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Ghana falls mostly within the West African Craton which stabilised in the early Proterozoic (2000
Ma) during the Eburnean Orogeny. This orogeny also stabilised the Zaire Craton and affected vast
parts of Western Africa and neighbouring regions in South America that were conterminous with
the Eburnean tectonothermal province. Outside South Africa, the West African Craton is the
second largest region in Africa where lower Proterozoic rocks are extensively preserved. These
early Proterozoic rocks comprise extensive belts of metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary
rocks exposed in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Niger and Cote d'Ivoire. On the east and west, the
Craton is bounded by late Proterozoic mobile belts (700 - 500 Ma) referred to as the Pan African
mobile belts.
Recent reviews of the geology of Ghana by Kesse (1985), Wright (1985) and Leube et al. (1990)
provide useful summaries. These reviews are particularly relevant because of the attention paid to
mineral resource potential. Kesse presents a good treatise on specific mineral and rock resources
available in Ghana; Wright relates the geology of Ghana to the regional geology of West Africa,
and Leube et al. present a significantly different stratigraphic interpretation for the Birimian
System in Ghana, stressing lateral lithologic continuity and facies changes within the group.
Unlike many previous workers, Leube et al. believe that some of the granitoids possess significant
potential for gold mineralisation.

Geologically, Ghana can be divided into several distinct terranes (see Figure 5.1 and Map 15).

An early Proterozoic terrane (Birimian System) which hosts most of the country's
mineral deposits and occupies the western and northernmost part of the country;


The Tarkwaian System, a distinctive sequence of clastic sediments within the

Ashanti, Bui, and Bole-Navrongo Belts;


Figure 5.1. Generalized Geologic Map of Ghana


The Voltaian Basin, in which are preserved the late Precambrian to Paleozoic
sediments that mantle the craton;


The Dahomeyan System, occupying the easternmost part of Ghana;


A pan-African mobile belt, the Togo and Buem Formations, separated from the
Birimian terrane by a prominent topographic feature known as the Akwapim Togo range;



Phanerozoic sedimentary rocks; and


Intrusive rocks.


Rocks of the Birimian System underlie most of southern, western and northern Ghana. They host
most of the gold and diamond deposits in the country, hence they have been subjected to
considerable study. Ideas on the stratigraphy, structure and age of the Birimian rocks have
evolved over the years as a result of work by the Geological Survey Department (GSD), the
Soviet Geological Team and the Ghana-German Mineral Prospecting Project (GGMPP) in Ghana
and the work of French geologists in Francophone West Africa. Kesse (1985) gives an overview
of the ideas about the Birimian up through the early 1980's.
The Birimian consists of metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks which form five subparallel belts of volcanic rock separated by broad basins of sedimentary rocks. Up to the early
1980's, except for Matthews and Milnes (1979) and Breakey and Breakey (1977), authors on the
Birimian adopted a chronostratigraphic nomenclature. They divided the rocks into an older
Lower Birimian, consisting of predominantly metasedimentary rocks, and a younger Upper

Birimian, comprising chiefly metavolcanic rocks (Junner 1935, 1940; Bates, 1955). These ideas
were based largely on mapping by the GSD in southern Ghana and are widely supported in Ghana
(Tables 5.1 and 5.2).
The rock types present in the Lower Birimian sedimentary belt are greywackes with turbidite
features, phyllites, slates, schists, weakly metamorphosed tuffs and sandstones. Some of the
phyllites contain pyrite, and finely divided carbonaceous matter is present in most of them.
Silicification is common in the phyllites, particularly towards the boundary with the Upper
The Upper Birimian volcanic succession consists of lava flows and dyke rocks of basaltic and
andesitic composition. Most of these rocks have now been metamorphosed to hornblende
actinolite-schists, calcareous chlorite schists and amphibolites (the greenstones). Pillow structures
indicating subaqueous eruption of the original basaltic lavas are commonly observed. Available
major and trace element chemical data show that these Birimian metabasalts are tholeiitic.
However, felsic volcanic rocks also occur in this succession as well as in the predominantly
sedimentary sections. The felsic units include dacitic pyroclastic rocks, minor andesitic and
rhyolite flows, and undifferentiated volcanogenic sediments. Minor intrusions of mafic and
ultramafic rocks cut the volcanics in some places. Mn-rich horizons also occur at stratigraphically
lower level in the Upper Birimian and have been found in the uppermost Lower Birimian as well.

