2017 Volume 126 Issue 5 Pages 557-579
Shinjima (Moeshima) Island in Kagoshima Bay, southern Kyushu, Japan is noteworthy in volcanology, paleontology, and palaeo-environmental studies, because the island emerged from the bay bottom during volcanic activity at Sakurajima in 1780 AD. As a result, Holocene and late-Pleistocene deposits of the bay including muddy deposits, a thick pyroclastic flow deposit, and prominent molluscan shell beds occur on this island. Several tephras included in the bay deposits are critical for deriving their precise chronology. The chronology of those tephras was constructed on the basis of their identification using both refractive indices and major element compositions of constituent glass shards, as well as stratigraphic features in the field. Tephras identified in sediments from younger to older are Sakurajima-Taisho (Sz-Ts)-/P1, Sakurajima-Sueyoshi(Sz-Sy)-/P11, Yonemaru, Sakurajima-Uwaba(Sz-Ub)-/P12, Sakurajima-Takatoge3 (Sz-Tk3)-/P13, Sakurajima-Satsuma (Sz-S)-/P14, and Shinjima pyroclastic flow deposit. The Shinjima pyroclastic flow deposit, which differs stratigraphically between northern and southern areas of Shinjima Island, is the same tephra in the two areas, and is estimated to be c. 13,000 cal BP in age. The pumice clasts of Sz-Sy/P11 provided a suitable environment for the habitat of a prominent shell bed (Moeshima Shell Bed) composed mainly of Neopycnodonte musashiana. Sz-Ub/P12, Sz-Tk3/P13, and associate secondary deposits of Sz-S/P14 indicate that the deposit was formed in the last 13,000 cal BP. The chronology of the deposits of Shinjima Island is based on the findings of stratigraphic positions and ages of those tephras, and 14C ages obtained in this study, and will play an important role when examining the palaeo-environmental history of Kagoshima Bay since the last deglaciation.