Canyon-infilling and gas hydrate occurrences in the frontal fold of the offshore accretionary wedge off southern Taiwan

Che Chuan Lin, Andrew Tien Shun Lin, Char Shine Liu, Chorng Shern Horng, Guan Yu Chen, Yunshuen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

We utilized reflection seismic and bathymetric data to infer the canyon-infilling, fold uplift, and gas hydrate occurrences beneath the frontal fold at the toe of the accretionary wedge, offshore SW Taiwan. The lateral migrating paleo-Penghu canyons has cut across the frontal fold with six distinct canyon/channel incisions marked by channel infills. The longitudinal bathymetric profile along the modern canyon course shows a knickpoint of ~300 m relief at this frontal fold, indicating that the rate of fold uplift is greater than that of canyon incision. The age for the initial thrusting of this fontal fold is around 240 kyr ago, as estimated by using the maximum thickness of growth strata of this fold divided by the sedimentation rate obtained from a nearby giant piston core. Bottom simulating reflector (BSR) on seismic sections indicates the base of gas hydrate stability zone. Beneath the frontal fold, there is a widespread occurrence of BSRs, suggesting the highly probable existence of substantial quantities of gas hydrates. A seismic flat spot and a few push-down reflectors below BSR are found lying beneath the anticlinal axis with bathymetric four-way dip closure. The flat spot, cutting across a series of dipping reflections beneath BSR, may indicate the contact between free gas and its underlying formation water. The push-down reflectors beneath BSRs are interpreted to result from abundant free gas hosted beneath the gas hydrate stability zone. The multiple paleo-canyon infills seen along and beneath the frontal fold and above BSRs may provide thick porous sands to host gas hydrates in the frontal fold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalMarine Geophysical Research
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Accretionary wedge
  • Frontal front
  • Gas hydrate
  • Submarine canyon

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