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Back-arc Opening Based on a Rifting Model for the Ulleung Basin, Offshore Korea

Abstract

The Ulleung Basin has characteristic features of back-arc opening through Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the Eurasian plate, East Sea offshore Korea. Integrated interpretation of regional seismic and gravity data reveals fault blocks involved basements. Trends of the fault blocks generally parallel to the plate boundaries and imply patterns of initial opening. Physiographic features of East Sea had been mainly controlled by tectonics associated with the remain continental fragments. Based on the understanding the tectonic evolutions and sedimentation during syn-rift stage, a proper geological model for petroleum system analysis has been established. Back-arc opening based on a rifting model within the Eurasian plate is well matched with the fault patterns which have been evaluated using regional seismic data of around 3,000 L-Km. The study area has been covered by thin sediment units due to lack of drainage systems and provides clearer subsurface seismic images of basements compared to the thick sediment shelf area around southwestern part of the Basin. A few hundred square kilometers of large basement blocks remain within the Basin imply crustal thinning and breaking parts during initial basin opening. Petroleum system based on a rifting model which has different heat flow characteristics compared with pull apart basin model suggests prolific plays for the syn-rift and early stage post-rift sediments.