2021 Volume 130 Issue 5 Pages 683-706
Coastal sand dunes dating to the latter part of the late Pleistocene were constructed at substantially lower sea levels on Kikaijima Island. They are preserved because of large-magnitude uplifts ascertained from occurrences of outstanding late Pleistocene and Holocene coral terraces. In addition, because Holocene sand dunes occur close to those of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3), the island is ideal for examining the environments of the formation of sand dunes, which were constructed under different climatic and sea-level conditions. Distributional and depositional features of sand dunes are clarified, and their chronology is constructed on the basis of tephrochronology, 14C dating, and chronological relationships of the sand dunes with marine terraces of known age. The environments of sand-dune formation on Kikaijima are examined in relation to climatic and sea-level records within regional and global contexts. Nine tephra layers are recognized. These include two widespread tephras, Kikai-Akahoya tephra (K-Ah) and Aira-Tn tephra (AT). The other seven tephras, consisting of fine ash layers, are newly recognized and named Kikaijima-1 tephra (Kj-1) to Kikaijima-7 tephra (Kj-7), of which the upper six, lying between K-Ah and AT, are aged from 13,000 to 30,000 cal BP. Holocene sand dunes began to form at c. 8,000 cal BP before the culmination of maximum Holocene sea-level rise. This is earlier than dune formation on other coasts of the Japanese Islands, where formation was generally after the culmination of maximum Holocene sea-level rise. The earlier formation on Kikaijima Island is probably due to coastal emergence caused by the conspicuous uplifts of Kikaijima and the high production of calcareous beach sands sourced from coral and foraminiferal and other materials. Late Pleistocene sand dunes, predominantly distributed at the southwestern part of Kikaijima Island, were formed in MIS 3. These dunes consist of longitudinal and parallel dunes. The largest longitudinal dunes on the lowest MIS 3 terraces, at the northern area of the southwestern part of Kikaijima Island, were formed in late MIS 3, c. 40 to 32 ka, while small and parallel sand dunes on the upper MIS 3 terraces were formed in early MIS 3. The occurrence and chronology of the Holocene and late Pleistocene sand dunes suggest that their formation on Kikaijima Island is mainly related to the occurrence of coastal sandy beaches during sea-level high stands. Although Holocene sand dunes are related to Holocene high stand, those of MIS 3 are related to high stands during cycles of sea-level fluctuations in MIS 3. The longitudinal landform of the sand dunes recognized in the late MIS 3 suggests that the prevailing winds in MIS 3 were stronger than in the Holocene. This study provides critical data for constructing a chronological framework that integrates various aspects of palaeoenvironments, as well as human interactions and responses in southern Kyushu.