2015 Vol. 34, No. 4

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Evolution of deepwater sedimentary environments and its implication for hydrocarbon exploration in Qiongdongnan Basin, northwestern South China Sea
WANG Zhenfeng, JIANG Tao, ZHANG Daojun, WANG Yahui, ZUO Qianmei, HE Weijun
2015, 34(4): 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0645-4
Over the past several years, a number of hydrocarbon reservoirs have been discovered in the deepwater area of Qiongdongnan Basin, northwestern South China Sea. These oil/gas fields demonstrate that the evolution of the deepwater sedimentary environment are controlling the formation and distribution of large-scale clastic reservoirs. Integration between seismic and borehole data were necessary to best clarify the distribution and quality of these deepwater reservoirs. Geochemical and paleobiological evidence from discrete samples was also applied to document specific information regarding the sedimentary environment. Results show that the Qiongdongnan Basin has existed as a thriving marine environment since Oligocene, when several rifting depressions developed throughout the entire Qiongdongnan Basin. Triggered by the faults activities, several distinct provenances supplied the coarse sediments, transporting and depositing them in deep parts of the rifting depressions. A fan delta system then formed nearby the source in the deeper area of these rifting depressions. The sedimentary environment of Qiongdongnan gradiationally became deepwater since early Miocene. Consequently, abundances of sediments were transported from Hainan Island and Southern Uplift, and then sunk into the basin center. The submarine fans revealed by many boreholes in this area verified them as good reservoir. Because the area reached its lowest sea level at late Miocene and the Southern Uplift subsidenced under sea level, not providing any sediment, so that the carbonate mesa and biorhythms characteristic of this area also developed during this period. In the west part of Qiongdongnan Basin, sediments transported from Vietnam increased in response to the Tibetan Uplift. Consequently, a central canyon developed along the center of Qiongdongnan Basin, which has been confirmed by several boreholes as a favorable hydrocarbon reservoir. The clarification of the deepwater sedimentary environment's evolution is potentially highly beneficial to future hydrocarbon exploration in the deepwater area of Qiongdongnan Basin.
Kinetics and model of gas generation of source rocks in the deepwater area, Qiongdongnan Basin
HUANG Baojia, HUANG Hao, WANG Zhenfeng, HUANG Yiwen, SUN Zhipeng
2015, 34(4): 11-18. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0646-3
In order to investigate the hydrocarbon generation process and gas potentials of source rocks in deepwater area of the Qiongdongnan Basin, kinetic parameters of gas generation (activation energy distribution and frequency factor) of the Yacheng Formation source rocks (coal and neritic mudstones) was determined by thermal simulation experiments in the closed system and the specific KINETICS Software. The results show that the activation energy (Ea) distribution of C1-C5 generation ranges from 50 to 74 kcal/mol with a frequency factor of 2.4×1015s-1 for the neritic mudstone and the Ea distribution of C1-C5 generation ranges from 49 to 73 kcal/mol with a frequency factor of 8.92×1013s-1 for the coal. On the basis of these kinetic parameters and combined with the data of sedimentary burial and paleothermal histories, the gas generation model of the Yacheng Formation source rocks closer to geological condition was worked out, indicating its main gas generation stage at Ro (vitrinite reflectance) of 1.25%-2.8%. Meanwhile, the gas generation process of the source rocks of different structural locations (central part, southern slope and south low uplift) in the Lingshui Sag was simulated. Among them, the gas generation of the Yacheng Formation source rocks in the central part and the southern slope of the sag entered the main gas window at 10 and 5 Ma respectively and the peak gas generation in the southern slope occurred at 3 Ma. The very late peak gas generation and the relatively large gas potential indices (GPI: 20×108-60×108 m3/km2) would provide favorable conditions for the accumulation of large natural gas reserves in the deepwater area.
