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The Gambia


Gambia is entirely underlain by a central part of the Senegal Basin known as the Casamance-Bissau sub-basin. It is an Atlantic-type passive margin basin of Middle Jurassic to Recent age.

The Senegal Basin began to form within a Permian to Triassic rift system that developed over an extensive Paleozoic basin during the breakup of North America, Africa and South America. It continued as a passive margin basin after opening of the ocean.

The northern limit is the Precambrian Reguibate Shield in Morocco, the southern limit is the Bove Basin of Guinea and the eastern edge is Precambrian rocks of the Mauritanide Mountains, uplifted during the Late Paleozoic Hercynian Orogeny. None of these limits cross The Gambia although the basin shallows to less than 1000m thick in the east of the country.

Onshore the basin is unproductive and probably lacks source rocks and traps. However offshore there may be potential oil and gas accumulations in deeper waters. Recent drilling in Senegal to the north has located petroleum systems associated with Cretaceous basin floor fans and shelf edge to slope clastic deposits. Similar plays have been tested elsewhere along the West Africa margin. Salt deformation in the deep basin provides potential traps.

West Africa

The Gambia