In 1964-66, the Soviet Geological Team (SGT) mapped the Bole and Lawra Belts. The SGT
classified the Birimian into three sub series: Lower (sediments), Middle (pyroclastics) and Upper
The GSD developed a classification which incorporated and modified the SGT classification
(Asihene and Barning 1975). In the late 1970's the GSD developed an accepted stratigraphic
nomenclature for the Birimian (Kesse, 1985).



Composite Lithology

Upper Arenaceous subseries

Yellowish brown to buff and in some places purple, massive

meta-sandstones, meta-greywacke and minor thin beds of

Upper Argillaceous subseries

Predominantly yellowish brown to ochre coloured

assemblage of phyllitic siltstone and their tuffaceous

Middle Arenaceous subseries

Meta-greywacke, meta-siltstone - phyllite assemblage which

is characteristically rhythmically bedded in the lower parts
and is also typically tuffaceous and manganiferous in the
middle parts.

Lower Argillaceous subseries

Predominantly black, grey and dark grey phyllite

interbedded with greenish grey and buff-coloured tuffaceous

Lower Arenaceous subseries

Lithic assemblage of meta-greywacke, meta-sandstone,

meta-siltstone, phyllite and tuffaceous varieties of these
rock types.

Source: Kesse, 1985



Composite lithology

Basic Volcanic subseries

Makes up the bulk of the Upper Birimian and is further

divided into normal greenstones (metabasalt and
metadolerite), amphibolite intrusions, and greenschists and

Acid Volcanic subseries

Meta-rhyolites, quartz-feldspar porphyry, felsites, and

quartz-chlorite schists.


Meta-tuffaceous greywacke, quartzites and schistose

conglomerate, and grit.

Source: Kesse, 1985

As GSD work proceeded, notably in the Southwest Mapping Project, new ideas began to evolve,
including the suggestion that sediments and volcanics of the Birimian might be laterally
equivalent. Instead of a chronostratigraphic approach, Breakey and Breakey, (1977) introduced a
lithofacies approach for the sediments of their map area, and Matthews and Milnes (1979)
concluded that for the area in which they were working, the metasediments are either younger
than or coeval with the metavolcanics.
Geologists in Francophone countries developed a stratigraphic classification of the Birimian which
included the same lithologies but had the reverse stratigraphic order. These ideas are summarised
by Kesse (1985).

From 1983 to 1994 the GSD and the [German] Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural
Resources (BGR) engaged in a co-operative project which focused on gold in Ghana (GGMPP).
As the Birimian hosts most of the gold mineralisation, it was the focus of considerable work. The
GGMPP included remapping of parts of western Ghana, plus a variety of topical studies on
structural geology, geochemistry, and stratigraphy, as well as radiometric dating. The results

have been published in series of papers from 1986 to the present. (Leube, et al., 1990, Eisenlohr
and Hirdes, 1992, Taylor, et al. 1992, Hirdes, et al. 1992, 1993, Davis, et al. 1994, and papers in
Oberthur, 1994). The work has challenged many long held ideas on Ghanaian geology, and some
ideas are still not fully accepted in the Ghanaian geologic community.
The summary which follows presents a description of the Birimian which incorporates the above
ideas (Table 5.3).

The Birimian terrane of Ghana is part of the West African Craton. In western Ghana, the
Birimian consists of five northeast to north trending belts of volcanic rocks separated by broader
belts (basins) of sedimentary rocks. The volcanic belts are typically 15 to 40 km wide and spaced
60 to 90 km apart.

The Birimian volcanic rocks consist mainly of tholeiitic basalts of oceanic affinity. Pillow
structures indicate that the lavas were deposited in a submarine environment. There are lesser
amounts of andesite, dacite and rhyolite in the volcanic sections. The total thickness of the lava
sequences is unknown owing to folding. The geochemistry of the lavas is summarised by Leube
et al. (1990).
The Birimian sediments comprise greywacke, turbidites, volcaniclastics and argillites. In general,
the proportion of argillite increases towards the centre of the basins. Mn-rich siliceous chemical
sediments are common near the volcanic-sediment transition. The contact between the sediments
and volcanics is poorly exposed, but in place, interlayering has been reported.

