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Open AccessArticle

Giant Submarine Landslide in the South China Sea: Evidence, Causes, and Implications

1
Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Geological Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
2
Laboratory for Marine Geology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266061, China
3
Research Center of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Beijing 100027, China
4
Key Lab of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Qingdao 266100, China
5
Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, China Geological Survey, Guangzhou 510075, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(5), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7050152
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Geohazard and Offshore Geotechnics)
Submarine landslides can be tremendous in scale. They are one of the most important processes for global sediment fluxes and tsunami generation. However, studies of prodigious submarine landslides remain insufficient. In this review paper, we compile, summarize, and reanalyze the results of previous studies. Based on this reanalysis, we discover the giant Baiyun–Liwan submarine slide in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, South China Sea. We describe three concurrent pieces of evidence from ~23 Ma to 24 Ma, the Oligocene–Miocene boundary, for this landslide: the shoreward shift of the shelf break in the Baiyun Sag, the slump deposition to the southeast, and the abrupt decrease in the accumulation rate on the lower continental slope. This landslide extends for over 250 km, and the total affected area of the slide is up to ~35,000–40,000 km2. The scale of the landslide is similar to that of the Storegga slide, which has long been considered to be the largest landslide on earth. We suggest that strike–slip movement along the Red River Fault and ridge jump of the South China Sea caused the coeval Baiyun–Liwan submarine slide. The identification of the giant landslide will promote the understanding of not only its associated geohazards but also the steep rise of the Himalayan orogeny and marine engineering. More attention needs to be paid to areas with repeated submarine landslides and offshore installations. View Full-Text
Keywords: giant submarine landslides; shelf break; South China Sea; Himalayan orogeny; repeated submarine landslides giant submarine landslides; shelf break; South China Sea; Himalayan orogeny; repeated submarine landslides
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhu, C.; Cheng, S.; Li, Q.; Shan, H.; Lu, J.; Shen, Z.; Liu, X.; Jia, Y. Giant Submarine Landslide in the South China Sea: Evidence, Causes, and Implications. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7, 152.

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