Formation of the Yakuno ophiolite; accretionary subduction under medium-pressure-type metamorphic conditions

Soichi Osozawa, Hiroshi Takeuchi, Toru Koitabashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The notion that the Yakuno ophiolite and overlying Maizuru Group represents an accretionary prism formed during the Permian evolution of Japan on the Yakuno eruptive sequence, association of hemipelagic mudstone with silicic tuff, exotic fossiliferous limestones derived from previously accreted sea-mounts, upward coarsening of sequences terrigenous sandstone and conglomerate, and mildly deformed Permian and Triassic forearc basin formations. The most important indicator, however, is the seaward imbrication and repetition observed in both the Maizuru Group and the ophiolite itself. D1 deformation structures include axial-planar foliations (pressure-solution cleavage for the Maizuru Group and granulite-amphibolite metamorphic layering in the ophiolite), flattening type strain, symmetric pressure shadows and fringes, and isoclinal folds showing axial-planar foliations and thrust faulting at their overturned limb. The exceptional asymmetry observed indicates seaward-directed shearing near the thrust, while D1 structures in the Maizuru zone are explained by off-scraping, above the basal decollement. The later Jurassic D2 kink fold structure includes a first-order asymmetric kink with a brittle thrust at its overturned limb, more-or-less coeval with M2 retrograde metamorphism. Medium-pressure M1 prograde metamorphism in the Yakuno ophiolite produced layering of granulite and amphibolite, and in the Maizuru Group, formation of illite along pressure-solution cleavage of mudstones. The metamorphic grade is controlled by the stratigraphic relationships and appears typical of that in ocean floor regions. However, there was only one episode of M1 prograde metamorphism which occurred contemporaneously with D1 off-scraping. Given that subduction zones are normally characterized by high P/T metamorphic regimes, the observed P/T history appears to reflect relatively unusual conditions. Such high thermal gradients may plausibly reflect the aproach of a young, hot oceanic plate which continued subducting beneath the Japanese arc. Accordingly, the Yakuno ophiolite was probably formed at the trench-trench-ridge triple junction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-219
Number of pages23
Issue number1-4 SPEC.ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov 18


  • Accretionary prism
  • Ophiolite
  • Prograde metamorphism
  • Ridge subduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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