As noted above, the stratigraphic relationship of the two groups of Birimian rocks has been
interpreted differently over the years. Leube et al., (1990) concluded that the sediments and
volcanics represented lateral facies equivalents. This was supported by the interbedding of the
two units, their similar depositional environment and similar geochemistry.


Radiometric dates of lavas from four of the volcanic belts give a Sm-Nd isochron age of 2,166
66 Ma (Taylor, et al. 1992), with the main episode of volcanism in the period 2,155-2,185 Ma.
Dating of zircons in Birimian metasediments (Davis et al. 1994) and dating of granitoid intruding
sediments in the Kumasi basin (Hirdes et al. 1992) brackets Birimian deposition between 2,135
and 2,116 Ma, i.e., some 35 Ma younger than the lavas. These dates thus support the earliest
GSD interpretation of the relative ages of the two lithologic groups.
The Birimian rocks are generally tightly and isoclinally folded; they are also commonly sheared
and fractured. It is therefore not easy to establish stratigraphic succession and estimate thickness.
However the total thickness of the Birimian in Ghana may be 10,000 to 15,000 m. The rocks
have dips generally greater than 60. Faulting tends to follow the trend of the folds.
Metamorphism in the Birimian is low-grade greenschist facies except near intrusive contacts
where amphibolite assemblages occur in the metasediments.





Presence of lava essential;

volcaniclastic rocks (pyroclastics or
epiclastics) may be locally
predominant. Rare argillaceous
Reworked, allochthonous, notably
quartz enriched volcaniclastic rocks
displaying graded bedding
Interbedding of volcaniclastic
(predominantly sand-to-silt-size nonor little transported pyroclastics and
argillitic rock with the former
dominant in thickness and
proportional abundance. Rare inlayers of lava)

Wacke (turbidite
Volcaniclastic argillite


More distal portions

of the depositional
basin argillite

As above, but a preponderance in

thickness and proportional abundance
of argillites
Argillites, commonly finely laminated
and graphitic

Series or subseries of the old

classification to which facies
generally corresponds (see
Asihene and Barning, 1975)
Br2 (Upper Birimian), the
Br2b1 of Trashliev (1992)
could be placed in this

Depositional environment

Br11 of Trashliev (1992) partly

Br31, Br51
partly Br31, some Br51

Turbidites at lower end of

slopes of volcanic ridges

Water/air interface volcanic

islands or volcanic ridges

Depository proximal to
volcanic island or ridges

Br21, Br41
Br21, Br41

Rich in cherts, carbonates,

manganese, sulphides, carbon.

Source: Leube et al. 1990


Low energy environments in

the most distal, (i.e. central)
portions of the basins
In transitional zones between
belts and basins



A distinctive sequence of clastic sedimentary rocks occurs in elongate troughs developed on top
of the Birimian System. These rocks host important paleoplacer gold deposits and are known as
the Tarkwa System. Most workers agree that the Tarkwaian sediments were deposited in
intermontane grabens formed by preferential rifting along the axes of the volcanic belts and that
there is no evidence that the depositional basins were ever linked.
Kesse (1985) and Leube and Hirdes (1986) summarised the literature on the Tarkwaian up
through the mid-1980's. More recent data is presented in Eisenlohr and Hirdes, (1992), and
Oberthur (1994) for the Ashanti Belt and by Zitzman et al. (1993 a, b) for the Bui Belt.

The rocks of the Tarkwaian System represent erosional products of the Birimian and are
dominated by coarse clastic sediments. They are widespread in the Ashanti and Bui volcanic belts
and, to a lesser extent, in all of the other belts.

