Journal of African Earth Sciences ( IF 1.603 ) Pub Date : 2020-08-01 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2020.103971 Cyriel Moudioh; Landry Soh Tamehe; Sylvestre Ganno; Marvine Nzepang Tankwa; Mariana Brando Soares; Rupam Ghosh; Boniface Kankeu; Jean Paul Nzenti
The banded iron formations (BIFs) in the Bipindi greenstone belt (GB) are hosted within metavolcano-sedimentary sequence of the Nyong Group at the northwestern edge of the Congo Craton (Ntem Complex) in southern Cameroon. New data on the BIFs and its associated rocks allow us to discuss the tectonic setting of this greenstone belt in a regional perspective. Metavolcanic rocks consist of epidosites, mafic granulites, and garnet-pyroxene gneisses, whereas the metasedimentary rocks comprise chlorite-epidote schists. These rocks have been metamorphosed under greenschist-to granulite-facies conditions. The geochemical features of the metavolcanic rocks such as the trace element ratios and rare earth elements (REE) patterns suggest that their protolith corresponded to tholeiitic to transitional and calc-alkaline basalts. The associated metasedimentary rocks are characterized by low La/Sc and Th/Sc discrimination ratios, and REE abundances, indicating that they were derived from mafic and intermediate igneous rocks. Similar protoliths were recently described for metamorphic rocks interbedded with BIFs at the Nyong Group, which were formed in a shallow basin near the continent. The Bipindi BIFs are further characterized by both weak (1.31–1.34) and slightly high (2.00–2.51) positive (Eu/Eu)SN ratio, that are typical of Superior- and Algoma-type BIFs respectively. However, the geochemical features of the host rocks (e.g., REE patterns, Th/Nb, La/Yb, and La/Sc ratios) suggest that the Bipindi BIFs were deposited at an extensional geodynamic setting likely related to a back-arc, similar to the depositional environment for many Algoma-type BIFs. Archean-Paleoproterozoic arc setting is widely distributed across the Congo Caton and the West African Craton, suggesting integration of the tectonic evolution of the Bipindi GB into a continental-scale paleogeography.