Syntheses of the geology of major areas of the Earth's crust are increasingly needed in order that the features of, and the problems associated with, the secular evolution of the continents can be understood by a wide audience. Southern Africa is fortunate in having a remarkable variety of geological environments developed without many breaks over 3. 8 Ga, and many of the rock groups are household names throughout the geological world. In one respect the geology of Southern Africa is particularly important: cratonization clearly began as early as 3. 0 Ga ago, in contrast to about 2. 5 Ga in most other continental areas such as North America. This book documents very well the remarkable change in tectonic conditions that took place between the Early and Mid-Precambrian; we have here evidence of the very earliest development of rigid lithospheric plates. This book is a tribute to the multitudes of scientists who have worked out the geology of Southern Africa over many years and decades. Whatever their discipline, each provided a step in the construction of this fascinating story of 3. 8 Ga of crustal development. In the book the reader will find a detailed review of the factual data, together with a balanced account of interpretative models without the indulgence of undue speculation. One of its attractions is its multidisciplinary approach which provides a stimulating challenge to the reader.
A.J. Tankard, D.R. Hunter, David K. Hobday, K. A. Eriksson, M.P.A. Jackson, W. E. L. Minter