In the Ashanti Belt, the Tarkwa is made up of four units. The lowest unit, the Kawere Group,
consists of immature, polymictic, matrix supported, large pebble conglomerate dominated by
mafic (Birimian) pebble lithologies. The Kawere is overlain by, and is in marked contrast with,
the Banket Series which consists of mature, clean, quartzite, grit, breccia and conglomerate
composed in part of well sorted quartz pebble conglomerate beds known as reefs that host the
gold mineralisation. The Banket is overlain by the Tarkwa Phyllite which consists of a transition
sequence from sandstone to chloritic and sericitic phyllite. The uppermost Tarkwa unit is the
Huni Sandstone; sandstone and quartzite with interbeds of phyllite (Table 5.4).
The Banket Series in the Ashanti Belt has been the subject of a number of sedimentological
studies owing to its association with gold mineralisation. These studies indicate that the source
area for the Banket has to be to the southeast of the present outcrop (Sestini, 1973, Strogen,
1991, Hirdes and Nunoo, 1994) and that the Tarkwaian sediments were derived largely from the


erosion of Birimian rocks, as shown by the similarity of detrital zircon populations in Tarkwaian
and Birimian sediments (Davis, et al., 1994).
The series includes quartz-pebble conglomerates. The overall thickness of the series ranges from
120 to 600 m. Junner et al., (1942) named four reefs or conglomerate bands in the following
succession: Breccia Reef - Middle Reef - Basal or Main Reef and Sub-basal Reef. The Basal or
Main Reef is the most persistent conglomerate bed in the Tarkwa goldfield area and is by far the
richest in gold.

The structure of the Tarkwaian rocks differs from belt to belt. In the Ashanti Belt, the Tarkwa
System is folded into a series of northeast trending, northeast plunging antiforms and synforms.
Along the northwest margin of the belt, the Tarkwaian is overturned and locally overthrust by
Birimian rocks (Eisenlohr and Hirdes, 1992). The sediments have a moderate primary foliation
(S1) and a strong secondary foliation (S2) near the margins of the belt.
In the Bui Belt, Tarkwaian rocks are folded into a regional syncline with a steep northeast
trending normal fault parallel to the fold axis. Along the northwest margin of the belt the
Tarkwaian rocks are strongly tectonised and overturned. The Tarkwaian in the Kibi-Winneba
Belt has been less well studied but appears also to be a northeast trending overturned syncline.

The age of the Tarkwa System has been the subject of recent study by Davis et al., (1994) and
Hirdes and Nunoo, (1994). Davis et al., (1994) dated zircons from the Kawere conglomerate and
several of the reef horizons in the Banket Series. They also dated an authigenic rutile from the
main reef of the Banket Series using U-Pb methods. The age of deposition of the Tarkwa group
can be bracketed by the youngest zircon grain from the lowermost Kawere series and age of the
authigenic rutile which formed after deposition. These dates give a time range of 2,132 3 Ma to
2,096 Ma (Hirdes and Nunoo, 1994). An additional upper time limit on the age of the Tarkwa is
the age of the granitoid from the Cape Coast area. Granitoid pebbles of this type are not found in


the Tarkwaian, thus the granite intruded after the deposition of the Tarkwa System. This
granitoid complex gives a U-Pb date of 2,090 1 Ma (Davis, et al., 1994).

Intrusive Contact

Group, etc.
Post Tarkwaian Intrusives

Epidorite, norite, gabbro, amphibolite,
porphyry and diabase.

Huni Sandstone

Sandstone, grit, quartzite and phyllite.

Tarkwa Phyllite

Phyllite and chloritoid-bearing phyllite

with subsidiary arenaceous beds.

Banket Series

Quartzites, grits, breccias and banket

conglomerates. Four reefs are
recognized: a sub-basal reef, main or
basal reef, a middle reef and an upper
breccia reef.

Kawere Group

Sandstones, quartzites, grits, breccias

and conglomerates.

Great Unconformity
Upper Birimian

Volcanics (greenstones), pyroclastics,

phyllite, greywacke and manganiferous
phyllite, intruded by and granitised in
places to granites and porphyries.
Also intruded by epidiorites in places.

Source: Junner et al. (1942)

The Tarkwa Phyllite ranges in thickness between 120 and 400 m. The phyllites are divisible into
those with and those without chloritoid. The phyllites without chloritoid range from sandy to
fine-grained lustrous types and in some cases contain abundant hematite or magnetite.

