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Displacement along the Red River Fault constrained by extension estimates and plate reconstructions


Mazur, S and Green, C and Stewart, MG and Whittaker, J and Williams, S and Bouatmani, R, Displacement along the Red River Fault constrained by extension estimates and plate reconstructions, Tectonics, 31 Article TC5008. ISSN 0278-7407 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union.

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DOI: doi:10.1029/2012TC003174


Significant E-W extension and/or compression must have been generated by displacements along the Red River Fault (RRF) since its curvature does not match a small circle centered at the Euler pole for the Indochina–south China plate pair. The amount of extension perpendicular to the RRF offshore Vietnam depends on the magnitude of left-lateral displacement along the RRF. In general, the larger the left-lateral displacement along the fault, the smaller the amount of E-W extension. All purely strike-slip models of the opening of the South China Sea that assume large displacements (>250 km) along the RRF encounter major problems because they imply little extension, or even considerable shortening, offshore east Vietnam. This is inconsistent with the presence of large elongated basins offshore Vietnam. Using a plate tectonic model, we compare continental extension values implied by different magnitudes of displacement along the RRF with crustal stretching estimates derived from 2-D profiles modeled from gravity data. We utilize 2-D gravity forward models to restore the extended continental margin crust to its original position prior to extension. We find that substantial amounts of extension for offshore Vietnam can only be modeled assuming moderate displacements along the RRF compatible with the presence of a southward subducting proto–South China Sea. The total amount of ENE-WSW extension offshore northern Vietnam constrained by our 2-D gravity profiles and gravity inversion increases southward from 36 to 89 km along the Yinggehai Basin. These values of ENE-WSW extension are consistent with 250 km of left-lateral displacement along the RRF.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:South China Sea, plate tectonics, gravity
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Marine geoscience
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Whittaker, J (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
ID Code:84431
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:40
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2013-05-14
Last Modified:2015-08-05
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