The Chezhen Basin has highly representative structural features of the Jiyang depression, Bohai Bay area. The structural geometry and the boundary fault linkage exert a strong influence on basin development and depositional environment. Based on structural analysis, at least six early fault segments are identified in the northern boundary of the Chezhen Basin. These fault segments are important in controlling stratal architecture and distribution. The antecedent structures controlled subbasin initiation and development. The Cenozoic rift initiated in the early Eocene with the development of six isolated fault segments associated with deposition of the Es4 member. During the deposition of the lower Es3 member, these six fault segments quickly linked and formed the present architecture frame. Fault linkage has not resulted in a redistribution of displacement. With the expansion of the Chezhen Basin, the depocenters of the upper strata were kept in nearly the same sites until the early Miocene, then the activity of the Chengnan fault ceased. Fault linkage is a significant event in basin evolution, and its process may be very rapid. However, the fault linkage exerted considerable control on sedimentation and evolution of the basin. This study demonstrates that it is necessary to integrate structural and stratigraphic data to reconstruct the temporal and spatial evolution of normal fault zones.

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