The Huni Sandstone, the uppermost Tarkwaian unit, contains cross bedding and channel scours,
indicative of shallow water conditions. The sandstone is the weathered representation of

feldspathic quartzites which are in general finer grained than the Banket Series quartzites. They
contain variable amount of feldspar, sericite, chlorite, ferruginous carbonate, magnetite and, in
weathered outcrops, epidote.

The Tarkwaian sediments are generally weakly metamorphosed.



Almost one third of Ghana is covered by sediments of the inland Voltaian Basin which covers an
area of about 103,600 km2. The Voltaian strata are nearly horizontal beds of sandstones, shales,
mudstones and conglomerates thought to be of Late Precambrian to Paleozoic age. In most
places, the flat lying Voltaian strata overlie the Birimian rocks with a marked angular
unconformity. Junner and Hirst (1946) subdivided the Voltaian sediments on the base of lithology
and field relationships into Lower, Middle and Upper units.

Many other authors have also discussed the age and stratigraphy of the Voltaian, such as the
Soviet Geological Team (1964), Jones (1978) and Anan-Yorke, (1980) (Table 5.5).
The Lower Voltaian sediments represent a marine transgression-regression cycle on the craton,
whereas the Middle Voltaian records a glacial event followed by prolonged marine incursion and
subsidence of the basin. In the Eastern part of the basin, the adjacent Togo Belt crops out.

The Upper Voltaian, otherwise known as the Obosum Formation, is thickest and coarsest in the
southeast. The conglomerates contain pebbles of granite and other igneous rocks, as well as
quartzite fragments. Sedimentary structures show the direction of transport to have been from
the southeast. The Obosum beds are molasse deposits formed by the erosion of the Togo Series
following its uplift in the Pan African event.


Anan-Yorke (1980)

SGT (1964)

Junner& Hirst (1946)

Upper Voltaian

Massive sandstone

Massive cross bedded


Upper sandstone

Lower Carboniferous
(450-320 Ma)

Thin bedded
sandstone & Tamale
red beds
Upper green beds

Thin bedded

Thin bedded

Tamale red beds

Obosum beds

Afram shale
Akroso conglomerate
Lower green beds
Basal sandstone

Green-gray lower

Oti beds

Middle Voltaian;
Lower Ordovician Lower Vendian
(480-675 Ma)

Lower Voltaian
Basal sandstone
Basal sandstone
Upper to Middle
(700-1000 Ma)
Angular unconformity
Source: Compiled from Jones (1978), Anan-Yorke, (1980), Kesse, (1985) and Junner and Hirst,

The structure of the Voltaian Basin has been discussed by Ako and Wellman (1985), based on
their reviews of gravity and magnetic data for the basin. According to them, the basin overlies
magnetic rocks, probably Birimian, with west and northeast trending structures. Based on the
magnetic data, the basin deepens to the southeast, the maximum depth being almost 6 km. The
depth of the basin and dip of the strata suggests that the basin formed by lithospheric flexure.
Ako and Wellman (1985) interpreted the basin as a foreland basin developed by flexure due to
obduction of lower crust from the east and southeast during the Pan-African Orogeny. Jones
(1990) believed that the gravity highs in the basin are due to mafic subvolcanic intrusives below

the Voltaian which were the feeders for the Buem Volcanics. This conclusion is supported by the
presence of abundant volcanic rocks in the lower sandstones cut by the Premuase well (Watt,
1977, Anan-Yorke, 1978).



The Dahomeyan System is a part of the second major tectono-stratigraphic terrane in Ghana; it
underlies eastern and southeastern Ghana. The Dahomeyan is the easternmost rock group in
Ghana and differs significantly from other rocks in Ghana in that it is composed of high grade
metamorphic rocks.

The system consists of four lithologic belts of granitic and mafic gneiss. The mafic gneisses are
relatively uniform oligoclase, andesine, hornblende, salite and garnet gneisses of igneous
parentage and generally tholeiitic composition (Holm, 1974). The granite gneisses interlayer with
the mafic gneiss and are believed to be metamorphosed volcaniclastic and sedimentary rocks.
Persistent bands of nepheline gneiss in the system appear to be metamorphosed calc-alkaline
igneous rocks (Holm, 1974).
A distinctive, but normal, lithology in the Dahomeyan is the Kpong Conglomerate, a calcareous
rock which has been interpreted to be a carbonatite (Mani, 1978).

