Age of the Batoka basalts, northern Zimbabwe, and the duration of Karoo Large Igneous Province magmatism
Analysis of the Batoka Basalts exposed in the Zambezi Gorge some 40 km east of Victoria Falls characterizes them as high Fe, moderately high Ti, and low K, P, and Zr tholeiites. The 40Ar-39Ar age determinations are tightly clustered at 180–179 Ma. All of the lavas that were sampled have normal paleomagnetic polarity, and the corresponding pole position is 63.9°N, 260.6°E, A95 = 14.9°. In South Africa, Lesotho, and Namibia the vast majority of Karoo basalts were extruded at 183 ± 1 Ma with some as young as 179 Ma [ Duncan et al., 1997 ]. Paleomagnetic and geochemical correlation of the ∼179 Ma rocks between Zimbabwe and Lebombo supports the conclusion that the age difference is real and hence confirms the estimate of ∼5 Myr for the duration of emplacement of the Karoo Large Igneous Province.