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Characteristics and developmental mechanisms of mud volcanoes on the southern margin of the Junggar Basin, NW China

Authors

  • Zhifeng Wan,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Offshore Oil Exploration and Development of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes/Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, Guangzhou, China
    • Correspondence to: Z. Wan, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510275, China. E-mail: wanzhifeng01@gmail.com

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  • Qiuhua Shi,

    1. School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    2. CAS Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Guangzhou, China
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  • Qian Zhang,

    1. Pearl River Water Resources Scientific Research Institute, Guangzhou, China
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  • Song Cai,

    1. CAS Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Guangzhou, China
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  • Bin Xia

    1. School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Offshore Oil Exploration and Development of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes/Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, Guangzhou, China
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Abstract

Mud volcanoes have provided much meaningful information about the deep Earth and the recent crustal and neotectonic movements in an area for over 200 years. However, the triggering mechanisms have puzzled geologists for a long time. This study investigated the factors controlling mud volcano activity and the triggering mechanisms of mud volcano eruptions on the southern margin of the Junggar Basin, NW China. The Baiyanggou, Aiqigou and Dushanzi mud volcanoes are all located along the Dushanzi Anticline, which belongs to the third anticline belt on the southern margin of the basin. The extensive, thick mudstone at depth provides a wealth of material for the formation of mud volcanoes. Simultaneously, the overpressure serves as the driving force for the eruption of the mud volcanoes. The torsional–compressional stress field created by the collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates not only enhanced the abnormal formational pressure in the region but also lead to the development of extensional faults in the core of the Dushanzi Anticline, which served as the conduits for the mud volcanoes. The continuous collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates and the regional torsional–compressional stress field may largely control the cyclical activity of the mud volcanoes and serve as their primary trigger mechanism. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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