Deformation front development at the northeast margin of the Tainan basin, Tainan-Kaohsiung area, Taiwan

Shiuh Tsann Huang, Kenn Ming Yang, Jih Hao Hung, Jong Chang Wu, Hsin Hsiu Ting, Wen Wei Mei, Shiang Horng Hsu, Min Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The geological setting south of the Tsengwen River and the Tsochen Fault is the transitional zone between the Tainan foreland basin and Manila accretionary wedge in Southwestern Taiwan. This transitional zone is characterized by the triangle zone geological model associated with back thrusts that is quite unique compared to the other parts of the Western foreland that are dominated by thrust imbrications. The Hsinhua structure, the Tainan anticline, and the offshore H2 anticline are the first group of major culminations in the westernmost part of the Fold-and-Thrust belt that formed during the Penglay Orogeny. Structures in the the Tainan and Kaohsiung areas provide important features of the initial mountain building stage in Western Taiwan. A deeply buried basal detachment with ramp-flat geometry existed in the constructed geological sections. A typical triangle is found by back thrusting, such as where the Hsinhua Fault cuts upsection of the Upper Pliocene and Pleistocene from a lower detachment along the lower Gutingkeng Formation. The Tainan structure is a southward extension of the Hinhua Fault and has an asymmetric geometry of gentle western and steep eastern limbs. Our studies suggest that the Tainan anticline is similar to the structure formed by the Hsinhua Fault. Both are characterized by back thrusts and rooted into a detachment about 5 km deep. The triangle zone structure stops at H2 anticline offshore Tainan and beyond the west of it, All the structures are replaced by rift tectonic settings developed in the passive continental margin. On the basal detachment, a major ramp interpreted as a tectonic discontinuity was found in this study. Above the northeastern end of the major ramp of basal detachment, the Lungchuan Fault is associated with a triangle system development, while at the southwestern end a thrust wedge is present. It could be deduced that a thrust wedge intrudes northwestward. The area below the major ramp, or equivalent to the trailing edge of the basal detachment, mud diapers often occur in relation to the thickest deposits of the Gutingkeng Formation and caused by the mechanism of detachment folding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Geophysical Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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