A magnetotelluric model of the Mana Pools basin, northern Zimbabwe

The Mana Pools sedimentary basin lies within the Zambezi mobile belt in northern Zimbabwe. New and preexisting magnetotelluric data and the available seismic reflection data are used to constrain the basin structure and the depth to the electrical basement. Long-period magnetotelluric (LMT) data were collected at five stations along a 60 km north-south profile across the Mana Pools basin and onto the southern escarpment. These data augment an existing audiofrequency (AMT) data set from 11 sites in the same area. The subsurface apparent resistivities measured at periods sampling the basin are very low (a few Ωm). After processing both data sets, the estimated impedance tensor is decomposed, showing that the resistivity structure of the Mana Pools basin can be modeled two dimensionally. The ρ+ algorithm is used to show that there is no systematic offset in magnitude between the AMT and LMT data sets before they are combined. Minimum structure resistivity models of the Mana Pools basin compare well with the information from reflection seismic data and support its previous description as a half graben basin of ∼7 km depth. The excellent conductor in the Mana Pools basin is quite different to those seen elsewhere in the orogenic belt in that it is a feature of the sedimentary fill rather than the basement. The resistivity of the basement is low but no localized good conductor is observed; these low resistivities may result from a high degree of either chemical or tectonic alteration to the underlying rocks due to metamorphic processes and tectonic disruption during rift formation.


Publication status:
Authors: Bailey, D., Whaler, K.A., Zengeni, T., Jones, P.C., Gwavava, O.

1 January, 2000
Journal of Geophysical Research / 105
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