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Geological characters of the East and West Africa continental margins and their significance for hydrocarbon exploration

MA Jun1,LIU Jian-ping2,PAN Xiao-hua3,WAN Lun-kun3,WANG Xun-lian21.Greatwall Drilling Corpration of CNPC,Beijing 100101,China;2.Faculty of Geosciences and Resources,China University of Geosciences,Beijing 100083,China;3.International Research Center of CNPC,Beijing 100083,China  
Through comparing the geological characteristics between the East and West Africa margins,some differences in their evolution history,structural styles and textures can be concluded.The hydrocarbon-forming conditions of these two margins are discussed,too.The rifting on the East Africa margin commenced and ended earlier.It mainly happened from Jurassic to Early Cretaceous.Under the influence of this rifting and subsequent drifting,the continental margin in East Africa were partitioned to several different segments represented by the dextral-and sinistral-type shear margins and the oblique-type shear margin.Therefore,the shelves were narrower and the slopes were steeper and a series of ridges or arches formed and controlled by the major transform zones on the East Africa margin,which definitely confined or limited the extension of sediments seaward.In another way,not only the rifting but the sea spreading on the West Africa margin started later and mainly happened during the Early Cretaceous.The West Africa margin was mainly a pull-apart margin with the broader shelf and gentle-dipping slope.The thick evaporite rocks depositing on the West Africa margin generated numbers of large scale halokinesis and mud-diapire structures beneficial to hydrocarbon accumulation.In fact,lots of large or giant hydrocarbon plays have been confirmed on the West Africa margin.
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