- © 2006 Geological Society of South Africa
A major 6000-km long west-northwest to east-southeast-trending Trans-Saharan lineament, extending from Kenya to Morocco, referred to as the Tibesti Lineament, has been described by Guiraud et al.(2000). This lineament shows up on satellite images, air-photo mosaics and terrain elevation models, as swarms of parallel faults. It corresponds to a major discontinuity of surface wave velocities in the mantle, suggesting that it deeply affects the lithosphere. The highest heat flow measurements in the West African shield are found adjacent to the Tibesti Lineament in the northern Hoggar uplift. Geophysical, geological, and geomorphological evidence suggests that the Tibesti lineament may have continued into North America (Laurentia), which collided with northwest Africa during the Appalachian-Mauritanide orogeny, coinciding with the late Palaeozoic assembly of the supercontinent Pangaea. The contiguous Laurentian lineaments which may be extensions of the Tibesti Lineament, are the here newly recognised Chesterfield Inlet Lineament and the Cabot Strait Lineament, both of which are situated in Canada. These lineaments are defined as linear pattern breaks in processed aeromagnetic anomaly maps of Canada. Some portions of them also can be detected in refraction and reflection seismic survey data (e.g., under Hudon Bay), and to a lesser extent, in the Bouguer gravity anomaly map of Canada. The lineaments have present-day (neotectonic) surface expressions in the form of inlets, submarine channels, straight river segments, and strings of linear lakes, extending over 3700 km, from Nunavut Province northwest of Hudson Bay, across Quebec and Newfoundland, and to the Cabot Strait separating Newfoundland from Nova Scotia. The highest heat flow in the Canadian Maritimes is found in the Cabot Strait. The Tibesti-Cabot-Strait-Chesterfield Inlet lineaments reflect deep-seated fracturing of the North African and North American lithosphere, involving both the crust and rigid upper mantle. These lineaments cut right across the grain of numerous orogenic belts dating from the Palaeoproterozoic, Late Mesoproterozoic, and Palaeozoic. By analogy with other large transcontinental lineaments which contain ore deposits, these newly identified megalineaments may be prospective for economic mineral deposits, such as hydrothermal gold and base metal mineralization, and diamondiferous kimberlites.