Exhumation process of the Nago subduction-related metamorphic rocks, Okinawa, Ryukyu island arc

Mark Schoonover, Soichi Osozawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The Kunigami zone in Okinawa is an extension of the Shimanto zone, Japan. The rocks make up the main part of the Nago metamorphic rocks, and such metamorphic rocks are exceptional in the Shimanto zone. The Anne complex, in the older Motobu zone, is also metamorphosed. The reason for why and how this kind of the metamorphism occurred, and especially why and how the metamorphic rocks were exhumed, is yet uncertain and unresolved. To understand the metamorphic and exhumation process in Okinawa, a structural study is undertaken, and its relation to the Eocene ridge subduction is discussed. We believe exhumation was performed by formation of a D2 extrusion wedge, made up of the Nago metamorphic rocks. The base for this wedge is a subduction thrust, and the roof is a detachment fault. Internally, there exists another Kijoka detachment fault, which is a brittle low-angle fault with top to the northwest shear sense, and the D2 major recumbent folds and thrusts show top to the southeast opposite shear sense in the Kunigami zone. This is the first report that finds detachment faults from the typical and ancient accretionary complex. M2 is mostly retrograde related to exhumation, but its medium P/T-type prograde metamorphism, abnormal at subduction zones, represents a high thermal gradient during ridge subduction. As a result, this ridge subduction is responsible for exhumation. At the time of accretion of the Kunigami zone, D1 ductile contraction and constriction exhibited top to the southeast shear sense, but an opposite and extensional shear sense is recognized in the proto-wedge. During D1, the wedge had already been active and begun to exhume. M1 of the Miyagi complex is accretion related and also of medium P/T-type metamorphism, and is a consequence of Cretaceous ridge subduction without any ability to cause much exhumation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-240
Number of pages20
Issue number1-4 SPEC.ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov 18


  • Detachment fault
  • Exhumation
  • Extrusion wedge
  • Medium P/T type
  • Nago metamorphic rocks
  • Recumbent fold and thrust
  • Ridge subduction
  • Stretching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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