Sedimentology of the Gwembe Coal Formation (Permian), Lower Karoo Group, Mid-Zambezi Valley, Southern Zambia

  1. N. D. Smith3 and
  2. J. Rogers4
  1. I. A. Nyambe

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304213.ch29

Fluvial Sedimentology VI

Fluvial Sedimentology VI

How to Cite

Nyambe, I. A. (1999) Sedimentology of the Gwembe Coal Formation (Permian), Lower Karoo Group, Mid-Zambezi Valley, Southern Zambia, in Fluvial Sedimentology VI (eds N. D. Smith and J. Rogers), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304213.ch29

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Geosciences, 214 Bessey Hall, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340, USA

  2. 4

    Cape Town, South Africa

Author Information

  1. Department of Geology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Ottawa, Ontario KIN 6N5, Canada

  1. Department of Geology, School of Mines, University of Zambia, Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 1999

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632053544

Online ISBN: 9781444304213



  • sedimentology of Gwembe Coal Formation (Permian), Lower Karoo Group, mid-Zambezi Valley, southern Zambia;
  • Lower Permian Gwembe Coal Formation;
  • lithofacies description;
  • Maamba sandstone;
  • sedimentology of Gwembe coal formation;
  • Maamba sandstone facies association;
  • sheet-sandstone lithofacies (CFA) - as crevasse-splay deposits;
  • Mudrock facies association;
  • Gwembe coal formation as floodplain depositional system


The Lower Permian Gwembe Coal Formation has a maximum thickness of 280 m. It is underlain and overlain by the Siankondobo Sandstone and Madumabisa Mudstone formations, respectively. The three formations constitute the Lower Karoo Group. The Gwembe Coal Formation represents fluvial deposition of sandstones, siltstones and mudstones in channels and on the floodplains. Fourteen lithofacies in the formation are grouped into four facies associations, namely Maamba Sandstone, Coal, Mudrock and Sandstone A facies. The Maamba Sandstone facies association is probably a high-sinuosity meandering stream deposit. The coal facies association includes the Interseam Sandstone and the coal lithofacies. The productive coals (Main Seam), with thicknesses from 5 to 12 m, were deposited in shallow swampy areas of the floodplain. Accumulation of organic deposits in the swamps was interrupted by deposition of channel, crevasse channel and splay, levee (Interseam Sandstone) and overbank fine deposits. Rootlets in underlying sandstones indicate an in situ origin for the Main Seam Coal. The Sandstone A facies association contains features consistent with a change in fluvial style from a proximal braided system to high-sinuosity meandering stream system. The mudrock facies association is mainly overbank fine deposits with abundant siderite concretionary beds that were precipitated diagenetically.