Journal of Marine Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (2): 28-43.DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1001-909X.2019.02.004

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Geomorphology, sedimentary characteristics and controlling factors of submarine canyons in the northern continental slope of the South China Sea

LIU Cong-shu1,2, DING Wei-wei*1,2, YIN Shao-ru1,2, FANG Peng-gao1,2,3, DING Hang-hang1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences, SOA, Hangzhou 310012, China;
    2. Second Institute of Oceanography, MNR, Hangzhou 310012, China;
    3. Earth Science College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • Received:2019-01-28 Revised:2019-05-23 Online:2019-06-15 Published:2022-11-15

Abstract: Submarine canyons are well developed in the northern continental slope of the South China Sea, featured with different evolution history and controlling factors. Four typical submarine canyons in this region, including the Pearl River Canyon system, Dongsha Canyon, Taiwan Bank Canyon, and Penghu Canyon were selected in this study. Based on combined geological interpretations with multi-channel seismic data and high-resolution bathymetric data, as well as previous works, the morphological characteristics, sedimentary structures, the formation processes, and the controlling factors of these submarine canyons were studied. Results show that the formation of various submarine canyons in the northern continental slope of the South China Sea are dominated by various factors, including the tectonic activities, sea level change and sediment gravity flow. The rivers on land and local tectonics (such as magma intrusion, uplifting) also affect their formation. For submarine canyon developed on the active continental margin, such as the Penghu Canyon, is mainly controlled by tectonic activities. While for those developed on the passive margins, their formations are dominated by Cenozoic tectonics, sediment supply, and eustasy. The exogenic process is the main influencing factor.

Key words: submarine canyon, controlling factors, South China Sea, active margin, passive margin

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