. This study consists in a triple analysis of the deformation, the sedimentary infilling (biochonostratigraphy, sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy) and the landforms (geomorphology) based on the interpretation of subsurface and surface data. An age model of the sedimentary infilling has been obtained by combination of biotratigraphic data, sequential correlations and paleoprecipitation variation curves. The sedimentological analysis led to the characterization (1) of the sediments source – most of the quartz grains coming from the erosion of a lateritic profile (with low transportation) – and (2) of the depositional environment which consist of perennial deep (<100 m) feeding by flood deposits, without evidences of alluvial fan. This sedimentological study, along with the analysis of landforms allow to reconstitute the evolution of the basin and of its deformation: (1) 55-45 Ma: formation of laterites corresponding to the African Surface during the very humid period of the Lower-Middle Eocene; (2) 45-22 Ma: stripping of the African Surface in response of the beginning of the East-African Dome uplift and formation of a pediplain connected to the Atlantic Ocean; (3) 17-2.5 Ma: Initiation of the Lake Albert Basin around 17 Ma and creation of local base levels (Lake Albert, Edward and George) on which three pediplains tend to adapt; (i) 18—16 to 6.2 Ma: "Flexural" stage (subsidence rate: 150-200 m/Ma; sedimentation rate 1.3 km3/Ma between 17 and 12 Ma and 0.6 km3/Ma from 12 to 6 Ma) – depocenters location poorly controlled by fault; (ii) 6.2 Ma to 2.5 Ma: Rift stage 1 (subsidence rate: > 500m/Ma up to 600-800 m/Ma; sedimentation rate: 2.4 km3/Ma) – Rifting climax; (4) 2.5-0.4 Ma: uplift of the Ruwenzori Mountains and shifting from an alluvial system to a network of bedrock river incision – Rift Stage 2 (subsidence rate: 450 to 250 m/Ma; sedimentation rate: 1.5 km3/Ma); (5) 0.4-0 Ma: long wavelength downwarping, initiation of the Lake Victoria trough, drainage network inversion and uplift of the present-day escarpment.The measurement of the erosion-sedimentation budget show the same order of magnitude with, between 17 and 2.5 Ma, an excess of eroded material (22 000 km3) compared to the sediment volume deposited in the basin (19 000 to 18 000 km3). This difference of volume of 16% can be explained by the high chemical erosion occurring during this period, which one is depreciated by the difference of mineralogy of the clays between the catchment (kaolinites) and the sedimentary basin (dominantly smectites), the neoformation of smectites from kaolinites needing the input of element available in the solution resulting from the chemical weathering of the substratum.
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Brendan Simon. Rift du Lac Albert, Ouganda, Rift Est Africain : déformation, érosion, sédimentation et bilan de matière depuis 17 Ma. Sciences de la Terre. Université Rennes 1, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015REN1S175⟩. ⟨tel-01923327v2⟩

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