Marine Geophysical Constraints on the Origin and Evolution of Ulleung Basin and the Seamounts in the East Sea

울릉분지와 동해 해산의 기원과 발달과정에 대한 해양지구물리학적 연구

  • Kim Jinho (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources) ;
  • Park Soo-chul (Department of Oceanography, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Kang Moo-hee (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources) ;
  • Kim Kyong-O (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources) ;
  • Han Hyun-chul (Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources)
  • Published : 2005.12.01


The East Sea, a marginal sea or back-arc basin, consists of Japan Basin, Yamato Basin, and Ulleung Basin and is surrounded by the Pacific Plate and Philippine Sea Plate. Ulleung Basin locates in the southwestern part of the East Sea and shows the depth of 1,500 m in average and 2,500 m in maximum, connecting to the Japan Basin along 2,000 m contour. The slope of the seafloor is greater in the western side of the basin than in the southern and the eastern side. The crustal thickness of the Ulleung Basin from the OBS tends to get thicker toward the north and the west side and the sediment thickness of the Ulleung Basin is getting thicker toward the southeast side and reaches up to 12 km. The crustal type of the Ulleung Basin was variously suggested as like as a rifted continental crust, an extended continental crust, and an incipient oceanic trust. The origin of the crustal formation and the Ulleung Basin, however, is still controversial. Based on the bathymetry and gravtiy anomaly data for this study, the axis of the Ulleung Basin shows that the basin develops along the axis trending NW-SE direction and reveals a general symmetry of the bathymetry. And also the free-air gravity anomalies show a very similar pattern to the bathymetry of the basin. The sediment thickness is relatively thicker in the southeastern side of the basin than in the northwestern side. Although the crustal age of the Ulleung Basin is supposed to be younger than them of the Japan Basin and the Yamato Basin, the free-air gravity anomalies of the Ulleung Basin ranging -40 to 50 mGals are lower than the other basins, which suggests that the densities of crust and sediment of the Ulleng Basin are lower than the Japan Basin and the Yamato Basin.


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