© 2015 Elsevier B.V. The South China Sea (SCS) experienced three episodes of seafloor spreading and left three fossil spreading centers presently located at 18°N, 17°N and 15.5°N. Spreading ceased at these three locations during magnetic anomaly 10, 8, and 5c, respectively. Daimao Seamount (16.6. Ma) was formed 10. my after the cessation of the 17°N spreading center. Volcaniclastic rocks and shallow-water carbonate facies near the summit of Daimao Seamount provide key information on the seamount's geologic history. New major and trace element and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopic compositions of basaltic breccia clasts in the volcaniclastics suggest that Daimao and other SCS seamounts have typical ocean island basalt-like composition and possess a 'Dupal' isotopic signature. Our new analyses, combined with available data, indicate that the basaltic foundation of Daimao Seamount was formed through subaqueous explosive volcanic eruptions at 16.6. Ma. The seamount subsided rapidly (>. 0.12. mm/y) at first, allowing the deposition of shallow-water, coral-bearing carbonates around its summit and, then, at a slower rate (<. 0.12. mm/y). We propose that the parental magmas of SCS seamount lavas originated from the Hainan mantle plume. In contrast, lavas from contemporaneous seamounts in other marginal basins in the western Pacific are subduction-related.