Identification methods of coal-bearing source rocks for Yacheng Formation in the western deepwater area of South China Sea
REN Jinfeng, ZHANG Yingzhao, WANG Hua, WANG Yahui, GAN Huajun, HE Weijun, SUN Ming, SONG Guangzeng
2015, 34(4): 19-31. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0647-2
Owing to the fact that the coal-beds are with the characteristics of multi-beds, thin single-bed, rapid lateral changes and deep burial, coal-bearing source rocks are difficult to be identified and predicted, especially in the lower exploration deepwater area. In this paper, a new integrative process utilizing geology and geophysics is proposed for better predicting the distribution of coal-bearing source rocks. Coal-beds were identified by the logging responses of “three higher, three lower, and one expand” and carbargilite were recognized by the characteristics of “four higher and one lower”. Based on the above logical decision, coal-beds and carbargilite can be distinguished automatically by cluster analysis of logging curves in verticality. Within the constraints of wellseismic calibration, the coal-beds group also can be detected in horizontality by the integrated representation of “negative phase, higher Q, lower impedance and lower frequency” within the seismic data. However, the distribution of coal-bearing source rocks utilizing geophysical methodology may do not conform to the geological rules of coal accumulation. And then the main geological controlling factors of coal accumulation are comprehensively analyzed as follows: (1) Paleotopography and tectonic subsidence determine the planar range of terrestrial-marine transitional facies markedly; (2) The relative sea level changes affect the accommodation space and shoreline migration, and limit the vertical range of coal-beds. More specifically, the relationship between the accommodation creation rate and the peat accumulation rate is a fundamental control on coal accumulation. The thickest and most widespread coals form where those two factors reached a state of balance; (3) The supply of autochthonous clasts and the distance between deposition places and paleovegetation accumulated area are the critical factor to form abundant coal, which means that if deposition area is close to paleouplift, there would be sufficient organic matters to form abundant source rocks. The results show that the integrated methods can significantly improve prediction accuracy of coal-bearing source rocks, which is suitable for early exploration of western deepwater area of South China Sea.
Structure and kinematic analysis of the deepwater area of the Qiongdongnan Basin through a seismic interpretation and analogue modeling experiments
SUN Zhen, WANG Zhenfeng, SUN Zhipeng, WANG Zhangwen, ZHANG Wei, HE Lijuan
2015, 34(4): 32-40. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0585-z
Located at the northwest continental slope of the South China Sea, the Qiongdongnan Basin bears valley-shaped bathymetry deepening toward east. It is separated from the Yinggehai Basin through NW-trending Indo-China- Red River shear zone, and connected with NW subsea basin through the Xisha Trough. Along with the rapid progress of the deepwater exploration, large amounts of high resolution geophysical and geological data were accumulated. Scientific researches about deepwater basins kept revealing brand new tectonic and sedimentary discoveries. In order to summarize the structural features and main controlling factors of the deepwater Qiongdongnan Basin, a series of researches on basin architecture, fault activities, tectonic deformation and evolution were carried out. In reference to analogue modeling experiments, a tectonic situation and a basin formation mechanism were discussed. The researches indicate that: the northern boundary of the Qiongdongnan Basin is strongly controlled by No. 2 fault. The overlapping control of two stress fields from the east and the west made the central depression zone extremely thinned. Combined with the changed stress field, the segmentation of a preexisting weakness zone made the sags in the east experiencing different rifting histories from the west ones. The NE-trending west segment of the Qiongdongnan Basin experienced strong rifting during Eocene, while the roughly EW-trending sags in the east segment show strong rifting during late Eocene and early Oligocene. Local structures such as NW-trending basal fault and inherited uplifts controlled the lateral segmentation. So first order factors such as regional stress field and preexisting weakness zone controlled the basin zonation, while the second order factors determined the segmentation from east to west.
