The purpose of this paper is to report the stratigraphy, age and tectonic movement of the Pliocene-Late Pleistocene deposits on the Makubetsu Plateau in the central region of the Tokachi plain on the basis of the geological relations of these deposits and K-Ar age data of the pyroclastic materials and obsidian pebbles collected from 8 horizons in these deposits. 1. The Tokachi Super Group, Pliocene-Early Pleistocene, distributed in this Plateau, is divided into the Ikeda and the Osarushinai Formations in ascending order. According to the molluscan and foraminiferal fauna, paleomagnetic stratigraphy and K-Ar age data, the age of the Ikeda Formation is correlative to the latest Pliocene, and the Osarushinai Formation to Early Pleistocene. The Osarushinai Formation, composed of clastic and pyroclastic materials, was accumulated in shallow sea and terrestrial basin formed subsequently by the westerly shifting of the center of the Ikeda depositional basin. 2. The Makubetsu Plateau was transformed into an upheaving area after the deposition of Osarushinai Formation, while the Obihiro Basin remained as a relatively subsiding area. Along the western margin of the Makubetsu Plateau runs an active tectonic line called Oribe Fault. 3. It is noticeable that the thick fanglomeratic deposits, the Kochien Gravel Bed, prevail throughout this Plateau. The lithofacies of this Gravel Bed suggest that the western hinterland, Hidaka Belt, was eroded away vigorousely in Middle Pleistocene. Some younger gravels and pyroclastic deposits cover the dissected Kochien Gravel Bed. Those younger gravel deposits are fan-surface deposits formed by erosion and resedimentation of the older thick gravel bed. 4. The areal changes in the altitudes of both the upper surface and the basal level of the Kochien Gravel Bed in and around this area have been critically analyzed to detect the Late Pliocene to Holocene tectonic movements which displaced and deformed this gravel bed. It has been disclosed as a result of this study that the activity of the Oribe Fault has a right-lateral strike-slip component and shows a vertical component decreasing gradually since Early Pleistocene. Moreover, it is worth notice that the Oribe active fault appears to have originated along the boundary between the Hidaka and Tokoro belts.
The eastern and southeastern slopes of Fuji Volcano which are covered with Fuji 1707 Tephra lack subalpine coniferous forests. At three sites on the southeastern slope, geological and paleobotanical studies were made on the fossil forests buried under this tephra. This pyroclastic fall deposit ejected from the Hoei Craters of December 16, 1707 A.D. consists of a lower pumice bed (Ho-Ia) and upper scoria beds (Ho-Ib) in this area. The wood fossils and other plant macrofossils are buried in or beneath the Ho-Ia, which consists of many bombs and coarse pumice fragments, with a maximum thickness of 70cm. The occurrence of wood fossils and other plant macrofossils indicate that leaves, branches and stems were buried in that order in the lower pumice bed very rapidly. Most of the wood fossils were carbonized by the heat of the pumice fragments. The forests which existed until December 16, 1707 A.D. were reconstructed. At site MK-4 (1745-1785m in alt.), there were stands composed of subalpine conifers such as Abies veitchii, Tsuga diversifolia and Picea jezoensis, one stand of Larix and one small stand of deciduous broad-leaved trees, that were distributed in patches. At site MK-2 (1680m in alt.), there was a forest of Abies, Tsuga diversifolia, and Picea jezoensis with a few broadleaved trees. At site MK-5 (1630m in alt.), there was a forest of Abies, Picea jezoensis, and Picea cf. maximowiczii with a few montane-zone elements such as Pterocarya or Pourthiaea. These facts indicate that, prior to the eruption, subalpine coniferous forests and montane ones existed on the southeastern slope of Fuji Volcano, and that the boundary between the subalpine zone and the montane zone was at about 1650m in alt. around the three sites. The elevation of this boundary is lower than that of the present one on the southern slope of Fuji Volcano. Since then, the forests have been replaced by a Larix forest or a Quercus and Betula forest at sites MK-2 and MK-5 where the surfaces have become relatively stable; whereas, a volcanic desert still exists around site MK-4 situated in the course of an avalanche chute.
Vegetational history from the latest Pleistocene to early Holocene in Maebashi, north-western Kanto region, was discussed, based upon stratigraphical and paleobotanical investigations on the Maebashi Peat. The forests in the latest Pleistocene around 13, 000 y.B.P. were characterized by cool-temperate to boreal conifers and deciduous broad-leaved trees, including Pinus koraiensis, Picea sect. Eupicea, Larix, Betula, and Alnus, and resembled those in the eastern and southern Kanto regions. From the latest Pleistocene to early Holocene, such forests changed into the sparse forests dominated by Quercus subgen. Lepidobalanus, in consequence of the rising of temperature and the increase of annual precipitation. In an age of this transition, there was the period of Larix and Betula forests formed under the influence of the large-scale ash fall in the pumice flow stage (ca. 13, 000-11, 000 y.B.P.) of the Asama volcano.