Orbital and suborbital-scale sedimentary rhythms in the Middle Miocene Onnagawa Formation, Northeastern Japan

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Shunsuke Kurokawa1, Ryuji Tada1, Satoshi Takahashi1, Takuya Itaki2 and Yoshimi Kubota3, (1)University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Japan, (2)Geological Survey of Japan, Ibaraki, Japan, (3)National Museum of Nature and Science, Ibaraki, Japan
Late Quaternary climate is characterized by millennial-scale abrupt climatic changes namely Dansgaard-Oeschger Cycles. Such millennial-scale changes are faithfully recorded in the Japan Sea sediments as alternation of dark and light colored silty clay, and the relationship between the millennial-scale variability and orbitally-driven changes in ice volume has been explored. On the other hand, presence of similar millennial-scale changes was reported from the Middle Miocene alternations of dark and light colored siliceous rocks in the Onnnagawa Formation, Northeastern Japan.

Because large, unstable ice sheet was present during the Late Quaternary and the Middle Miocene, it is suggested that such millennial-scale variability and waxing and waning of unstable ice sheet could be interrelated. Thus, it is important to specify the cyclicity and the amplitude variability of millennial-scale cycles during the Middle Miocene to understand the underlying mechanism and the ultimate cause.

The Middle Miocene Onnagawa Formation is known as bedded siliceous rocks equivalent to the Monterey Formation, California. Tada (1991) demonstrated that its cm-scale dark-light colored alternations reflected millennial-scale variability. However, the timing, periodicity, and duration of the millennial-scale variability are not fully understood. Thus, we aim to clarify when the millennial-scale variability became distinct and faded out, and examine its possible association with ice volume changes.

We conducted a field survey in the Yashima area, Akita, Northeastern Japan to reconstruct a continuous sedimentary record throughout the Middle Miocene, and constructed the age model based on biostratigraphy. In addition, we identified cyclic changes in lithology, and applied cyclostratigraphy to produce the high-resolution age model. Based on this age model, we attempt correlation with δ18O curve to examine the relationship between cyclicity of δ18O changes and occurrence of millennial-scale variability.