Structurally, the granite gneiss is the lowest unit in the system. All of the gneisses have
undergone at least two stages of penetrative deformation. The latest deformation is believed to be
of Pan-African age (500-600 Ma) and is referred to as a reactivation of Birimian crust by
Kennedy, (1964). Fitches (1970), however, suggests that the metamorphism may be Eburnian
(Proterozoic) in age.


The gross structure of the Dahomeyan is that of alternating northeast trending lithologic belts
with moderate dips to the southeast. Along the western boundary of the belt the gneisses are in
fault contact and overthrust onto rocks of the Buem-Togo Belt.
The original age of the Dahomeyan protolith is unknown. Rb-Sr and K-Ar dates by Agyei, et al.
(1987) show Pan African ages for the last metamorphism. Blay (1991) postulates that the
Dahomeyan are Birimian rocks. This conclusion is supported by Grant (1969) and Affaton, et al.



The second major lithologic group which makes up the eastern Ghana terrane is the Togo Belt
comprising the Buem and Togo Series. This group of rocks comprises three distinctive lithologic
Togo Series
The rocks which comprise the north to northeast trending Togo Range consist of strongly
tectonised phyllite, quartzite and serpentinite. These rocks are variously known as the Togo
Series (Kesse, 1985) or the Togo Tectonic Unit (Blay, 1991). The contacts between the Togo
and Dahomeyan to the east and the Buem to the west are thrust faults. The unit grades from east
to west from phyllite and chlorite schist upwards into quartzite, micaceous quartzite and
sandstone. Serpentinites occur along the western contact and appear to be emplaced along thrust
faults (Grant, 1969).

Buem Series
West of the Togo Range is a belt of volcanic and sedimentary rocks known as the Buem Series
(Kesse, 1985, Jones, 1990) or the Buem Tectonic Unit (Blay, 1991). The Buem consists of two
lithologic assemblages, volcanic and sedimentary. The volcanic assemblage is made up of pillow
basalt, agglomerate, hawaiite and trachyte. The sedimentary assemblage, which encloses the

volcanics, consists of red shales, feldspathic to quartz arenite, conglomerate, tillite, jasper and
minor limestone. Whereas the volcanics were deposited in a submarine environment, the
sediments appear to be shallow water to subaerial in origin (Jones, 1990). Jones (1990) describes
the Buem as an eastward dipping homoclinal sequence, whereas Kesse (1985) states that the
rocks are strongly folded. Blay (1991) cites the presence of a basal conglomerate at the BuemTogo contact as an indication that the Buem is younger than the Togo unit.

Sandy mudstone unit

Lashmanov (1991) mapped the northern part of the Dahomeyan belt and noted the presence of a
sandy mudstone unit between the Buem and the Togo. Lashmanov's mapping supports Blay
(1991) in concluding that the Buem is younger than the Togo.
The age of the Dahomeyan rocks is problematic. Cahen et al. (1984) give K-Ar ages of 528 to
492 Ma for samples of the Buem volcanics. Jones (1990) concludes that these dates represent a
metasomatic event. Lashmanov's sandy mudstone unit is laterally equivalent to the Oti Beds in
the Voltaian Basin, a conclusion reached earlier by Grant (1969). Radiometric dating of
glauconite in the Middle Voltaian Obosum Beds, which overlie the Oti Beds, gives an Upper
Precambrian age of 620 Ma (Bozhko, et al., 1971). This would indicate an Upper Proterozoic
age for the Togo and a Proterozoic to Lower Cambrian age for the Buem.



Relatively minor outcrops of sedimentary rocks along the coast from Keta and Accra in the east
to Half Assini in the west constitute remnants of rocks of the Phanerozoic coastal basins. From
east to west, these rocks occur in the Keta, Accraian, Sekondian and Tano basins.

