TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (3): 326-333.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002842

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Relationship between Late Quaternary Lithostratigraphy, Sea-level Change and Tectonics in the Pearl River Delta

ZONG Yongqiang1,2,HUANG Guangqing2,XIONG Haixian2,LI Xiaoyun1,SUN Yiying1   

  1. (1.Department of Earth Sciences,The University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong SAR,China; 2.Guangzhou Institute of Geography,Guangzhou 510070,China)
  • Online:2016-05-05 Published:2016-05-05

Abstract: Based on a review of the lithostratigraphic data from the coastal area and the continental shelf of northern South China Sea, this paper has examined the Late Quaternary evolutionary history of the Pearl River Delta. Results show that: 1) the deltaic basin of the Pearl River contains two marine sequences, the upper (younger) one belongs to the present interglacial (the past 10.5 ka B.P.) deposit and the lower (older) one most likely is that of the high sea level period during the last interglacial (126–120 ka B.P.); 2) the burial depth of the older marine sequence within the deltaic basin is recorded at 10-15 m below present sea level, whilst the depth in the mouth region is found below 20 m, implying geological subsidence because the height of sea level during the last interglacial was close to that of the present; 3) within the tectonic framework of southeastward continental extension of the Eurasian Plate during the Cenozoic, the coast and continental shelf of northern South China Sea has experienced a continuous subsidence at a long-term average rate of 0.12 mm/a, which is similar to that measured by GPS at present; 4) on top of the continental subsidence, fault activity has enhanced the localized subsidence of the deltaic basin, which led to the creation of accommodation space for marine inundation during interglacial high sea levels.

Key words: the Pearl River Delta, Late Quaternary, tectonic subsidence, faults, sea-level change, marine sequence