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Rifting in the Okavango

SEISORZ is the active-source seismic component of the PRIDE project.  The PRIDE project aims to understand the processes of continental rift initiation and evolution by analyzing along-axis trends in the southern portion of the East Africa rift system, from Botswana through Zambia and Malawi.  The SEISORZ experiment focuses on the rift in Botswana, and in particular the rift graben in northwestern Botswana that hosts the Okavango delta.  The scientific objectives of the SEISORZ experiment are to image the crustal structure across the rift and use this image to estimate total extension, determine the pattern thinning, assess the possible presence of melt within the rift zone, and assess the contrast in crustal blocks across the rift, which closely follows the trend of a mobile belt.

Shallow Geophysical Imaging in the Okavango Delta, Botswana: A Pilot Study of Neotectonics Records in an Active Incipient Rift Basin

The goal of this project is to test different methodologies for imaging shallow faults and the sedimentary stratigraphy of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. We used several geophysical imaging tools from WHOI’s Coastal Systems Group: ground-penetrating radar (GPR), chirp acoustic sub-bottom profiler, and electrical resistivity (ER) profiler. We targeted channels that cross major faults (Gumare, Tsau, Lecha, Kunyere and Thamalakane) that are known to break the surface. We surveyed channels both in the upper and distal ends of the delta which have distinct types of sedimentation (clastic vs. chemical, respectively) and sedimentation rates, as well as major and minor channels in both areas.

Funding Agencies


This research is supported by the US National Science Foundation (award EAR-1010432).

Shallow Geophysical Imaging

Funded by the WHOI Interdisciplinary Awards, The Joint Initiative Awards Fund from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.




Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Dan Lizarralde, Liviu Giosan

University of Botswana: KB Laletsang, Lucky Moffat, Motsoptse Modisi

University of Texas at El Paso: Steve Harder, Galen Kaip

Oklahoma State University: Estella Atekwana