Geology and stratigraphy of forearc basin sediments in Hokkaido, Japan: Cretaceous environmental events on the north-west Pacific margin

Reishi Takashima*, Fumihisa Kawabe, Hiroshi Nishi, Kazuyoshi Moriya, Ryoji Wani, Hisao Ando

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


Litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphy of the Cretaceous forearc basin sediments exposed in Hokkaido, northern Japan allow a synthesis of the faunal, sedimentological, and environmental history of the north-west Pacific margin. Although the succession, named the Yezo Group, has yielded an abundant record of mid- to late Cretaceous invertebrates, monotonous lithologies of sandstone and mudstone, showing occasional lateral facies changes, have caused confusion regarding the lithostratigraphic nomenclature. Based on our wide areal mapping of the sequence, and analysis of litho- and biofacies, a new lithostratigraphic scheme for the Yezo Group is proposed. In ascending order, the scheme is as follows: the Soashibetsugawa Formation (Lower Aptian mudstone unit); the Shuparogawa Formation (Lower Aptian-lower Upper Albian sandstone-dominant turbidite unit); the Maruyama Formation (lower Upper Albian tuffaceous sandstone unit); the Hikagenosawa Formation (Upper Albian-Middle Cenomanian mudstone-dominant unit); the Saku Formation (Middle Cenomanian-Upper Turonian sandstone-common turbidite unit); the Kashima Formation (Upper Turonian-Lower Campanian mudstone-dominant unit); and the Hakobuchi Formation (Lower Campanian-Paleocene shallow-marine sandstone-conglomerate unit). In addition, we designate two further lithostratigraphic units, the Mikasa Formation (Upper Albian-Turonian shallow-marine sandstone-dominated unit) and the Haborogawa Formation (Middle Turonian-Campanian shelf mudstone/sandstone unit), which correspond in age to the shallower facies of the Saku and Kashima formations, respectively.Despite a lack of so-called "black shales", because of siliciclastic dilution, our stratigraphic integration has revealed the horizons of oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) in the Yezo Group. The OAE1a horizon in the Soashibetsugawa Formation is characterized by a lack of foraminifers, macrofossils and bioturbation, and a prominent positive excursion of δ13 Corg. A significant hiatus during the late Aptian and early Albian removed the OAE1b horizon. The OAE1c horizon in the Maruyama Formation shows a distinct negative excursion of δ13C org with a concomitant high productivity of radiolarians. The OAE1d horizon in the middle part of the Hikagenosawa Formation consists of weakly laminated, pyrite-rich mudstone. Planktonic and calcareous benthic foraminifers are absent, whereas radiolarians are abundant above the OAE1d horizon. The mid-Cenomanian event (MCE) horizon is identified at the top of the Hikagenosawa Formation. Stepwise extinction of calcareous benthic foraminifers and a decrease in radiolarian diversity become apparent above the MCE horizon. In the study area, the OAE2 horizon has been well documented, and is placed in the middle part of the Saku Formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-390
Number of pages26
JournalCretaceous Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Cretaceous
  • Forearc basin
  • OAEs
  • Pacific
  • Stratigraphy
  • Yezo Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology


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