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Paleosol proles in the Shiohama Formation of the Lower Cretaceous Kanmon

Group, Southwest Japan and implications for sediment supply frequency


Yu Horiuchi
a,
*
, Ken-ichiro Hisada
a
, Yong Il Lee
b
a
Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan
b
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, NS80, Seoul 151-747, Korea
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Received 2 March 2009
Accepted in revised form 16 July 2009
Available online 23 July 2009
Keywords:
Calcrete
Floodplain deposit
Kanmon Group
Lower Cretaceous
Paleosol
Shiohama Formation
a b s t r a c t
This paper describes the pedogenic features of paleosols in the upper Lower Cretaceous Shiohama
Formation, the lowest unit of the Shimonoseki Subgroup, in Yoshimi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwest
Japan. The paleosol proles in the Shiohama Formation are compound and complex, characterized by the
presence of abundant calcrete horizons. An analysis of these proles reveals that the oodplain upon
which the Shiohama Formation was deposited was part of an unstable aggradation system characterized
by the intermittent inux of sediments and occasional erosion. Furthermore, the mean annual range of
precipitation was less than about 30 mm, suggesting only minor seasonal change between wet and dry
conditions during deposition of the Shiohama Formation. The microstructures of the observed calcretes
include dense microfabric, oating detrital grains, micronodules, circum-granular cracks, and complex
cracks. These features formed by chemical precipitation under dry conditions, with little bioactivity. The
calcrete horizons are classied into seven types (IVII) based on their modes of occurrence. Two
processes of carbonate accumulation can be identied based on the size and abundance of nodules: VI
VIII(II)I and VI(V)IVIII. These processes represent the development of calcrete horizons from the
early to late stages of calcretization. Type I represents the most highly developed stage of calcretization.
Calcretes within the Lower Member sequence of the Shiohama Formation show repetitions of type I and
types II and III. Thus, it is interpreted that the frequency of sediment supply to the oodplain changed
repeatedly over time.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
A paleosol is a soil that formed on a landscape of the past (Ruhe,
1965; Retallack, 2001). Soils that develop in alluvial sequences may
be preserved within oodplain sediments as paleosols (Miall,
1996). The development of soils in alluvial sequences is a common
phenomenon because the rate of sedimentation on oodplains is
generally slow enough to allow sediments to be pedogenically
modied (Wright, 1986). Paleosols preserved in oodplain deposits
commonly show complex proles because of spatial and temporal
variations in oodplain deposition (Kraus and Aslan, 1993; Kraus,
1996; McCarthy et al., 1998); indeed, previous studies have sought
to clarify the spatial and temporal development of oodplain
paleosols (Kraus, 1997; McCarthy et al., 1998). Knowledge of the
relationship between pedogenic and sedimentologic features can
help in estimating the rate of sediment supply.
Details of the mode of occurrence of paleosols in Japanwere rst
reported by Lee and Hisada (1997) in a study of the Shiohama
Formation of the Lower Cretaceous Kanmon Group, southwest
Japan. The paleosols in the Shiohama Formation are developed in
oodplain deposits within an alluvial fan setting (Lee and Hisada,
1997, 1999; Horiuchi et al., 2008). Lee and Hisada (1999) described
calcretes from these paleosols, focusing mainly on a chemical
analysis of calcrete, and estimated paleoatmospheric P
CO
2
to be
17003200 ppmV based on the stable isotopic composition of the
calcretes. However, the formative process of these paleosols has yet
to be considered.
The aim of the present study is to characterize the development
of the oodplain paleosol proles preserved in the Shiohama
Formation. Furthermore, we seek to reconstruct the formation
process of the calcretes, based on their mode of occurrence, and to
identify the relation between rate of sediment supply and
pedogenesis.
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: hori-yu@geol.tsukuba.ac.jp (Y. Horiuchi).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Cretaceous Research
j ournal homepage: www. el sevi er. com/ l ocat e/ Cret Res
0195-6671/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2009.07.009
Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324
2. Geological setting
Cretaceous red beds are widely distributed throughout East Asia
(Miki, 1992). In Japan, their occurrence is restricted to the Inner
Zone of Southwest Japan, where their presence is attributed to this
region having been either emergent or in a shallow-sea environ-
ment under a hot arid/humid climate during the Cretaceous (Miki
and Nakamuta, 1997).
The Cretaceous Kanmon Group, characterized by intercalations
of red beds, is widely distributed throughout westernmost Honshu
and northern Kyushu Islands (Fig. 1). The Kanmon Group dis-
conformably overlies the Jurassic marine Toyora and Toyonishi
Groups, and also unconformably overlies the Sangun high P/T
metamorphic rocks and granitic rocks (Okada and Sakai, 1993).
Fig. 2 shows the age and stratigraphy of the Kanmon Group. The
group is subdivided into the Wakino and Shimonoseki Subgroups
based on lithology (Matsumoto, 1951). The Wakino Subgroup is
characterized by clastic sediments intercalated with minor felsic
tuff and tuffaceous sediments, whereas the Shimonoseki Subgroup
is characterized by large volumes of andesitic to dacitic volcani-
clastic sediment.
The Shimonoseki Subgroup, about 3,000 m thick, dis-
conformably overlies the Wakino Subgroup, and unconformably
overlies older basement rocks. The Shimonoseki Subgroup is
composed of conglomerate, sandstone, shale, tuff, tuff breccias, and
lavas of andesite, dacite, and rhyolite. This subgroup has been
assigned to the AptianAlbian based on ssion track ages of zircon
in acidic tuff (Murakami, 1985) and K-Ar dating of hornblende in
volcanic rocks (Imaoka et al., 1993). The Shimonoseki Subgroup is
subdivided into the following four formations (in ascending
stratigraphic order): the Shiohama, Kitahikoshima, Sujigahama,
and Fukue Formations (Fig. 2; Ueda, 1957; Hase, 1960).
The present study area, the Yoshimi area, is located upon Aji-
ronohana headland, Shimonoseki City (Fig. 3). The sequence of the
Shiohama Formation, about 350 m thick, is well exposed along the
rocky coast, although the upper contact of the formation is not seen.
3. Stratigraphy and depositional environments
Fig. 3 shows a route map of the Yoshimi area. The studied
section extends for about 500 m along the coast-line, where-
conglomerate, sandstone, and mudstone of the Shiohama Forma-
tion are exposed. In the northern part of this section, the Shiohama
Formation conformably overlies the Upper Wakamiya Formation of
the Wakino Subgroup. The strata in this section strike NESW and
dip to the SE at 4050

