Advertisement

Stratigraphic architectures and associated unconformities of Pearl River Mouth basin during rifting and lithospheric breakup of the South China Sea

  • Xinong XieEmail author
  • Jianye Ren
  • Xiong Pang
  • Chao Lei
  • Hui Chen
Original Research Paper
  • 26 Downloads

Abstract

The lithosphere breakup processes from initial rifting of the crust to the complete rupture of the lithosphere underwent several tectonic evolution stages and resulted in the formation of a distinct stratigraphic architecture and associated unconformities. In this study, a dense grid of seismic profiles tied to industrial borehole data are used to investigate the stratigraphic architecture and unconformity interfaces in the Pearl River Mouth basin of the northern South China Sea margin. The Pearl River Mouth typed rifted margin evolved from stretching, thinning, to finally seafloor spreading. Our results indicate that a distinct stratigraphic architecture with well defined unconformities are formed in the proximal to distal zone of the margin. The syn-rift strata have been constrained by the top of basement unconformity and the lithosphere breakup unconformity. Polyphase rift strata during lithospheric rupture process are mainly controlled by two fault patterns, high-angle normal faults and low-angle detachment faults. In the proximal domain, multiple episodes of syn-rift strata are characterized by vertical superimposed half-graben or graben type stratigraphic patterns separated by crack-related unconformity. However, in the more distal zones, syn-rift strata composed two distinct intervals separated by detachment-related unconformity, including small-scaled dispersed half-graben or graben at the lower part and large-scaled wide syn-detachment depression at the upper part. Based on these observations we provide an effective method for the correlation of sedimentary strata from the proximal to distal domains of the passive rifted margins during the lithospheric rupture process.

Keywords

Stratigraphic architecture Seafloor spreading of South China Sea Passive continental margin Pearl River Mouth basin 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Scientific Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 91528301 and 41830537) and the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (Grant No. B14031). We thank the China National Offshore Oil Company, the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey and the Second Institute of Oceanography for permission to release the data. The authors greatly acknowledge the helpful and constructive reviews of Profs. Gianreto Manatschal, Changsong Lin, and Wucheng Chi.

