Geometry and 3D seismic characterisation of post-rift normal faults in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea

Yuanhang Liu Jinwei Gao Wanli Chen Jiliang Wang Umair Khan

Yuanhang Liu, Jinwei Gao, Wanli Chen, Jiliang Wang, Umair Khan. Geometry and 3D seismic characterisation of post-rift normal faults in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-024-2337-4
Citation: Yuanhang Liu, Jinwei Gao, Wanli Chen, Jiliang Wang, Umair Khan. Geometry and 3D seismic characterisation of post-rift normal faults in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-024-2337-4

doi: 10.1007/s13131-024-2337-4

Geometry and 3D seismic characterisation of post-rift normal faults in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea

Funds: The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 42276066; the Key Research and Development Program (International Science and Technology Cooperation Development Program) of Hainan Province under contract No. GHYF2022009; the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS under contract No. 2018401.
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  • Figure  1.  Structural units in the Pearl River Mouth Basin (modified from Wu et al., 2014) (a); distribution of normal faults around the study area (modified from Li et al., 2004 and Hu, 2016) (b). The yellow area marks the location of the 3D seismic data used in this study. NFT: Northern Fault Terrace; Zhu Ⅰ : Zhu Ⅰ Depression; Zhu Ⅱ D: Zhu Ⅱ Depression; Zhu Ⅲ D: Zhu Ⅲ Depression; SHASR: Shenhu-Ansha Rise; PYS: Panyu Swell; DSR: Dongsha Rise; CSD: Chaoshan Depression; SR: Southern Rise.

    Figure  2.  Cenozoic stratigraphic column with formations, main seismic reflections, and tectonic events of the (modified from Wu et al., 2014 and Gao et al., 2015).

    Figure  3.  Geometric aspects of a normal fault. a. Cross section of a normal fault. b. Corresponding T-z plots showing variations of the vertical throw from shallow to deep (modified from Hu et al., 2021). c and d. Ideal elliptical distribution model of a normal fault displaying distribution of vertical throws on the fault plane (modified from Fossen et al., 2016). Zi represents the top depth of a sedimentary layer located at the footwall of a normal fault. Ti represents the vertical throw at each sedimentary layer. The T-z plots show the relationship between Zi and Ti.

    Figure  4.  Coherent variance time-slice at 1199 ms (TWT) showing that distributions of normal faults and karst caves (a), 3D spatial distribution of post-rift normal faults and the contours of Reflector T40 (b), the rose map showing the predominant NWW−SEE and E−W orientation of the normal faults interpreted in Fig. 4b. c, and d. Interpreted seismic profile crosses the study area highlighting the normal faults, seismic stratigraphic units, and seismic characteristics of carbonate platform.

    Figure  5.  Seismic profiles exhibiting negative-flower-like structures (a) and “Y”-shaped structures (b).

    Figure  6.  3D spatial distribution (a), continuous seismic profiles (b), and throw distribution (c, d) of fault 17. Fig. 6a illustrates relationship between the normal fault and top of carbonate platform. Fig. 6b shows the extended variation of fault 17 from shallow to deep on continuous seismic profiles. Fig. 6c presents the T-z plots every 10 cross-lines. Fig. 6d shows vertical throw contours based on the Fig. 6c. Throw contours are spaced every 3 ms (TWT). Greater displacement values (>9 ms TWT) are indicated as dark colours.

    Figure  7.  3D spatial distribution (a), continuous seismic profiles (b), and throw distribution (c, d) of fault 19. Fig. 7a illustrates relationship between the normal fault and top of carbonate platform. Fig. 7b shows the extended variation of fault 19 from shallow to deep on continuous seismic profiles. Fig. 7c presents the T-z plots every 10 cross-lines. Fig. 7d shows vertical throw contours based on the Fig. 7c. Throw contours are spaced every 3 ms (TWT). Greater displacement values (>12 ms TWT) are indicated as dark colours.

    Figure  8.  3D spatial distribution (a), throw distribution (b, c), and continuous seismic profiles (d) of fault 276. Fig. 8a illustrates fault 276 conjugates with another normal fault. Fig. 8b presents the T-z plots every 10 cross-lines. Fig. 8c shows vertical throw contours based on the Fig. 8b. Fig. 8d shows the extended variation of fault 276 from shallow to deep on continuous seismic profiles. Throw contours are spaced every 3 ms (TWT). Greater displacement values (>9 ms TWT) are indicated as dark colours.

    Figure  9.  3D spatial distribution (a), continuous seismic profiles (b), and throw distribution (c, d) of fault 13. Fig. 9b shows the extended variation of fault 13 from shallow to deep on continuous seismic profiles. Fig. 9c presents the T-z plots every 10 cross-lines. Fig. 9d shows vertical throw contours based on the Fig. 9c, which two maximum throw zones in the central section on the fault plane. Throw contours are spaced every 3 ms (TWT). Greater displacement values (>9 ms TWT) are indicated as dark colours.

    Figure  10.  Measured and estimated fault throw contours of the normal faults 19 (a), 217 (b), 139 (c), and 89 (d) cutting through the carbonate platform. The dark areas mark the maximum throw zones. The yellow areas mark the estimated depth of normal faults.

    Figure  12.  Continuous seismic profiles illustrate the development of a karst cave with pipe and no normal faults developed.

    Figure  13.  Distribution (translucent grass green region) of oil and gas accumulation area in the study area (modified from Chai, 2014) (a). Green arrows indicate the migration direction of oil and gas. Extents of late Cenozoic and late Miocene magmatic activities in the Liuhua area (modified from Yan et al., 2006 and Zhao et al., 2021) (b).

    Figure  14.  Schematic formation processes of karst caves in the Zhujiang carbonate platform.

    Figure  11.  3D spatial distribution of normal faults cut off carbonate platform and karst caves. White irregular circles indicate the locations of karst caves.

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