Fact Sheet 3 : Economic Profile

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Geological Features

The prominent geological features of the Limpopo river basin are the Limpopo Mobile Belt (where considerable mineralization has taken place), the Kalahari Craton, the Archaean Craton, the Karoo system and the Bushveld Igneous Complex.

Consolidated Quaternary age sediments are present in upstream Limpopo, not only in the form of the ubiquitous Kalahari sands which conceal much of the bedrock to varying depths, but also in the form of flood-bank alluvium. Silt, sand and gravel are present both within the river channels and adjacent to the river where broad floodplains have accumulated. Notable accumulations of coarse sand are present in the channels of the Shashe and Motloutse tributaries.

In the southern (South African) portion of the basin, the Bushveld Igneous Complex forms an extremely important geological feature, and contains a very large proportion of the regionís mineral wealth. The geological features of this area consist mostly of basic mafic and ultramafic intrusive rocks, accompanied by extensive areas of acidic and intermediate intrusive rocks. At the southern and eastern periphery of this area, large dolomite and limestone formations occur, accompanied by extensive mineralization along their contact zones.

In the southern portion of the basin, the extensive, carbonrich sedimentary rocks of the Karoo system contain enormous economic reserves of coal and are the site of intensive coal-mining activities in South Africa.

The lower Limpopo basin is characterised by extensive erosion plains, gently dipping coastward. The coastal belt is characterised by a dune area with an average width of 30 km, but extending to 100 km in some places. The lower Limpopo basin consists largely of unconsolidated and consolidated sedimentary rocks with granitic intrusions exposed as erosional remnants in the landscape.

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