References

  1. Autin J, Leroy S, Beslier MO et al (2010) Continental break-up history of a deep magma-poor margin based on seismic reflection data (northeastern Gulf of Aden margin, offshore Oman). Geophys J Int 180(2):501–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barckhausen U, Engels M, Franke D, Ladage S, Pubellier M (2014) Evolution of the South China Sea: revised ages for breakup and seafloor spreading. Mar Pet Geol 58:599–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boillot G, Recq M, Winterer EL et al (1987) Tectonic denudation of the upper mantle along passive margins: a model based on drilling results (ODP leg 103, western Galicia margin, Spain). Tectonophysics 132(4):335–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Briais A, Patriat P, Tapponnier P (1993) Updated interpretation of magnetic anomalies and seafloor spreading stages in the South China Sea: implications for the Tertiary tectonics of Southeast Asia. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 98(B4):6299–6328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen PH, Chen ZY, Zhang QM (1993) Sequence stratigraphy and continental margin development of the northwestern Shelf of the South China Sea. AAPG Bull 77:842–862Google Scholar
  6. Clift P, Lin J, Barckhausen U (2002) Evidence of low flexural rigidity and low viscosity lower continental crust during continental break-up in the South China Sea. Mar Pet Geol 19(8):951–970CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cullen A (2014) Nature and significance of the West Baram and Tinjar Lines, NW Borneo. Mar Pet Geol 51:197–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dafoe LT, Keen CE, Dickie K, Williams GL (2017) Regional stratigraphy and subsidence of Orphan Basin near the time of breakup and implications for rifting processes. Basin Res 29:233–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ding W, Li J (2016) Propagated rifting in the Southwest sub-basin, South China Sea: insights from analogue modelling. J Geodyn 100:71–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Expedition 349 Scientists (2014) South China Sea Tectonics: opening of the South China Sea and its implications for Southeast Asian Tectonics, climates, and deep mantle processes since the late Mesozoic. International Ocean Discovery Program Preliminary Report, 349Google Scholar
  11. Falvey DA (1974) The development of continental margins in plate tectonic theory. APPEA J 14(1):95–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Franke D, Barckhausen U, Baristeas N et al (2011) The continent-ocean transition at the southeastern margin of the South China Sea. Mar Pet Geol 28(6):1187–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Franke D, Savva D, Pubellier M et al (2014) The final rifting evolution in the South China Sea. Mar Pet Geol 58:704–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gong ZS, Li ST (1997) Continental margin basin analysis and hydrocarbon accumulation of the Northern South China Sea. Science Press, Beijing, pp 193–256Google Scholar
  15. Gong ZS, Li ST (2004) Oil and gas pool-forming dynamics in north marginal basins of South China Sea. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  16. Hall R (2002) Cenozoic geological and plate tectonic evolution of SE Asia and the SW Pacific: computer-based reconstructions, model and animations. J Asian Earth Sci 20(4):353–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haupert I, Manatschal G, Decarlis A, Unternehr P (2016) Upper-plate magma-poor rifted margins: stratigraphic architecture and structural evolution. Mar Pet Geol 69:241–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. He M, Zhuo HT, Chen WT, Wang YM, Du JY, Liu LH, Wang LL, Wan HQ (2017) Sequence stratigraphy and depositional architecture of the Pearl River Delta system, northern South China Sea: an interactive response to sea level, tectonics and paleoceanography. Mar Pet Geol 84:76–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hopper JR, Funck T, Tucholke BE et al (2004) Continental breakup and the onset of ultraslow seafloor spreading off Flemish Cap on the Newfoundland rifted margin. Geology 32(1):93–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jiang J, Shi H, Lin C, Zhang Z, Wei A, Zhang B, Shu L, Tian H, Tao Z, Liu H (2017) Sequence architecture and depositional evolution of the Late Miocene to quaternary northeastern shelf margin of the South China Sea. Mar Pet Geol 81:79–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Larsen HC, Mohn G, Nirrengarten M, Sun Z, Stock J, Jian Z, Klaus A, Alvarez-Zarikian CA, Boaga J, Bowden SA, Briais A, Chen Y, Cukur D, Dadd K, Ding W, Dorais M, Ferré EC, Ferreira F, Furusawa A, Gewecke A, Hinojosa J, Höfig TW, Hsiung KH, Huang B, Huang E, Huang XL, Jiang S, Jin H, Johnson BG, Kurzawski RM, Lei C, Li B, Li L, Li Y, Lin J, Liu C, Liu C, Liu Z, Luna AJ, Lupi C, McCarthy A, Ningthoujam L, Osono N, Peate DW, Persaud P, Qiu N, Robinson C, Satolli S, Sauermilch I, Schindlbeck JC, Skinner S, Straub S, Su X, Su C, Tian L, van der Zwan FM, Wan S, Wu H, Xiang R, Yadav R, Yi L, Yu PS, Zhang C, Zhang J, Zhang Y, Zhao N, Zhong G, Zhong L (2018) Rapid transition from continental breakup to igneous oceanic crust in the South China Sea. Nat Geosci 11:782–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lei C, Ren JY (2016) Hyper-extended rift systems in the Xisha Trough: implications for extreme crustal thinning ahead of a propagating ocean of the South China Sea. Mar Petrol Geol 77(12):846–864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li CF, Xu X, Lin J et al (2014a) Ages and magnetic structures of the South China Sea constrained by deep tow magnetic surveys and IODP Expedition 349. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 15(12):4958–4983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li L, Clift PD, Stephenson R, Nguyen HT (2014b) Non-uniform hyper-extension in advance of seafloor spreading on the Vietnam continental margin and the SW South China Sea. Basin Res 26(1):106–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li CF, Lin J, Kulhanek DK, Scientists TE (2015) Proceedings of the international ocean discovery program. International Ocean Discovery Program, 349Google Scholar
  26. Lin CS, Jiang J, Shi HS et al (2018) Sequence architecture and depositional evolution of the northern continental slope of the South China Sea: responses to tectonic processes and changes in sea level. Basin Res 30(S1):568–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lister GS, Etheridge MA, Symonds PA (1986) Detachment faulting and the evolution of passive continental margins. Geology 14:246–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maillard A, Malod J, Thiébot E, Klingelhoefer F, Réhault JP (2006) Imaging a lithospheric detachment at the continent-ocean crustal transition off Morocco. Earth Planet Sci Lett 241(3–4):686–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Manatschal G (2004) New models for evolution of magma-poor rifted margins based on a review of data and concepts from West Iberia and the Alps. Int J Earth Sci 93:432–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Manatschal G, Müntener O, Lavier LL, Minshull TA, Péron-Pinvidic G (2007) Observations from the Alpine Tethys and Iberia–Newfoundland margins pertinent to the interpretation of continental breakup. In: Karner G, Manatschal G, Pinheiro L (eds) Imaging, mapping and modelling continental lithosphere extension and breakup. Geological Society, London, pp 289–322Google Scholar
