Structural inversion in the northern South China Sea continental margin and its tectonic implications

Chin Da Huang, Tung Yi Lee*, Ching Hua Lo, Sun Lin Chung, Jong Chang Wu, Ching Lung Tien, Meng Wan Yeh, Shiu Chi Chen, Yu Lu Chan, Ching Yi Hu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


he northern South China Sea (SCS) continental margin was proposed to be an active margin during the Mesozoic. However, only a few papers discussed the Mesozoic structural evolution in this region. Here, we provide information based on the seismic profile interpretations with age control from biostratigraphic studies and detrital zircon U-Pb dates of well MZ-1-1 in the western Dongsha-Penghu Uplift of the northern SCS continental margin. The industrial seismic profiles reveal evidence for structural inversion as represented by folds and high-angle reverse faults, formed by reactivation of pre-existing normal faults. The inversion event likely started after the Early Cretaceous, and developed in Late Cretaceous, but ceased before the Cenozoic. The areal extent of the structural inversion was restricted in the western Dongsha-Penghu Uplift and was approximately 100 km in width. Based on the paleogeographic reconstruction of SCS, the structural inversion was likely formed by a collision between the seamount (volcanic islands) swarm of the current North Palawan block (mainly the Calamian Islands) and the northern SCS continental margin around Late Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-922
Number of pages32
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec


  • Calamian Islands
  • Continental margin
  • Detrital zircon U-Pb dating
  • Dongsha-Penghu Uplift
  • Palawan blocks
  • South China Sea
  • Structural inversion
  • West Philippines block

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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