Rocks of the Keta basin are of Cretaceous age and consist of sandstones, siltstone, shales,
claystone and fossiliferous limestone beds (Kesse, 1985). The Accraian is considered midDevonian in age and consists predominantly of sandstones and shales. The Sekondian strata are

made up of sandstones, shales, silts and beds of chalcedony, sands and pebbly beds and range in
age from Devonian to Cretaceous. The Tano basin is located in the extreme southwestern corner
of Ghana. It is made up of Cretaceous-Tertiary sediments consisting of limestones, shales and
sands which have a large off-shore extension.





Four main types of granitoids are recognised in the Birimian of Ghana. They include Winneba,
Cape Coast, Dixcove and Bongo granitoids (Junner 1940; Kesse, 1985). The latter three have
been recently termed Basin, Belt and K-rich granitoids. (Leube et al., 1990; Mauer, 1990;
Hirdes et al., 1993). The Cape Coast and Dixcove type granitoids are widespread in Ghana, the
Winneba type is limited to small areas near Winneba, and the Bongo type crops out in the BoleNavrongo Belt and in the Banso area. The features of these granitoids are listed in Table 5.6.

Cape Coast type Granitoids (G1)

The Cape Coast granites occur only within the Birimian sedimentary basins. Some of them are
two mica granites. This group also includes gneisses, and these are especially well developed in
the metasedimentary belts. They are typically biotite-bearing. It has been suggested that the Cape
Coast granitoids, which appear migmatitic in some localities, might represent an older continental
basement on which the Birimian supracrustals were deposited. However, there is no
geochronologic support for this theory. Contacts between these granitoids and the metasediments
are irregular; rafts of metasediments and relict structures from metasediments rise into the
granitoids, and tendrils of granite vein the metasediments (Taylor et al.,1992). Based on the
degree of foliation, early workers assumed that the Cape Coast granitoids intruded during
regional deformation and that Dixcove granites were emplaced after deformation. (Junner, 1940;
Kesse, 1985). However, later work by Hirdes et al. (1992) demonstrated, in contrast to long held

views, that Dixcove granitoids formed at about 2,175 Ma and are about 60 and 90 Ma older than
the Cape Coast granitoids. Taylor et al. (1988, 1992) suggest that the Cape Coast and Dixcove
granitoids are coeval.

Dixcove type Granitoids (G2)

Dixcove-type granitoids are metaluminous and typically dioritic to granodioritic in composition.
They intrude Birimian volcanic rocks. They are typically hornblende-bearing and are commonly
associated with gold mineralisation where they occur as small plutons within the volcanic belts.
The granitoids are massive in outcrop, do not have a compositional banding or foliation, and are
thus generally considered post-deformation. However, Dixcove-type granitoids have never been
shown to intrude or crosscut Cape Coast granitoids, and some workers (Murray, 1960) have
recognised Dixcove granitoid clasts in Cape Coast granitoids. The presence or absence of a
foliation is not a sufficient criterion to establish timing relationships in granitoids (Paterson et al.,
1989). In particular, amphibole bearing granitoids have been demonstrated to be less likely to
develop a foliation during deformation than biotite-rich granitoids (Vernon and Flood, 1988).
Locally, sheared granitoids were observed in the Sefwi Belt, and these may have been deformed
during regional deformation (Eisenlohr and Hirdes, 1992). Dixcove granitoids have a porphyritic
texture defined by plagioclase set in a quartz-hornblende-actinolite matrix. The plagioclase is
always saussuritised or sericitised and actinolite appears to crosscut the fabric. Such features are
typical of granitoids that have undergone metamorphism (Vernon and Flood 1988). The
granitoids commonly contain basalt xenoliths, and there appears to be a gradational boundary
between finer and coarser grained Dixcove granitoids and basalts (e.g., Hirst, 1946). These
observations indicate a close association between Birimian basalts and Dixcove granitoids and
suggest they may be part of the same igneous event. The above features do not necessarily prove
pre-deformation Dixcove granitoid emplacement, but the data contradict the established view that
the granitoids intruded after deformation.


Winneba Granitoid
The Winneba granitoid occurs at a single locality near the town of Winneba. It is the only rock
suite so far encountered in Ghana which shows evidence for an Archean sialic precursor (Sm/Nd
model age of about 2.6 Ga (Taylor et al., 1988, 1992).