  31. Masini E, Manatschal G, Mohn G, Ghienne JF, Lafont F (2011) The tectono-sedimentary evolution of a supra-detachment rift basin at a deep-water magma-poor rifted margin: the example of the Samedan Basin preserved in the Err nappe in SE Switzerland. Basin Res 23(6):652–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Masini E, Manatschal G, Mohn G (2013) The Alpine Tethys rifted margins: reconciling old and new ideas to understand the stratigraphic architecture of magma-poor rifted margins. Sedimentology 60(1):174–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McKenzie D (1978) Some remarks on the development of sedimentary basins. Earth Planet Sci Lett 40(1):25–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mi LJ, Zhang GC (2011) Strategic investigations and evaluations of hydrocarbon resources in the deep sea areas of North continental slope of the South China Sea. BeijingGoogle Scholar
  35. Mohn G, Manatschal G, Beltrando M, Masini E, Kusznir N (2012) Necking of continental crust in magma-poor rifted margins: evidence from the fossil Alpine Tethys margins. Tectonics.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2011TC002961 Google Scholar
  36. Morley CK (2016) Major unconformities/termination of extension events and associated surfaces in the South China Sea: review and implications for tectonic development. J Asian Earth Sci 120:62–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pang X, Chen C, Peng D (2007a) Deep-water fan system in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of South China Sea and its signifant on petroleum. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  38. Pang X, Chen CM, Peng DJ, Zhu M, Shu Y, He M, Shen J, Liu BJ (2007b) Sequence stratigraphy of Pearl River deep-water fan system in the South China Sea. Earth Sci Front 14(1):220–229 (in Chinese with English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Péron-Pinvidic G, Manatschal G (2009) The final rifting evolution at deep magma-poor passive margins from Iberia–Newfoundland: a new point of view. Int J Earth Sci 98(7):1581–1597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Péron-Pinvidic G, Manatschal G (2010) From microcontinents to extensional allochthons: witnesses of how continents rift and break apart? Petrol Geosci 16(3):189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Péron-Pinvidic G, Manatschal G, Osmundsen PT (2013) Structural comparison of archetypal Atlantic rifted margins: a review of observations and concepts. Mar Pet Geol 43:21–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ren JY, Pang X, Lei C, Yuan LZ, Yang LL (2015) Ocean and continent transition in passive continental margins and analysis of lithospheric extension and breakup process: implication for research of the deepwater basins in the continental margins of South China Sea. Earth Sci Front 22(1):102–114Google Scholar
  43. Ru K, Pigott JD (1986) Episodic rifting and subsidence in the South China Sea. AAPG Bull 70(9):1136–1155Google Scholar
  44. Savva D, Pubellier M, Franke D et al (2014) Different expressions of rifting on the South China Sea margins. Mar Pet Geol 58:579–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shi H, He M, Zhang L et al (2014) Hydrocarbon geology, accumulation pattern and the next exploration strategy in the eastern Pearl River Mouth basin. China Offshore Oil Gas 26(3):11–22 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  46. Sibuet JC, Yeh YC, Lee CS (2016) Geodynamics of the South China Sea. Tectonophysics 692:98–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Soares DM, Alves TM, Terrinha P (2012) The breakup sequence and associated lithospheric breakup surface: their significance in the context of rifted continental margins (West Iberia and Newfoundland margins, North Atlantic). Earth Planet Sci Lett 355–356:311–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sun Q, Wu S, Cartwright J, Wang S, Lu Y, Chen D, Dong D (2014) Neogene igneous intrusions in the northern South China Sea: evidence from high-resolution three dimensional seismic data. Mar Petrol Geol 54:83–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Taylor B, Hayes DE (1983) Origin and history of the South China Sea basin. Tecton Geol Evolut Southeast Asian Seas Isl: Part 2 27:23–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tucholke BE, Sawyer DS, Sibuet JC (2007) Breakup of the Newfoundland–Iberia rift. Geol Soc 282(1):9–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wernicke B (1981) Low-angle normal faults in the Basin and Range Province: nappe tectonics in an extending orogen. Nature 291:645–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Xie X, Muller DR, Li S, Gong Z, Steinberger B (2006) Origin of anomalous subsidence along the Northern South China Sea margin and its relationship to dynamic topography. Mar Pet Geol 23:745–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Xie X, Muller DR, Ren JY, Jiang T, Zhang C (2008) Stratigraphic architecture and evolution of the continental slope system in offshore Hainan, northern South China Sea. Mar Geol 247:129–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yan P, Deng H, Liu H, Zhang Z, Jiang Y (2006) The temporal and spatial distribution of volcanism in the South China Sea region. J Asian Earth Sci 27:647–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yang LL, Ren JY, McIntosh K, Pang X, Lei C, Zhao YH (2018) The structure and evolution of deepwater basins in the distal margin of the northern South China Sea and their implications for the formation of the continental margin. Mar Pet Geol 92:234–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhou D, Ru K, Chen HZ (1995) Kinematics of Cenozoic extension on the South China Sea continental margin and its implications for the tectonic evolution of the region. Tectonophysics 251:161–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zhu WL (2007) Gas Geology in Marginal Basins of the Northern South China Sea. Petroleum Industry Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinong Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jianye Ren
    • 1
  • Xiong Pang
    • 2
  • Chao Lei
    • 1
  • Hui Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tectonics and Petroleum Resources of Ministry of EducationChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.China National Offshore Oil Shenzhen Ltd., CorporationShenzhenChina

Personalised recommendations