The Kuching Formation: A deep marine equivalent of the Sadong Formation, and its implications for the Early Mesozoic tectonic evolution of western and southern Borneo

Final Front
Author : H. Tim Breitfeld, Stuart D. Burley, Thomson Galin, Juliane Hennig-Breitfeld, Roslan Rajali
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 101 - 129
Volume Number : 76
Year : 2023

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 76, November 2023, pp. 101 – 129

H. Tim Breitfeld1,2,*, Stuart D. Burley3, Thomson Galin4, Juliane Hennig-Breitfeld1,2, Roslan Rajali4

1 Institute of Geology, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Bernhard-von-Cotta-Straße 2, D-09599 Freiberg, Germany
2 SE Asia Research Group, Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham TW20 0EX, UK
3 Basin Dynamics Research Group, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK
4 Department of Mineral and Geoscience Malaysia (JMG) Sarawak, Jalan Wan Abdul Rahman, Kenyalang Park, P.O. Box 560 93712 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

*Corresponding author email address:

Abstract: The pre-Cretaceous history of Borneo remains relatively poorly studied. Limited exposures of Palaeozoic and lower Mesozoic rocks are located in NW Kalimantan and in West Sarawak, an area interpreted as the West Borneo basement. Lower Mesozoic sedimentary rocks in West Sarawak were analysed to study their depositional environments and implications for the tectonic evolution. Upper Triassic turbidites in West Sarawak, exposed in the northern part of Kuching city, informally named the Kuching Formation, are the deep marine equivalent to the more widespread, shallow marine Sadong Formation. The Kuching Formation comprises thinly-bedded stacked turbidites, consisting of incomplete Bouma sequences, with multiple, erosive channel sandstone bodies deposited under upper flow regime waning flows. Thin debrites with abundant coaly-material are interbedded with the channel sandstones. The Kuching and Sadong formations both contain volcaniclastic detritus that was derived from the westward-subducting Palaeo-Pacific plate, forming a Triassic Andean-type arc which extended from West Borneo in the south to southern China, Taiwan and Japan in the north. Palaeoproterozoic to Archean detrital zircons in the Kuching and Sadong formations reveal a Cathaysian basement source, providing insights into the nature of the West Borneo basement. Quartz-mica schists (Kerait Schist, Tuang Formation) in fault-contact with the two sedimentary successions may have formed during accretion.

Keywords: Kuching Formation turbidites, West Sarawak Metamorphics, Sadong Formation, Palaeo-Pacific subduction, Sarawak stratigraphy, Triassic active continental margin


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Manuscript received 30 March 2023;
Received in revised form 1 September 2023;
Accepted 20 September 2023
Available online 29 November 2023


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