A heavy mineral viewpoint on sediment provenance and environment in the Qiongdongnan Basin
LIU Xiaofeng, ZHANG Daojun, ZHAI Shikui, LIU Xinyu, CHEN Hongyan, LUO Wei, LI Na, XIU Chun
2015, 34(4): 41-55. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0648-1
Based on heavy mineral data in core samples from eleven drillings, supplemented by paleontological, element geochemical and seismic data, the evolution of sediment provenance and environment in the Qiongdongnan Basin (QDNB) was analysed. The results show that the basement in the QDNB was predominantly composed of terrigenous sediments. Since the Oligocene the QDNB has gradually undergone transgressions and evolution processes in sedimentary environment from terrestrial-marine transitional to littoral-neritic, neritic, and bathyal roughly. The water depth showed a gradually increasing trend and was generally greater in the southern region than that in the northern region in the same time. With changes in sedimentary environment, provenances of the strata (from the Yacheng Formation to the Yinggehai Formation) showed principal characteristics of multisources, evolving from autochthonous source, short source to distant source step by step. During the Early Oligocene, the sediments were mainly proximal basaltic pyroclastic source and adjacent terrigenous clastic source, afterwards were becoming distant terrigenous clastic sources, including Hainan Island on the north, Yongle Uplift on the south, Shenhu Uplift on the northeast, the Red River System on the northwest and Indochina Peninsula on the southwest, or even a wider region. The Hainan Island provenance began to develop during the Early Oligocene and has become a main provenance in the QDNB since the Middle Miocene. The provenances from Yongle Uplift and Shenhu Uplift most developed from the Late Oligocene to the Early Miocene and gradually subsided during the Middle Miocene. During the Late Miocene, as a main source of sediments filled in the central canyon, the Red River System provenance added to the QDNB massively, whose impact terminated at the end of the Pliocene. The western Yinggehai Basin (YGHB) provenance derived from Indochina Peninsula had developed from the Pliocene on to the Pleistocene. In addition, the material contribution of marine authigenous source to the basin (especially to the southern region) could not be ignored.
Velocity model and time-depth conversion for the northwestern South China Sea deepwater areas
LIU Aiqun, CHEN Dianyuan, LI Wentuo, FAN Caiwei, HE Jianwei
2015, 34(4): 56-61. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0649-0
There are rich natural gas resources in the northwestern South China Sea deepwater areas, with poor degree of exploration. Because of the unique tectonic, sedimentary background of the region, velocity model building and time-depth conversion have been an important and difficult problem for a long time. Recent researches in this direction have revealed three major problems for deepwater areas, i.e., the way to determine error correction for drilling velocity, the optimization of velocity modeling, and the understanding and analysis of velocity variations in the slope areas. The present contribution proposes technical solutions to the problems: (1) velocity correction version can be established by analyzing the geology, reservoir, water depths and velocity spectrum characteristics; (2) a unified method can be adopted to analyze the velocity variation patterns in drilled pale structural positions; and (3) across-layer velocity is analyzed to establish the velocity model individually for each of the layers. Such a solution is applicable, as shown in an example from the northwestern South China Sea deepwater areas, in which an improved prediction precision is obtained.
Biogenic carbonate formation and sedimentation in the Xisha Islands: evidences from living Halimeda
XU Hong, ZHAO Xinwei, EBERLI G. P., LIU Xinyu, ZHU Yurui, CAI Ying, LUO Wei, YAN Guijing, ZHANG Bolin, WEI Kai, SHI Jian
2015, 34(4): 62-73. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0584-0
A recent island survey reveals that the Xuande Atoll and the Yongle Atoll in the Xisha Islands can be classified into one of two systems: the depleted atoll system and growth atoll system; the survey also indicates that the decreased area of several shoals is an unbearable burden for the Xisha Islands, of which the largest island area is 2.13 km2 and the minimum elevation is 1.4 m. According to a survey on the ecological characteristics of Halimeda in the Laolongtou breaker zone of Shidao Island in the Xisha Islands, the green and white living Halimeda are collected, the isotopic ages of 14C contained in the Halimeda are shown to be 27 years and 55 years, respectively, and carbonate mainly occurs in five types, i.e., luster, segment, sand, sand grain, and marl in the formation. The Halimeda segments mainly provide the carbonate sediments of long-term biogenic deposits in the reef environment and the annual productivity per area is 60-100 g/m2; the characteristics of the microstructure of the Halimeda are analyzed, the aragonite raphide carbonate is deposited and enriched in the cortexes, medullas and cysts, and the Halimeda generally contain major elements such as C, O, Ca, Cl, Mg, K, Na, S and Al, and are rich in trace elements such as tellurium (Te), rhodium (Rh) and strontium. It is believed that the Halimeda grow slowly, including the biotic community of reef corals in the reef areas, thus they possess an environmental remediation capacity, but it takes much time to remedy the environment, and it is necessary to make the law to protect the diversity and vulnerability of the Xisha marine ecology, the ecology of the reef community and the island environment in a scientific way. As indicated in the survey, under the background of global warming and sea-level rise, the discovery of large amounts of Halimeda in the Laolongtou sea area is significant for the natural increase of the depleted atoll system of the Xuande Atoll, while the Halimeda segments represent the primary form of the fossil Halimeda, of which the species can be identified and preserved in great numbers under geological conditions. The Miocene was discovered in large amounts in the Xichen-1 well, therefore the study on the characteristics and mechanism of Halimeda carbonate sediments plays a pivotal role in the formation and construction of organic reefs in the South China Sea as well as oil and gas exploration.
