The Phan Rang Carbonate Platform located offshore south Vietnam covers more than 15000 km2, making it one of the largest carbonate platforms in the South China Sea. Based on 2-D seismic analysis, this paper outlines the platform evolution and analyzes the regional tectonic, climatic and oceanic factors that controlled the platform growth and demise. This study of the Phan Rang Carbonate Platform therefore provides an analogue to the regions late Neogene carbonates that form important targets for petroleum exploration. Platform growth initiated during the late middle Miocene along the open marine Vietnamese margin and continued throughout the late synrift to early postrift period of the area terminating around Pliocene time. During this period, the structural grain, local and regional tectonics as well as oceanographic effects exerted major controls on carbonate deposition. Optimal growth conditions existed during initial platform deposition and locally accumulation rates reached ca. 230 m Ma-1. Late Miocene regional uplift caused subaerial exposure that interrupted platform growth and caused intense karstification. A gradual reestablishment of marine conditions promoted renewed platform growth. However, carbonate production was stressed by increased terrigenous input caused by onshore uplift and by inorganic nutrification of the surface waters. Nutrification probably occurred in response to increased nutrient influx derived from onshore denudation, enhanced periodically by soil ravinement during transgression. The onset or intensification of summer upwelling along the southern platform margin occurred in response to the onshore uplift and most likely contributed to the nutrification. The deteriorated growth conditions and fast subsidence resulted in platform split-up, backstepping and local drowning. Subsequently, isolated platforms nucleated on structural highs as transgression continued. The remaining platforms thrived for a period but eventually failed to keep pace with subsidence, backstepped and drowned. The longest surviving platform now crops out at the seafloor at ca. 500m depth.
- Carbonates, paleoclimate, Vietnam, South China Sea
- Programområde 3: Energiressourcer