Factors leading to sub-surface pan silcrete formation in north-central Botswana

Sue Ringrose*, Sorcha Diskin, Lin Cassidy, Stefan Coetzee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New evidence was sought for sub-pan silcrete formation along the southern margin of Ntwetwe Pan in the Botswana Makgadikgadi basin. This was achieved by integrating drillhole and surface sample descriptions with element and isocon analysis. The silcrete deposit which lies ~1.0 m below the pan surface, comprises Ntane sandstone fragments and detrital infill, cemented by amorphous silica. The deposit probably evolved during sequential periods of palaeolake infilling and drying since at least the Mid-Pleistocene. Changes in basin water pH brought about during fresher water infill interspersed with brine evapo-concentration and later evaporative pumping, induced the mobilisation and precipitation of the silica cement immediately below the pan floor.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeological Society of South Africa
Issue number00
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Nov 2022


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