Characteristics of porosity and permeability layer of fossil Halimeda reef mineral rock of Miocene in the Xisha Islands and its genetic model
XU Hong, ZHU Yurui, EBERLI G. P., LUO Wei, ZHAO Xinwei, CAI Ying, LIU Xinyu, YAN Guijing, ZHANG Bolin, WEI Kai, CUI Ruyong
2015, 34(4): 74-83. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0638-3
Halimeda is one of the major reef-building algas in the middle Miocene of Xisha, and one of the significant reefbuilding algas in the algal reef oil and gas field of the South China Sea. However, there have been few reports regarding the characteristics of mineral rocks, reservoir porosity and permeability layers, and sedimentationdiagenetic- evolution of fossil Halimeda systems. The present paper briefly introduces the relevant studies on chlorophyta Halimeda and the research status of oil and gas exploration. Through the 1 043 m core of the Xichen- 1 well, we studied the characteristics of the mineral rocks and porosity and permeability of the middle Miocene Halimeda of the Yongle Atoll, identified and described the segments of fossil Halimeda, and pointed out that most of the segment slides are vertical sections in ovular, irregular or long strips. The overwhelming majority of these fossil Halimeda found and studied are vertical sections instead of cross sections. In this paper, knowledge regarding the cross sections of fossil Halimeda is reported and proven to be similar with the microscopic characteristics of modern living Halimeda; fossil Halimeda are buried in superposition; it is shown that there are different structures present, including typical bio-segment structure, and due to its feature of coexisting with red alga, tying structure, twining structure and encrusting structure are all present; and finally, it is suggested to classify the fossil Halimeda into segment algal reef dolomites. In addition, all of the studied intervals are moderately dolomitized. Secondary microcrystalline-dolosparite dominates the original aragonite raphide zones, and aphanitic-micrite dolomite plays the leading role in the cortexes and medullas; in the aragonite raphide zones between medulla and cysts, secondary dissolved pores and intercrystalline pores are formed inside the segments, and algal frame holes are formed between segments; therefore, a pore space network system (dissolved pores + intragranular dissolved pores—intercrystalline pores + algal frame holes) is established. Segment Halimeda dolomite has a porosity of 16.2%-46.1%, a permeability of 0.203×10-3-2 641×10-3 μm2, and a throat radius of 23.42-90.43 μm, therefore it is shown to be a good oil and gas reservoir. For the reasons mentioned above, we suggest building the neogene organic reef-modern reef sedimentation-diagenetic-evolution models for the Xisha Islands.
Phosphorus speciation and distribution in surface sediments of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea and potential impacts on ecosystem
SONG Guodong, LIU Sumei
2015, 34(4): 84-91. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0653-4
For better understanding the phosphorus (P) cycle and its impacts on one of the most important fishing grounds and pressures on the marine ecosystem in the Yellow Sea (YS) and East China Sea (ECS), it is essential to distinguish the contents of different P speciation in sediments and have the knowledge of its distribution and bioavailability. In this study, the modified SEDEX procedure was employed to quantify the different forms of P in sediments. The contents of phosphorus fractions in surface sediments were 0.20-0.89 μmol/g for exchangeable-P (Exch-P), 0.37-2.86 μmol/g for Fe-bound P (Fe-P), 0.61-3.07 μmol/g for authigenic Ca-P (ACa-P), 6.39-13.73 μmol/g for detrital-P (DAP) and 0.54-10.06 μmol/g for organic P (OP). The distribution of Exch-P, Fe-P and OP seemed to be similar. The concentrations of Exch-P, Fe-P and OP were slightly higher in the Yellow Sea than that in the East China Sea, and low concentrations could be observed in the middle part of the ECS and southwest off Cheju Island. The distribution of ACa-P was different from those of Exch-P, Fe-P and OP. DAP was the major fraction of sedimentary P in the research region. The sum of Exch-P, Fe-P and OP may be thought to be potentially bioavailable P in the research region. The percentage of bioavailable P in TP ranged from 13% to 61%. Bioavailable P burial flux that appeared regional differences was affected by sedimentation rates, porosity and bioavailable P content, and the distribution of bioavailable P burial flux were almost the same as that of TP burial flux.
