Geophysical evidence for a major palaeochannel within the Obosum Group of the Volta Basin, Northern Region, Ghana

Mark Jessell, Kwame Boamah, John Agyei Duodu, Yusen Ley-Cooper

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We have identified a 230 km long palaeochannel cutting through the sediments of the Obosum Group within the Volta Basin, Ghana. The channel is visible in regional airborne magnetic data as a pair of parallel magnetic anomalies which we interpret to be lateral terrace placer deposits of magnetite or maghemite and show both meandering and braided geometries. The palaeochannel is also visible in the airborne radiometric data for part of its length, as well as in airborne electromagnetic data, where it is marked by a zone of low conductivity. The meanders have a wavelength of around 20 km and together with the 2 km spacing between magnetic anomalies, suggest a major palaeo-river system, of as yet unknown age, although based on published detrital zircon ages for the host sediments and geomorphological arguments it is probably between 509 ± 68 and 45 Ma, and is comparable in size to the modern-day Niger River. Given the known occurrences of alluvial gold and diamonds in Ghana, and the general prospectivity of meandering and braided rivers systems, we believe the region has exploration potential for a range of economically valuable minerals, and could also potentially host a shallow aquifer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-596
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ghana
  • Palaeochannel
  • Placer deposit
  • Volta Basin

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