Cenozoic rifted lacustrine basins in east China display three main basin types: (1) basins with steeply dipping boundary fault, whose hanging walls tilt along pivot points; (2) basins with listric boundary faults, whose hanging walls bend along flexural bending points; and (3) basins formed by earlier extensional rifting with later strike-slip movement superimposed.

The sequence development is intimately linked to the tectonic movements in the area, where second-order sequences are regionally correlatable from basin to basin and relate to the large-scale tectonic movements in the region. Third-order sequences are related to local tectonic activity and are correlatable within basins, between subbasins, and sometimes, between neighboring basins. Detailed sequence-stratigraphic analysis and mapping of depositional systems demonstrate that sand-body distribution patterns are related to sequence-stratigraphic frameworks. For the three kinds of basins, the positions of pivot point zones, flexural bend zones, and strike-slip faults plus the syndepositional faults all control the distribution of depositional systems, systems tract, and sand bodies. These controlling factors can be attributed to different structural and stratigraphic features that change the accommodation. Structural elements include boundary faults, syndepositional faults, and abrupt changes in dip. Stratigraphic controls include preexisting surfaces with local channelization, paleobathymetric lows, and onlap onto clinoform slopes. The lowstand sand bodies deposited at the downdip end of these controlling factors constitute the current and future exploration targets for conventional reservoirs.

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