Ecological functions of uncultured microorganisms in the cobaltrich ferromanganese crust of a seamount in the central Pacific are elucidated by fosmid sequencing
HUO Yingyi, CHENG Hong, Anton F. Post, WANG Chunsheng, JIANG Xiawei, PAN Jie, WU Min, XU Xuewei
2015, 34(4): 92-113. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0650-7
Cobalt-rich ferromanganese is an important seafloor mineral and is abundantly present in the seamount crusts. Such crusts form potential hotspots for biogeochemical activity and microbial diversity, yet our understanding of their microbial communities is lacking. In this study, a cultivation-independent approach was used to recover genomic information and derive ecological functions of the microbes in a sediment sample collected from the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust of a seamount region in the central Pacific. A total of 78 distinct clones were obtained by fosmid library screening with a 16S rRNA based PCR method. Proteobacteria and MGI Thaumarchaeota dominated the bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequence results in the microbial community. Nine fosmid clones were sequenced and annotated. Numerous genes encoding proteins involved in metabolic functions and heavy metal resistance were identified, suggesting alternative metabolic pathways and stress responses that are essential for microbial survival in the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust. In addition, genes that participate in the synthesis of organic acids and exoploymers were discovered. Reconstruction of the metabolic pathways revealed that the nitrogen cycle is an important biogeochemical process in the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust. In addition, horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events have been observed, and most of them came from bacteria, with some occurring in archaea and plants. Clone W4-93a, belonging to MGI Thaumarchaeota, contained a region of gene synteny. Comparative analyses suggested that a high frequency of HGT events as well as genomic divergence play important roles in the microbial adaption to the deep-sea environment.
Species delimitation in the green algal genus Codium (Bryopsidales) from Korea using DNA barcoding
LEE Hyung Woo, KIM Myung Sook
2015, 34(4): 114-124. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0651-6
Codium, one of the largest marine green algal genera, is difficult to delimit species boundary accurately based on morphological identification only. DNA barcoding is a powerful tool for discriminating species of seaweeds. The plastid elongation factor TU (tufA) is considered as maker to perform DNA barcoding of green algal species than rbcL gene due to universality and rapid evolution rate. We conducted DNA barcoding application to Codium specimens from the Jeju Island, Korea to overcome the limit of morphological identification and to confirm the species diversity. As a result of applying tufA marker, we newly generated fifty-five tufA barcodes to resolve eight species. TufA marker exhibited 6.1%-21.8% interspecific divergences, wider than the gap of rbcL exon 1, 3.5%-11.5%. Molecular analysis of rbcL exon 1 sequences of Codium revealed eight distinct species like tufA analysis separated in five phylogenetic groups. DNA barcoding of the genus Codium using tufA marker is more helpful to overcome the limit of morphological identification, and this is more potential to reveal cryptic species and to resolve the relationships among subspecies than rbcL analysis alone. The complement of tufA barcoding and rbcL analyses including morphology for the genus Codium in the northwestern Pacific will give much more reliable achievement for discovering species diversity and resolving the phylogenetic relationships.
The effects of elevated-CO2 on physiological performance of Bryopsis plumosa
YILDIZ Gamze, DERE Şükran
2015, 34(4): 125-129. doi: 10.1007/s13131-015-0652-5
An increase in the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and the resultant rise in CO2 in seawater alter the inorganic carbon concentrations of seawater. This change, known as ocean acidification, causes lower pH in seawater and may affect the physiology of seaweed species. Accordingly, the main goal of the current study was to determine the physiological responses of Bryopsis plumosa to elevated-CO2. The results indicated that photosynthesis of B. plumosa was insignificantly affected to elevated-CO2, but photosynthetic pigment contents and phenolics were significantly decreased. The results obtained from the research reveal that B. plumosa may become physiologically advanced when exposed to CO2-induced ocean acidification. In particular, B. plumosa may be more able to compete with calcifying algae when it will become future predicted CO2 scenario.