- © 2007 Geological Society of South Africa
Welcome to this Special Issue of the South African Journal of Geology comprising the first results from Inkaba yeAfrica, a truly major scientific undertaking of the German and South African earth science communities. Since 2004, teams of scientists from both countries have been surveying a cone-shaped sector of the Earth from its core to space, enclosing South Africa and the Southern Oceans at its solid surface, and tracking the history and interactions of its components into the past. South Africa was chosen as the research site since it is, in our humble and unbiased opinion, quite simply the best natural laboratory in the world. Its geology retains the longest best-preserved record of tectonic movements, volcanic events, natural resource emplacement, geomagnetic record, and climatic change extending back more than 3000 million years. Southern Africa is also the current focus of dramatic changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and is the cradle of human culture. Our “simple” goal has been to understand fundamental processes. This volume attests to the significant steps that have already been taken in advancing our knowledge of the solid earth, its component fluids, and the interfaces to the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
Our work, and thence the papers in this volume, is divided into three interlinked categories, namely Heart of Africa, Living Africa and Margins of Africa. Heart of Africa concerns energy transfer from core to space. The development and deployment of land-based monitoring technologies, and networking with data from satellite monitoring systems feature strongly. The growth of the South Atlantic magnetic hole and its effects are under scrutiny. The feedback mechanisms between hot upwelling mantle beneath southern Africa and its present surface elevation are under examination. Living Africa is a geophysical, geological and geochemical investigation of the oceans, sediments, resources …