Tindouf Basin

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West Africa: Tindouf Basin to the north of the West African craton West African Craton.svg
West Africa: Tindouf Basin to the north of the West African craton

The Tindouf Basin is a major sedimentary basin in West Africa, to the south of the little Atlas region, Morocco. It stretches from west to east about 700 kilometres (430 mi) and covers about 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 sq mi), mostly in Algeria but with a western extension into Morocco and Western Sahara.



In the Ordovician period (490 Ma to 445 Ma) the area was an embayment sloping down from the West African craton into the Tethys Ocean. It became a closed basin in the Late Carboniferous (320 Ma to 300 Ma). The basin has a steep northern edge against the Anti Atlas and more gently sloping southern edge. The basin is filled with up to 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) of sediment from the Cambrian and Carboniferous ageas. [1] These marine formations are overlain by a continental Cretaceous and Pliocene Hamada cover. [2]

Petroleum geology

The basin may have potential for oil and/or gas production, but has been largely unexplored. [3]

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Sahrawi refugee camps Collection of refugee camps set up in the Tindouf Province, Algeria

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The geology of Morocco formed beginning up to two billion years ago, in the Paleoproterozoic and potentially even earlier. It was affected by the Pan-African orogeny, although the later Hercynian orogeny produced fewer changes and left the Maseta Domain, a large area of remnant Paleozoic massifs. During the Paleozoic, extensive sedimentary deposits preserved marine fossils. Throughout the Mesozoic, the rifting apart of Pangaea to form the Atlantic Ocean created basins and fault blocks, which were blanketed in terrestrial and marine sediments—particularly as a major marine transgression flooded much of the region. In the Cenozoic, a microcontinent covered in sedimentary rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous collided with northern Morocco, forming the Rif region. Morocco has extensive phosphate and salt reserves, as well as resources such as lead, zinc, copper and silver.


  1. Richard C. Selley (1997). African basins. Elsevier. p. 17. ISBN   0-444-82571-1.
  2. S. Guerrak (1989). "Time and space distribution of Palaeozoic oolitic ironstones in the Tindouf Basin, Algerian Sahara". Geological Society, London, Special Publications. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
  3. M.S.Malla, Dr.D.Takherist (2000). "A GEOCHEMICAL POTENTIAL REVIEW OF THE TINDOUF BASIN , ALGERIAN SAHARA". World Petroleum Congress. Retrieved 2010-12-26.