Onshore to offshore correlation of northern Borneo; a regional perspective

Authors : Peter Lunt & Mazlan MadonPublication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of MalaysiaVolume : 64Page : 101-122Year : 2017


Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 64, December 2017, pp. 101 – 122

Onshore to offshore correlation of northern Borneo; a regional perspective

Peter Lunt1,* & Mazlan Madon2

1Petronas Carigali, 2Petronas, Malaysia Petroleum Management
Level 14 Tower 2, Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur 50088, Malaysia
*Corresponding author email address: Peterjustin.lunt@petronas.com.my

Abstract: This review combines a wide range of onshore and offshore data from Oligocene to Pliocene sediments
of northern Borneo to address the following topics: (i) the stratigraphic conditions before and after the Top Crocker
Unconformity [TCU], (ii) Early Miocene palaeogeography, (iii) events during later Early to mid Middle Miocene times,
including the Deep Regional Unconformity [DRU], and (iv) the waning of the Sabah Orogeny in Early Pliocene times.
Emphasis is placed on dating the key events, in order to consistently identify the stratigraphic and tectonic changes
observed in the different data sets.
The data shows a period of uplift and deformation in the north, perhaps focussed in southern Palawan, during the Oligocene
then its sudden cessation at the TCU, with strong contrast in both facies and deformation style of Late Oligocene outcrops
on the Kudat Peninsula compared to the Early Miocene sediments drilled offshore. This termination of tectonic deformation
coincides with published estimates for the onset of ridge-jump and sea-floor spreading in the South China Sea northwest
of Sabah. Following this unconformity the deposition of sediments during the Early Miocene appears to have consisted
of a fluvio-deltaic high in the south (from central Borneo) and a broad deep marine basin in the north, from west of the
Kudat Peninsula to at least the western part of the Sulu Sea. For the subsequent DRU, its timing and character appears
to coincide with large scale sedimentary changes in eastern Sabah and this suggests a pause in regional compression
during the early part of the long lasting Sabah Orogeny.
The stratigraphic description of these events has important implications in plate tectonic reconstructions for northern
Borneo and the South China Sea. The role of subduction on the eastern side of Sabah may be a key component of revised
tectonic models and further evaluation of the area from the Dent Peninsula south to the Indonesian border is recommended.

Keywords: Sabah, stratigraphy, outcrop, offshore, history, tectonics