The Tectonic Boundary Between Eastern Subbaisin and South-West Subbasin of the South China Sea Revealed from the Normalized Magnetic Source Strength

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Lianghui Guo1 and Xiaohong Meng1,2, (1)China University of Geosciences (Beijing), School of Geophysics and Information Technology, Beijing, China, (2)China University of Geocsience, Beijing, China
The South China Sea (SCS), surrounded by the Eurasia, Pacific and India-Australia plates, is one of the largest marginal seas in the Western Pacific. It was formed by the interaction of the three plates and the seafloor spreading during Late Oligocene time to Early Miocene time. The boundary between Eastern Subbaisin and South-west Subbasin of the SCS has long been debated in the literature. Refining the boundary is one of the crucial tasks for correctly understanding the seafloor spreading model of the SCS. Due to few drills on the deep ocean basin of the SCS, magnetic data become important information for refining the boundary. However, the interpretation of magnetic data in the SCS suffers from the remanent magnetization of ocean crust as well as igneous rock and seamounts. The conventional reduction-to-pole anomalies at low latitudes usually neglect the remanent magnetization, making the interpretation incorrect. Here, we assembled high-resolution total magnetic intensity (TMI) data around the ocean basin of the SCS, and then did a special transformation of the TMI anomalies with a varying magnetic inclinations algorithm to obtain the normalized source strength (NSS). The NSS has advantage of insensitivity to remanent magnetization, benefitting correct interpretation. The NSS presents discriminative features from east to west in the ocean basin. The boundary of the discriminative features is clear and just ranges from the northeastern edge of the Zhongsha Islands running in the southeast direction to the northeastern edge of the Reed Bank. These imply that magnetic structure and tectonic features in the crust are discriminative between both sides of this boundary. It can be deduced that this boundary is the tectonic boundary between Eastern Subbaisin and South-west Subbasin. We acknowledge the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41374093) and the SinoProbe-01-05 project.