Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Widespread hydrothermal vents and associated volcanism record prolonged Cenozoic magmatism in the South China Sea

Zhao, Fang, Berndt, Christian, Alves, Tiago M. ORCID:, Xia, Shaohong, Li, Lin, Mi, Lijun and Fan, Chaoyan 2021. Widespread hydrothermal vents and associated volcanism record prolonged Cenozoic magmatism in the South China Sea. Geological Society of America Bulletin 133 (11-12) , pp. 2645-2660. 10.1130/B35897.1

[thumbnail of Alves_Fang_Zhao-GSA_Manuscript_final-clean_2021.pdf] PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (5MB)


The continental margin of the northern South China Sea is considered to be a magma-poor rifted margin. This work uses new seismic, bathymetric, gravity, and magnetic data to reveal how extensively magmatic processes have reshaped the latter continental margin. Widespread hydrothermal vent complexes and magmatic edifices such as volcanoes, igneous sills, lava flows, and associated domes are confirmed in the broader area of the northern South China Sea. Newly identified hydrothermal vents have crater- and mound-shaped surface expressions, and occur chiefly above igneous sills and volcanic edifices. Detailed stratigraphic analyses of volcanoes and hydrothermal vents suggest that magmatic activity took place in discrete phases between the early Miocene and the Quaternary. Importantly, the occurrence of hydrothermal vents close to the present seafloor, when accompanied by shallow igneous sills, suggest that fluid seepage is still active, well after main phases of volcanism previously documented in the literature. After combining geophysical and geochemical data, this study postulates that the extensive post-rift magmatism in the northern South China Sea is linked to the effect of a mantle plume over a long time interval. We propose that prolonged magmatism resulted in contact metamorphism in carbon-rich sediments, producing large amounts of hydrothermal fluid along the northern South China Sea. Similar processes are expected in parts of magma-poor margins in association with CO2/CH4 and heat flow release into sea water and underlying strata.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Geological Society of America
ISSN: 1943-2674
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 2 February 2021
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2023 20:15

Citation Data

Cited 5 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics