An aeromagnetic and aeroradioactivity survey of Liberia, West Africa

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A 140,000 km aeromagnetic and total-count gamma radiometric survey was made over Liberia in 1967-68 along north-south lines spaced 0.8 km over land and 4 km over the continental shelf. The data approximately delineate the boundary between the Liberian (ca. 2700 m.y.) age province in the northwestern two-thirds of the country, and the Pan-African (ca. 550 m.y.) age province in the coastal area of the northwestern two-thirds of the country, as well as a boundary marking the northwest extent of the isoclinally folded paragneisses and migmatites deformed within the Eburnean (ca. 2000 m.y.) age province in the southeast one-third. A zone of diabase dikes about 90 km inland can be traced, parallel to the coast from Sierra Leone to Ivory Coast on the basis of the magnetic data. Another zone of diabase dikes about 185 m.y. old is located along the coastal area and beneath the continental shelf parallel to the coast northwest of Greenville. Intrusion of these dikes probably coincides with the separation of Africa from North and South America. The magnetic data suggest basins of sedimentary rocks possibly 5 km thick on the continental shelf. The map indicates high-amplitude magnetic anomalies greater than 600 gammas; some reach amplitudes as great as 18,000 gammas over iron formation and about 1800 gammas over mafic and ultramafic intrusive bodies.

The radioactivity data have a background level less than 100 counts per second (cps) over mafic granulite-facies rocks and unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks in the coastal area. Granitic rocks have the greatest variation. The central area of the country has the highest background radiation level with large areas above 250 cps; the level in the eastern one-third of the country is low. These data are proving quite useful in reconnaissance geologic mapping. All anomalies over 500 cps are shown; some reach amplitudes over 750 cps. Total-count radiation levels have a significant correlation with percent K2O in bedrock analyses, but anomalous amounts of Th and U must be present to account for the highest amplitude anomalies. A few specific anomalies have been correlated with concentrations of monazite and zircon in bedrock as well as in beach deposits.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An aeromagnetic and aeroradioactivity survey of Liberia, West Africa
Series title Geophysics
DOI 10.1190/1.1440194
Volume 36
Issue 3
Year Published 1971
Language English
Publisher Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Description 15 p.
First page 590
Last page 604
Country Liberia
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