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Fluid Mud Transport in the South China Sea—A Case Study of Sediments on the Continental Shelf of Qiongdongnan Basin


Based on seismic data, the paleo-sediment flux through the northwestern continental shelf of the South China Sea (SCS) from the late Miocene to the present was calculated. A huge mismatch between the sediment volume preserved on the shelf of Qiongdongnan Basin (QDNB) and the amount of discharge from the apparent source area, the Hainan Island, has been described in this paper. This mismatch suggests that sediments on the shelf of QDNB were not just from Hainan Island. Combined with the fine-grained lithological characters of the drilling core on the shelf, and the southward migration of western shelf edge break caused by huge sediment supply, we suggest that the sediments on the shelf of QDNB were mainly controlled by the source from Red River since the late Miocene, which was longitudinally transported by the surface current along the shelf through the Yinggehai Basin (YGHB) to the QDNB as fluid mud. Although the fluid mud has been reported in a number of studies in the world, this model is the first time adopted in the South China Sea (SCS), which can strengthen the understanding of source to sink system in the petroliferous basins of SCS.