• accretionary complex;
  • Cretaceous;
  • mélange;
  • plate motion;
  • shear direction;
  • Shimanto Belt;
  • Southwest Japan


Paleomagnetic studies and hotspot track analyses show that the Kula Plate was subducted dextrally with respect to the Eurasian Plate from the Coniacian to Campanian. However, geological evidence for dextral subduction of the Kula Plate has not been reported from Southwest Japan. Studies of the Coniacian to lower Campanian Miyama Formation of the Shimanto Belt reveal that the mélange fabrics show a dextral sense of shear both at outcrop and microscopic scales. In addition, thrust systems at map-scale also show dextral shearing. Restored shear directions in the mélange indicate dextral oblique subduction of an oceanic plate. This indicates that the Kula Plate subducted dextrally along the eastern margin of Asia during the Coniacian to early Campanian. Combinations with other published kinematic and age constraints suggest that Southwest Japan experienced a change from sinistral to dextral and back to sinistral shear between 89–76 Ma. This history is compatible with global-scale plate reconstructions and places good constraints on the timing of plate boundary interaction with the Cretaceous East Asian margin.