Table of Contents
ISRN Geology
Volume 2013, Article ID 120380, 11 pages
Research Article

Facies Analysis and Depositional Environments of the Late Palaeozoic Coal-Bearing Madzaringwe Formation in the Tshipise-Pafuri Basin, South Africa

1Department of Geology, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
2WorleyParsons, 54 Melrose Boulevard, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg 2076, South Africa
3Department of Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, P.O. Box 392, Pretoria 0003, South Africa
4Department of Geology, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 3 October 2013

Academic Editors: M. C. Melinte-Dobrinescu and J.-w. Zhou

Copyright © 2013 Ntokozo Malaza et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The late Palaeozoic coal-bearing Madzaringwe Formation of the Karoo Supergroup in the Tshipise-Pafuri Basin in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, records part of the infill of a passive continental margin terrain. Lithofacies analysis was performed with a view to deduce the nature of depositional environments of the Formation. Sedimentological and sequence stratigraphic evidence indicates that this unit represents a complex siliciclastic facies that reflects a fluvial paleodepositional environment. Eleven facies, which were grouped into five facies associations, were recognised. The base of the Madzaringwe Formation (Lower Member) represents a sequence deposited by braided channels. The coal deposits represent flood plain and swamp deposits, which is characterised by shale, thick coal seams, siltstone, and sandstone. The Middle Member is characterised by both clast and matrix supported conglomerates, major tubular and lenticular sandstones, and finely calcareous, micaceous siltstone. The deposition represents a sequence being formed from fluvial and particularly braided channels. The crudely stratified, coarse to pebbly sandstone indicates channel lag deposits within a heavy loaded fluvial system. The fine-grained sandstone represents deposition by shift channel and side bar deposits during lower flow conditions. The Upper Member is characterised by facies associations similar to the Lower Member, representing a new depositional cyclothem.