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Continuous seismic reflection profiles accompanied by total-field magnetic measurements were made in the China basin by civilian survey ships on contract to the U.S. Navy Oceanographic Office between 1967 and 1969. The results show the presence of stratigraphic units similar to those previously found in the adjacent East China Sea and South China Sea: (1) acoustic basement in the southern part of the basin that may be a continuation of the igneous and metamorphic rocks beneath the adjacent shelf which were peneplaned during Late Cretaceous-early Cenozoic time, and much more irregular basement in the northern part of the basin that may be oceanic basement (Layer 2); (2) predeformational sediment, conformably with the surface of much of the acoustic basement (probably Paleo ene); and (3) postdeformational sediment, largely turbidites deposited in deeper areas (probably Neogene to present) after the main episode of deformation. During the deformation a series of northeast-trending ridges was folded along the floor of the China basin. Similar ridges underlie the basin side slopes, and these served as dams to trap sediments brought to the ocean by streams from the adjacent land areas. Another ridge separates the Manila Trench and the West Luzon Trough, and extends northeastward as the Central Range of Taiwan. Oil potential appears to be greatest beneath the shelf between Taiwan and Hainan off mainland China, but the basin ridges that are surmounted by banks and islands also warrant further investigation.
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