Bongo-type Granitoid
The type locality for this granitoid is located in northern Ghana where the granites intrude
Tarkwaian sediments that overlie the Bole-Navrongo Volcanic Belt. This granitoid is
peraluminous and lacks a foliation (Leube et al., 1990). The granitoids Rb-Sr whole-rock
isochron age is 1,968 49 Ma (Lenz in Hirdes et al., 1992).

A granitoid similar in composition to the Bongo type, the Banso granitoid, crops out within the
Ashanti Belt south of Kumasi. Formerly, this granitoid was thought to be unconformably overlain
by Tarkwaian rocks (Woodfield, 1966), but recent mapping indicates that the granite crosscuts
the tectonised Birimian/Tarkwaian boundary. Contact metamorphic minerals have been observed
in Tarkwaian rocks close to the granitoid (Mauer, 1986). The latter observations plus
petrographic and geochemical similarities described by Mauer (1986) suggest that the Banso
granitoid intrudes the Tarkwaian and thus occupies a similar tectonic position to that of the
Bongo type granitoid.



Size/Geologic setting

Contact Aureole


Mafic Minerals


Small to medium
sized plutons
restricted to Birimian
volcanic belts

Contact aureoles of a few

tens of metres maximum

Seldom foliated (except

for local intense
shearing). No
compositional banding


Basin (Cape

Large batholiths
restricted to Birimian
sedimentary basins

Extensive contact
metamorphic aureoles

Foliated, compositional
banding ubiquitous and

Biotite dominant



Intrudes Tarkwaian in
Navrongo Belt,
Banso area in Ashanti

Thin contact
metamorphic zone


Hornblende, biotite
at Banso



Single known locale

within basin
sediments in the
Winneba-Kibi Belt

Not Determined

Foliation common











Age (Ma)

Belt (Dixcove)

dioritic to

True granite to

Na2O, CaObelt >

Na2O, CaObasin


Similar geochemical
characteristics as
tholeiitic basalts in
belts for some


Basin (Cape


True granite to

Rb, K2Obasin >

Rb, K2Obelt


No evidence for
geochemical similarity
to tholeiitic basalts in


K-Rich (Bongo)


Granite to

High K (>4%
K2O), Sr>>Belt
and Basin


Post tectonic




Granite to

Similar to Basin
K2O> Belt and
K2O <Bongo


Sm-Nd evidence of
Archean sialic


Source: Leube and Hirdes (1986), Eisenlohr and Hirdes (1992), Hirdes et al. (1992), Taylor, et al. (1988, 1992), Kesse, (1985).




Ultramafic bodies are associated with major faults. The largest is a lensoid body 2.5 km long and
100 m thick and deep to southeast in the Anum area (Jones, 1990). These bodies were probably
emplaced during thrusting at around 500 Ma. Grant (1969) interprets them as alpine serpentinite
emplaced at the base of the Togo Series.



An unusual rock interpreted to be a carbonatite occurs at Kpong on the Volta River (Mani, 1978,
Akiti et al., 1972, Bondesen, 1972). The rock is composed of rounded 1 cm diameter plagioclase
clasts set in a matrix of carbonate and biotite. Agyei et al., (1987) dated samples of this rock by
both Rb-Sr and K-Ar methods. The rounded plagioclase clasts gave K-Ar and Rb-Sr dates of 665
20 and 975 167 Ma respectively. These are too old for the geologic setting of the Kpong
conglomerate, and the plagioclase clasts must be lower crust or upper mantle xenocrysts (Agyei et
al., 1987). Biotite from the groundmass gave K-Ar and Rb-Sr dates of 54511 and 57215 Ma,
respectively. Agyei et al. (1987) concluded that this may be a more meaningful age for the
carbonatite. They interpret the age data as indicating that the carbonatite was emplaced late in the
Pan-African orogeny.



These represent the youngest volcanic rocks in Ghana. They are mainly gabbro, dolerite,
epidiorite and norite. They cut both the Birimian and Tarkwaian rocks. The dolerites are not
metamorphosed and commonly have intruded parallel to bedding. They are porphyritic containing
plagioclase phenocrysts in a carbonatised groundmass.


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