Miocene carbonate platforms cover a large part of the Central Vietnamese South China Sea margin. Early carbonate deposition took place on two regional platforms separated by a narrow depression developed along the trace of the East Vietnam Boundary Fault Zone. West of the East Vietnam Boundary Fault Zone, the Tuy Hoa Carbonate Platform fringes the continental margin between Da Nang and Nha Trang. Here, platform growth initiated during the Early Miocene and continued until Middle Miocene time when regional uplift led to subaerial exposure, termination of platform growth and karstification. East of the fault zone, the Triton Carbonate Platform was also initiated during the Early Miocene. Carbonate growth thrived during Early and part of Middle Miocene time and a thick, clean Lower and Middle Miocene carbonate succession cover the Triton Horst and the Qui Nhon Ridge. During the Middle Miocene, partial drowning resulted in the split-up of the Triton Carbonate Platform. Repeated partial drowning events throughout the Middle and Late Miocene resulted in westwards retreat of platform growth and eventual platform drowning and termination of carbonate deposition. Modern carbonate growth continues on isolated platforms hosting the Paracel Islands farther seawards. The onset of widespread carbonate deposition largely reflects the Early Miocene transgression of the area linked with early post-rift subsidence and the opening of the South China Sea. The mid-Neogene shift in carbonate deposition is interpreted as a consequence of regional uplift and denudation of central and south Indochina starting during Middle Miocene time when the Tuy Hoa Carbonate Platform became subaerially exposed. Stressed carbonate growth conditions on the Triton Carbonate Platform probably resulted from increased inorganic nutrient input derived from the uplifted mainland, possibly enhanced by deteriorated climatic conditions and rapid sea-level fluctuations promoting platform drowning.
- Carbonates, Vietnam, South China Sea
- Programområde 3: Energiressourcer