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      Stratigraphic Sequence and Sedimentary Systems in the Middle-Southern Continental Slope of the East China Sea from Seismic Reflection Data: Exploration Prospects of Gas Hydrate

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          Many evidences for gas hydrate bearing sediments had been found in the continental slope of the East China Sea, such as bottom simulating reflections (BSRs), undersea gas springs, pyrite associated with methane leakage, mud diapirs/mud volcanos, bottom-water methane anomalies and so on. In this study, six key stratigraphic interfaces including T 0 (seafloor), T 1 (LGM, 23 kyr B.P.), T 2 (2.58 Myr), T 3 (5.33 Myr), T 4 (11.02 Myr) and T 5 (16.12 Myr) were identified, and then five third-order sequences of SQIII1 to SQIII5 were divided. However, T 5 in southern continental slope is not found, which shows that the middle-northern Okinawa Trough had begun to rift in the early Miocene, earlier than the southern segment. Four system tracts including lowstand systems tract (LST), transgressive systems tract (TST), highstand systems tract (HST) and falling stage systems tract (FSST) are further divided. The marine erosion interface of 11.02 Myr and regressive unconformity interface of 23 kyr B.P. indicate two large-scale sea level drop events in the research area. Seven typical seismic facies identified in the continental slope are continental shelf-edge deltas, littoral fluvial-delta plains, incised channels or submarine canyons, slope fans, submarine fans or coastal sandbars, littoral-neritic fine- grained sediments, mud volcanos and some other geological bodies respectively. The minimum water depth for hydrate occurrence in the Okinawa Trough is 630 m, and the thickness of gas hydrate stability zone in continental slope is between 0 and 590 m. The calculated bottom boundary of hydrate stability zone is slightly deeper than BSRs on the seismic sections. The re-depositional turbidite sand bodies, such as canyon channels, slope fans and submarine fans developed in Quaternary strata, are the predominant hydrate reservoirs. According to developing process, the dynamic accumulation of hydrate systems can be divided into three evolutionary stages including canyon erosion and hydrate stability zone migration stage, sediments destabilizing and methane leakage stage, and channel filling and hydrate re-occurrence stage.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Ocean University of China
          Science Press and Springer (China )
          12 November 2019
          01 December 2019
          : 18
          : 6
          : 1302-1316
          1Key Laboratory of Submarine Geosciences and Prospecting Techniques, MOE, College of Marine Geosciences, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
          2Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Depositional Mineralization & Sedimentary Minerals, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China
          3Evaluation and Detection Technology Laboratory for Marine Mineral Resources, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266100, China
          4Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration & Development, Langfang 065007, China
          5College of Earth Science and Engineering, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Qingdao 266590, China
          Author notes
          *Corresponding author: LI Deyong
          Copyright © Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2019.

          The copyright to this article, including any graphic elements therein (e.g. illustrations, charts, moving images), is hereby assigned for good and valuable consideration to the editorial office of Journal of Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer effective if and when the article is accepted for publication and to the extent assignable if assignability is restricted for by applicable law or regulations (e.g. for U.S. government or crown employees).

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