Abstract The abundance of magnetic microspherules in a Triassic-Jurassic continuous sequence of alternating chert and shale beds in the Mino accretionary complex, central Japan, was measured systematically. Depending on time, the magnetic microspherules extracted from shale beds change in abundance considerably from the minimum 0.9ppm/cm3 at latest Triassic (ca 208Ma) and the maximum 75ppm/cm3 at late Early Jurassic (ca 187Ma); however, the abundance is always higher approximately 10–100 (average 70) times than those from adjacent chert bed at any stratigraphic horizon. Such systematic difference reveals the origin of radiolarian bedded chert as cyclic-rapid accumulation of biogenic SiO2 under extremely slow accumulative environments of shale with probable aeolian dust in origin. The accumulation data for individual shale and chert beds were obtained based on the microspherule abundance and radiolarian biostratigraphy, i.e., ca 0.018g/cm2Ka for lower Jurassic shale beds and ca 1.9g/cm2Ka for adjacent chert beds.
Duration time to make a chert-shale couplet corresponds to a dominantly 15–20Ka interval (average 23 Ka) in Upper Triassic bedded cherts with a low paleolatitude, whereas a 40–45 Ka interval (average 42 Ka) in Lower Jurassic ones which may been formed in higher latitude than Triassics before the final accretion to the Asian continental margin. Depending on paleolatitude, the cyclicity of 23 and 42 Ka may correspond to Milankovitch cycles which have been well documented in deep-sea sediments.