Dual mechanisms for the formation of fluvial silcretes in the distal reaches of the Okavango Delta Fan, Botswana

Paul A. Shaw, David J. Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-714
Number of pages10
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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