Structural controls on the formation of BSR over a diapiric anticline from a dense MCS survey offshore southwestern Taiwan

Type Article
Date 2011-11
Language English
Author(s) Schnurle Philippe1, Liu Char-Shine2, Lin Andrew T.3, Lin Saulwood2
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Inst Marine Geosci, F-29280 Brest, France.
2 : Natl Taiwan Univ, Inst Oceanog, Taipei 10764, Taiwan.
3 : Natl Cent Univ, Inst Geophys, Jhongli, Taiwan.
Source Marine And Petroleum Geology (0264-8172) (Elsevier Sci Ltd), 2011-11 , Vol. 28 , N. 10 , P. 1932-1942
DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2010.12.004
WOS© Times Cited 12
Keyword(s) Gas hydrates, Diapirism, Taiwan
Abstract A dense seismic reflection survey with up to 250-m line-spacing has been conducted in a 15 × 15 km wide area offshore southwestern Taiwan where Bottom Simulating Reflector is highly concentrated and geochemical signals for the presence of gas hydrate are strong. A complex interplay between north–south trending thrust faults and northwest–southeast oblique ramps exists in this region, leading to the formation of 3 plunging anticlines arranged in a relay pattern. Landward in the slope basin, a north–south trending diapiric fold, accompanied by bright reflections and numerous diffractions on the seismic profiles, extends across the entire survey area. This fold is bounded to the west by a minor east-verging back-thrust and assumes a symmetric shape, except at the northern and southern edges of this area, where it actively overrides the anticlines along a west-verging thrust, forming a duplex structure. A clear BSR is observed along 67% of the acquired profiles. The BSR is almost continuous in the slope basin but poorly imaged near the crest of the anticlines. Local geothermal gradient values estimated from BSR sub-bottom depths are low along the western limb and crest of the anticlines ranging from 40 to 50 °C/km, increase toward 50–60 °C/km in the slope basin and 55–65 °C/km along the diapiric fold, and reach maximum values of 70 °C/km at the southern tip of the Good Weather Ridge. Furthermore, the local dips of BSR and sedimentary strata that crosscut the BSR at intersections of any 2 seismic profiles have been computed. The stratigraphic dips indicated a dominant east–west shortening in the study area, but strata near the crest of the plunging anticlines generally strike to southwest almost perpendicular to the direction of plate convergence. The intensity of the estimated bedding-guided fluid and gas flux into the hydrate stability zone is weaker than 2 in the slope basin and the south-central half of the diapiric fold, increases to 7 in the northern half of the diapiric fold and plunging anticlines, and reaches a maximum of 16 at the western frontal thrust system. Rapid sedimentation, active tectonics and fluid migration paths with significant dissolved gas content impact on the mechanism for BSR formation and gas hydrate accumulation. As we begin to integrate the results from these studies, we are able to outline the regional variations, and discuss the importance of structural controls in the mechanisms leading to the gas hydrate emplacements.
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