Refined stratigraphy of the Middle Permian Abrahamskraal Formation (Beaufort Group) in the southern Karoo Basin
Author: Sifelani Jirah and Bruce Rubidge
Publication: Journal of African Earth Sciences vol 100, pp 121–135
Fluvially deposited rocks of the Abrahamskraal Formation of the lower Beaufort Group in the South African Karoo record sediment deposition during the Middle Permian, the earliest terrestrial environment of Gondwana. A rich diversity of fossil tetrapods from this Formation provides a unique opportunity for understanding Middle Permian biodiversity changes in Gondwanan terrestrial ecosystems, but this is dependent on the existence of a robust stratigraphic framework that has been hampered by lack of lateral continuity of lithological markers combined with structural complexities relating to formation of the Cape Fold Belt. Because the Abrahamskraal Formation covers a large geographic area of the main Karoo Basin previous stratigraphic studies have been undertaken over large areas. This study combines geology and palaeontology to refine the stratigraphy of the Abrahamskraal Formation in a part of the southwestern Karoo Basin and revealed mappable lithological units with lateral continuity throughout the study area. The measured stratigraphic section manifests a total thickness of 2565 m for the Formation (the thickest occurrence of the Abrahamskraal Formation in the Beaufort Group).