Dongsha erosive channel on northern South China Sea Shelf and its induced Kuroshio South China Sea Branch

Research paper by XiWu Luan, Liang Zhang, XueChao Peng

Indexed on: 18 Nov '11Published on: 18 Nov '11Published in: Science China Earth Sciences


Based on a data base of multi-channel seismic profiles covered over Dongsha plateau of the northern South China Sea margin, we found that the sea bed morphology of northern South China Sea margin had been changed dramatically after Dongsha uplifting, that sedimentary layer since Miocene age had been eroded with maximum eroded thickness more than 1000 m, and that an erosive channel had been formed of 20 km in width and 200 km in length and several hundreds meters in depth on the outer shelf of northern South China Sea. The erosive channel is parallel to the 600 m isobath line, stretching from northeast to the southwest north of Dongsha uplift. The Kuroshio intrudes the South China Sea through Luzon Strait both in winter time and summer time, and in the northern South China Sea margin area, the intruded Kuroshio Branch takes the form of Pacific-Indian Ocean Through Flow (PITH) in winter time, while the Luzon Strait Subsurface Inflow (LSSIF) in summer time, the routes of both PITH and LSSIF coincide well with the distribution of the erosive channel. After climbing from the northern slope up to the northern shelf, and after joined by the southward flow from the middle northern shelf of South China Sea, the Kuroshio Branch is strengthened and thus is able to erode the sea floor, and the shape of the erosive channel is a result of the long-term interaction between the Kuroshio South China Sea Branch and the Dongsha outer shelf sea floor.