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Abstract: Tertiary Carbonate Development on the Shenhu Massif, South China Sea

Neil L. Turner, Susan Siemann-Gartmann

The Shenhu Massif lies between the Zhu III Depression to the northwest, the Kaiping/Baiyun depressions to the northeast, and the Xisha Basin to the south. Major faulting began in the Paleocene, and initial basins formed on and around the Shenhu Massif during this time. Continental coarse clastics, derived from the massif area, filled the basins prior to the middle Oligocene though larger, deeper basins may have contained lacustrine environments. During the marine incursion from the middle Oligocene and until the early Miocene, coarse clastics were deposited adjacent to exposed basement areas, fine marine clastics were deposited on the massif, carbonate buildups formed along the massif rim, and carbonate platforms developed from the massif edge back into the shallow-water high-massif i terior. In mid-lower Miocene, the carbonate areas were reduced in size and replaced by shales. Carbonate deposition as layers and mounds was reestablished over much of the Shenhu Massif in the early middle Miocene. Prodelta shales in the east Shenhu Massif area and coarser clastics present in clinoforms in the Baiyun Depression are the distal components of a southerly prograding delta system located to the north. Carbonates continued to develop along the southeast side of the west Shenhu Massif during the latter part of the middle Miocene, but fine clastics dominated the rest of the area except in the Kaiping/Baiyun Depression where coarser clastics from the delta were deposited.

Amoco and its partners, Nanhai West Oil Company and Kerr-McGee Co., have begun evaluation of the Shenhu Massif area with the drilling of a Miocene carbonate buildup, the Amoco 23-1 Baodao prospect.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90982©1994 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 21-24, 1994