Tectonic evolution of the Malay and Penyu Basins, offshore Peninsular Malaysia
The Malay and Penya Basins, offshore Peninsular Malaysia, were formed during the early Oligocene as a result of regional dextral shear deformation caused by the indentation of India into Eurasia in the early Tertiary. Pre-existing basement inhomogeneities exerted a strong control on basin development. The Penyu Basin developed, initially, as isolated grabens and half-grabens at basement fault intersections, in response to roughly N-S extension. The major structures which include low-angle listric normal faults, pull-apart rhomb grabens and flower structures, suggest that "thin-skinned" crustal extension and strike-slip tectonics have played an important role in basin evolution. Basement faults in the Malay Basin are oblique (E-W trending) to the basin trend (NW-trending). The Basin developed by transtension of NW-trending sinistral shear zone, in which fault-bounded blocks rotate in response to the shear deformation, producing a series of E-trending half-graben depocentres. The Basins were subjected to transpressive inversion during the middle-late Miocene, as a result of rotation of the regional stress field, caused by progressive indentation of India into Eurasia. Subsidence analysis suggests that lithospheric stretching was the dominant process of basin formation. The high heat flows (85-100 mW m⁻²) are consistent with stretching factors, β, of 1.2 to 4.3. In the Malay Basin, uplift of the basin flanks preceeded subsidence during the rifting phase as a result of non-uniform stretching and lateral heat flow from the centre of the Basin. Both basins are undercompensated isostatically and characterised by low negative free-air gravity anomaly in the order of -20 mGal. Undercompensation suggests that the basins were formed, partly, by "thin-skinned" crustal extension which did not involve stretching of the subcrustal lithosphere.