Middle Miocene reworked turbidites in the Baiyun Sag of the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea margin: Processes, genesis, and implications

Chenglin Gong, Yingmin Wang, Rongcai Zheng, Francisco-Javier Hernández-Molina, Yun Li, Dorrik Stow, Qiang Xu, Rachel Brackenridge

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Our understanding of reworked turbidites is still in its infancy, and their flow processes and genesis still remain understudied. Core data from the middle Miocene Zhujiang Formation in the Pearl River Mouth Basin allow us to differentiate reworked turbidites, yielding two main contributions. Firstly, reworked turbidites are distinguished from turbidites by the association of traction structures and tidal signatures, which occur in discrete units rather than forming a classic “Bouma Sequence” for turbidites. Sedimentological characteristics of reworked turbidites proposed here will help to obtain a robust set of diagnostic criteria for the recognition of deep-water non-turbidite deepwater units as reservoirs. Secondly, our results suggest that, in the down-slope direction, classic detritus carried in turbidity flows would synchronously be bidirectionally reworked by internal tides and waves, resulting in tidal signatures seen in the interpreted reworked turbidites. In the along-slope direction, upper parts of dilute turbidity currents would mix vertically with seawater, and muddy fines would be winnowed away by contour currents, whereas lower parts of dilute turbidity currents would probably drop their coarse particles, resulting in traction structures recognized in the documented reworked turbidites. Our work highlights the influence of bottom currents on the development and modification of turbidites and suggests that reworked turbidites were created by the combined action of down-slope transport and reworking and along-slope winnowing and sorting, helping to better understand flow processes and genesis of non-turbidite reservoirs with a great economic interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116–129
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Early online date25 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


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