Petrographic study of the Miocene Mizunami Group, Central Japan: Detection of unrecognized volcanic activity in the Setouchi Province



A petrographic study of sandstones from the Miocene Mizunami Group in Central Japan has been performed on core samples from a single borehole, in order to evaluate the provenance of the sedimentary rock. Evaluation of the provenance is based on bulk mineral, heavy mineral and plagioclase contents and on whole rock chemical compositions. The sandstones studied are divisible into three types; the first type is characterized by the occurrence of biotite and plagioclase ranging from albite to oligoclase, the second type is characterized by the dominance of amphibole and labradorite with pyroxene (clinopyroxene > orthopyroxene), and the third type is characterized by the dominance of pyroxene (orthopyroxene > clinopyroxene) and andesine with lesser labradorite, bytownite and anorthite. The first type is interpreted to be derived from the basement granite, whereas the others were derived mostly from volcanic ash, judging from their mineral compositions. The volcanic activity that supplied the volcanic ash to the Mizunami Basin occurred in two phases, distinguishable by variations in their mineralogical and geochemical compositions, an indication of change in character of the volcanic activity. This petrographic study of the sandstones in the Mizunami Group suggests that unrecognized volcanic activity occurred around the Mizunami Basin, even though potential provenance of the volcanic ash has not yet been identified.