. Fig. 3 also shows a columnar section of the


Shiohama Formation in the studied section, subdivided into Lower,
Middle and Upper Members (Horiuchi et al., 2008).
The Lower Member is characterized by abundant red beds. The
member is about 80 m thick, and is composed of conglomerate,
sandstone, and mudstone. The conglomerates generally show the
characteristics of sediment gravity-ow deposits, and the sand-
stones and mudstones are indicative of oodplain deposits, with
some paleosol features. Sediment gravity-owdeposits are thought
to represent components of debris-ow-dominated alluvial fans,
whereas oodplain deposits with abundant paleosols are inter-
preted to represent the distal part of a sheet-ooding-dominated
alluvial fan or the overbank nes of an alluvial plain (Horiuchi et al.,
2008).
The paleosols within the Lower Member contain numerous
calcareous nodules known as calcrete (Wright and Tucker, 1991).
The paleosols also locally contain slickensides and are mottled.
Calcrete within paleosols is a feature of arid environments (Wright
and Tucker, 1991). The uppermost part of each reddish sandstone
bed in the Lower Member preserves parallel laminations disturbed
by burrows and surfaces with raindrop imprints. Although bedding
planes within these oodplain deposits are sometimes obscured by
pedogenesis, a number of calcrete horizons can be recognized.
The Middle Member (about 60 mthick) is characterized by thick
conglomerate with intercalated thin sandstone and mudstone beds
(less than 50 cm thick). Sediment gravity ows are the main
KOREA
JAPAN
Kanmon
Group
Fig. 3
126 E 132 E
36 N
32 N
Honshu
Kyushu Jeju
Fig. 1. Distribution of the Kanmon Group, southwest Japan.
P
e
r
i
o
d
A
g
e
Ma
E
a
r
l
y

