Provenance and geochronology of Cenozoic sandstones of northern Borneo

M.W.A. Van Hattum, R. Hall, A.L. Pickard, G.J. Nichols

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92 Citations (Scopus)


The Crocker Fan of Sabah was deposited during subduction of the Proto-South China Sea between the Eocene and Early Miocene. Collision of South China microcontinental blocks with Borneo in the Early Miocene terminated deep water sedimentation and resulted in the major regional Top Crocker Unconformity (TCU). Sedimentation of fluvio-deltaic and shallow marine character resumed in the late Early Miocene. The Crocker Fan sandstones were derived from nearby sources in Borneo and nearby SE Asia, rather than distant Asian and Himalayan sources. The Crocker Fan sandstones have a mature composition, but their textures and heavy mineralogy indicate they are first-cycle sandstones, mostly derived from nearby granitic source rocks, with some input of metamorphic, sedimentary and ophiolitic material. The discrepancy between compositional maturity and textural immaturity is attributed to the effects of tropical weathering. U-Pb ages of detrital zircons are predominantly Mesozoic. In the Eocene sandstones Cretaceous zircons dominate and suggest derivation from granites of the Schwaner Mountains of southern Borneo. In Oligocene sandstones Permian-Triassic and Palaeoproterozoic zircons become more important, and are interpreted to be derived from Permian-Triassic granites and Proterozoic basement of the Malay Tin Belt. Miocene fluvio-deltaic and shallow marine sandstones above the TCU were mostly recycled from the deformed Crocker Fan in the rising central mountain range of Borneo. The provenance of the Tajau Sandstone Member of the Lower Miocene Kudat Formation in north Sabah is strikingly different from other Miocene and older sandstones. Sediment was derived mainly from granitic and high-grade metamorphic source rocks. No such rocks existed in Borneo during the Early Miocene, but potential sources are present on Palawan, to the north of Borneo. They represent continental crust from South China and subduction-related metamorphic rocks which formed an elevated region in the Early Miocene which briefly supplied sediment to north Sabah. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-282
JournalJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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