Marine Geophysical Research

, Volume 34, Issue 3–4, pp 325–339 | Cite as

Refining the model of South China Sea’s tectonic evolution: evidence from Yinggehai-Song Hong and Qiongdongnan Basins

  • Weilin Zhu
  • Chao Lei
Original Research Paper


The Cenozoic Yinggehai-Song Hong and Qiongdongnan Basins together form one of the largest Cenozoic sedimentary basins in SE Asia. Detail studying on the newly released regional seismic data, we observed their basin structure and stratigraphy are clearly different. The structure of the NW–SE elongation of the Yinggehai-Song Hong Basin is strongly controlled by the strike–slip faulting of steep Red River Fault. And the basement is covered by heavy sediments from the Red River. However, structures closely related with rifting are imagined on the seismic data from the Qiongdongnan Basin. This rifting and thinning on the northern continental margin of the South China Sea is necessary to be explained by the subduction of a Proto-South China Sea oceanic crust toward the NW Borneo block during the Eocene–Early Miocene. To test how the strike–slip faulting in the Yinggehai-Song Hong Basin and rifting in the Qiongdongnan Basin develop together in the northwest corner of the South China Sea, we reconstructed the tectonics of the northwest corner of the South China Sea and test the model with software of MSC MARC. The numerical model results indicate the South China Sea and its surrounding area can be divided into a collision-extrusion tectonic province and a Proto-South China Sea slab pull tectonic province as suggested in previous works. We suggested that offshore Red River Fault in the Yinggehai-Song Hong Basin is confirmed as a very important tectonic boundary between these two tectonic provinces.


South China Sea Yinggehai-Song Hong Basin Qiongdongnan Basin Red River Fault Southeast Asia 



This study is supported by grants from Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41272121, 91028009, 41302082, 41102071) and National Science and Technology Major Project (2011ZX05023-001-001, 2011ZX05025-002-02-01). This manuscript has been improved as a result of discussions with Jianye Ren, Xinong Xie and Zuoxun Zeng from China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, Sean Willett from ETH Zurich and Yuhong Xie from China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd., Zhanjiang. Two anonymous reviewers helped revise the manuscript with their comments. Peter Clift from Louisiana State University and Zhen Sun from South China Sea Institute of Oceanology significantly helped improve an earlier version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd.BeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Tectonics and Petroleum Resources of Ministry of EducationChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

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