Inkaba yeAfrica

Inkaba yeAfrica - Margins of Africa

Inkaba is a Xhosa word that encapsulates a sense of total interconnectivity. Literally it means navel, the central point from which all energy, material and knowledge emerges and is recycled. Uniting this with yeAfrica adds the regional perspective to what is a major initiative of the German and South African Earth science communities: its aim - to understand Earth system processes and their interaction at different scales and rates. Inkaba ye Africa consists of 12 projects running under three main research themes, namely Heart of Africa, Margins of Africa, and Living Africa.

Margins of Africa

seeks to establish the causes (mantle dynamics, continental structure, plate boundary forces), and some of the consequences (sedimentation style, opening of oceanic gateways, post-rift magmatism, oceanic plateaux formation) of continental breakup. From this a model for the break-up of central Gondwana, and effectively the birth of the African continent sensu stricto, will be established. This can serve as model for the break-up of supercontinents in general.

Central to this research topic are a series of onshore-offshore geophysical transects across different continental margin types around southern Africa (see map above). In such amphibious experiments, onshore explosions are recorded with the ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) arrays and offshore airgun shots are recorded on land, thus giving continuous data coverage from land to sea. This research work is subdivided into several working packages:

  1. The western (Atlantic) margin of southern Africa
  2. The southern margin of South Africa (Agulhas Karoo Geoscience Transect)