Marine Science Faculty Publications

Seismic Stratigraphy of the Central South China Sea Basin and Implications for Neotectonics


Chun-Feng Li, Tongji University
Jiabiao Li, State Oceanic Administration
Weiwei Ding, State Oceanic Administration
Dieter Franke, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources
Yongjian Yao, Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey
Hesheng Shi, China National Offshore Oil Company
Xiong Pang, China National Offshore Oil Company
Ying Cao, Tongji University
Jian Lin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Denise K. Kulhanek, Texas A&M University
Trevor Williams, Columbia University
Rui Bao, Geologcal Institute
Anne Briais, University of Toulouse
Elizabeth A. Brown, University of South FloridaFollow
Yifeng Chen, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry
Peter D. Clift, Louisiana State University
Frederick S. Colwell, Oregon State University
Kelsie A. Dadd, Macquarie University
Iván Hernández-Almeida, University of Bern
Xiao-Long Huang, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry
Sangmin Hyun, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology
Tao Jiang, University of Geosciences
Anthony A. Koppers, Oregon State University
Qianyu Li, Tongji University
Chuanlian Liu, Tongji University
Qingsong Liu, Institute of Geology and Geophysics
Zhifei Liu, Tongji University
Renata H. Nagai, Universidade de São Paulo
Alyssa Peleo-Alampay, University of the Philippines
Xin Su, University of Geosciences
Zhen Sun, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology
Maria Luisa Tejada, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology
Hai Son Trinh, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Yi-Ching Yeh, Taiwan Ocean Research Institute
Chuanlun Zhang, Tongji University
Fan Zhang, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Guo-Liang Zhang, Institute of Oceanology
Xixi Zhao, Tongji University

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Publication Date



South China Sea, seismic stratigraphy, seismic facies, neotectonism, IODP Expedition 349, core-well-seismic integration

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Coring/logging data and physical property measurements from International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 349 are integrated with, and correlated to, reflection seismic data to map seismic sequence boundaries and facies of the central basin and neighboring regions of the South China Sea. First-order sequence boundaries are interpreted, which are Oligocene/Miocene, middle Miocene/late Miocene, Miocene/Pliocene, and Pliocene/Pleistocene boundaries. A characteristic early Pleistocene strong reflector is also identified, which marks the top of extensive carbonate-rich deposition in the southern East and Southwest Subbasins. The fossil spreading ridge and the boundary between the East and Southwest Subbasins acted as major sedimentary barriers, across which seismic facies changes sharply and cannot be easily correlated. The sharp seismic facies change along the Miocene-Pliocene boundary indicates that a dramatic regional tectonostratigraphic event occurred at about 5 Ma, coeval with the onsets of uplift of Taiwan and accelerated subsidence and transgression in the northern margin. The depocenter or the area of the highest sedimentation rate switched from the northern East Subbasin during the Miocene to the Southwest Subbasin and the area close to the fossil ridge in the southern East Subbasin in the Pleistocene. The most active faulting and vertical uplifting now occur in the southern East Subbasin, caused most likely by the active and fastest subduction/obduction in the southern segment of the Manila Trench and the collision between the northeast Palawan and the Luzon arc. Timing of magmatic intrusions and seamounts constrained by seismic stratigraphy in the central basin varies and does not show temporal pulsing in their activities.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, v. 120, issue 3, p. 1377-1399