The Japanese Islands have grown through the formation of igneous rocks and accretionary prism caused by subduction of oceanic plates. However, the timing of the initiation of the subduction is not well defined. The South Kitakami Belt (SKB) in NE Japan is the best field to solve this problem. Here, basement igneous rocks are covered by successions of Ordovician to Early Cretaceous beds (450-100 Ma). We obtained LA-ICP-MS U-Pb zircon ages from the following localities.
Along the Yakushigawa-Valley section in the northeastern part of the SKB, we examined the ages of (1) trondhjemite of the Kagura Complex of basement igneous rocks, (2) felsic tuff of the Koguro Formation conformably covering the Kagura Complex, and (3) Yakushigawa Formation covering the Koguro Formation and lying under the Silurian Odagoe Formation. In the Ohasama area in the northwestern part of the SKB, we examined the age of (4) Nameirizawa Formation, which probably lies below the Silurian Orikabetoge Formation. Moreover, we examined the ages of four samples from the Hikami Granite body in the central part of the SKB.
The ages of trondhjemite (08331-5: 466±6 Ma) of the Kagura Complex and felsic tuff (08331-4b: 457±10 Ma) of the Koguro Formation indicate that the subduction of an oceanic plate had already started at 466 Ma, and that the Koguro Formation is the oldest age-known formation of the SKB. The tuffaceous sandstone of the Yakushigawa Formation (08331-3) has detrital zircons with the youngest age cluster of around 425 Ma, and is probably a Silurian formation. The tuffaceous sandstone of the Nameirizawa Formation (08331-9) has detrital zircons with the youngest age cluster of around 430 Ma. The formation is probably a Silurian formation and is correlated with the Yakushigawa Formation. Precise ages of around 412 Ma were obtained from the Hikamiyama body of the Hikami Granitic Rocks (08330-1,-3,-4), clearly suggesting that at least some parts of the body are not pre-Silurian basement.