Summary: The Benue trough is a graben structure containing folded Upper Cretaceous sediments. Mid-Tertiary to Recent rift-valley type vulcanicity in and near the trough was mainly basaltic (in the north at least), salic lavas being now represented mainly by a few eroded plugs. The Nigerian rocks are regarded as a practically extinct sub-province within a larger Gulf of Guinea alkaline province, dominated by the voluminous and still active vulcanicity of the Cameroun rift. The two structures have the same trend as other graben features further south along Africa's western margin.
Large sodic plagioclase crystals in a basalt plug within the Nigerian sub-province have rounded edges and more calcic overgrowths. They probably crystallized at deep crustal levels but are unaccompanied by any of the mafic phases that normally crystallize from basalts under high pressure. However, spinel crystals and olivine nodules found in a nearby plug indicate that the complementary mafic assemblage may be found not far away. Sparse published data on phenocrysts and inclusions in the Jos Plateau lavas offer some support for this suggestion.
Crystallization of sodic feldspars in basalt may have a bearing on the independent genesis of salic liquids, while apatite and magnetite inclusions in them suggest a possible link with carbonatites.