Silcretes exposed within river-marginal or valley settings have been described in a number of studies, but few models have been suggested for the development of these 'fluvial' silcretes. An exception is that proposed by McCarthy and Ellery (Journal of Sedimentary Research, 1995, Vol. A65, pp. 77-90) to describe mechanisms of early stage near-surface silica diagenesis in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. This paper describes the characteristics and possible origins of massive surface and sub-surface silcretes at Samedupe and Boro Junction, beyond the distal margin of the Okavango Delta and further downstream that the sites described by McCarthy and Ellery. Morphological and petrological evidence from surface exposures and three sedimentary cores suggests that other modes of formation may also be applicable. A dual model of formation is proposed: surface silcretes are suggested to have developed by silica accumulation in seasonal pools remaining after the annual Okavango flood, whilst sub-surface horizons appear to have formed under conditions of varying pH associated with fluctuating groundwater levels beneath the channel floor. This model is reviewed in the context of the fluvial silcrete debate.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Earth Surface Processes and Landforms|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1998|