C
r
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t
a
c
e
o
u
s
100
110
120
130
140
Albian
Aptian
Barremian
Hauterivian
Valanginian
Berriasian
Stratigraphy
Fukue Fm.
Shiohama Fm.
Kitahikoshima Fm.
Sujigahama Fm.
Upper Wakamiya Fm.
Lower Wakamiya Fm.
Nyoraida Fm.
Sengoku Fm.
S
h
i
m
o
n
o
s
e
k
i

S
u
b
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r
o
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p
W
a
k
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o

S
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b
g
r
o
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p
K
a
n
m
o
n

G
r
o
u
p
Fig. 2. Stratigraphy and age of the Kanmon Group. Compiled from Hase (1958).
Absolute age is cited from Sakai and Okada (1997).
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1314
depositional mode in this member (Horiuchi et al., 2008). These
deposits indicate the progradation of alluvial fans.
The Upper Member, which occurs in the southern part of the
studied section and is more than 40 m thick, is characterized by
thick conglomeratic sandstone containing volcanic rock fragments.
The conglomeratic sandstone, which is massive or contains hori-
zontal bedding, is indicative of deposition by high-velocity ow or
sediment gravity ow. Paleosols in this member are less developed
than those in the Lower Member, and are commonly covered by
sheet sandstones deposited from plane-bed ows. The Upper
Member was deposited on the middle part of a sheet-ooding-
dominated alluvial fan (Horiuchi et al., 2008). The middle and
upper parts of the Upper Member contain several beds of volca-
niclastic breccia and conglomerate. In the lower and middle parts,
sandstones show a gradational upward change in color from pale
green to reddish, followed by an abrupt change fromreddish to pale
green or grayish. Calcretes are only developed in red-colored layers,
which are interpreted as a oodplain paleosol developed on a fan
surface, although the calcretes are developed in fewer horizons
than in the paleosols within the oodplain deposit of the Lower
Member.
4. Occurrence of calcretes
Paleosols in the Shiohama Formation are characterized by
abundant calcretes. Lee and Hisada (1997, 1999) suggested that the
calcretes observed in the Shiohama Formation are pedogenic in
origin, based on the following observations: (1) the presence of
43
1
0
0
9
0
8
0
7
0
6
0
5
0
4
0
3
0
2
0
47
40
46
43
49
46
35
LowerMember
Middle Member
Upper Member
Upper Wakamiya
Formation
Ajironohana
0
20
m
N
0 50 m
red bed mudstone
sandstone conglomerate
conglomeratic sandstone
fault inferred fault
strike & dip of
bedding plane
strike & dip of
fault plane
46
conglomerate
mudstone
sandstone
detailed
column
in Fig. 6
S
h
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a

F
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m
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M
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M
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b
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M
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b
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M
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b
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Upper Wakamiya
Formation
C
a
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h
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Legends
Fig. 3. Columnar section and route map of the studied section.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1315
calcareous root traces and rhizoliths, (2) poor stratication of the
nodule-bearing overbank nes, (3) the presence of purple-colored
horizons, (4) the diffuse lower boundaries of limestone beds
(Esteban and Klappa, 1983; Retallack, 1988), and (5) carbonate
nodule- and lens-bearing horizons are cut by overlying channel
deposits. It is generally accepted that calcrete is composed mainly
of calciumcarbonate, although there exists no uniformdenition of
the term calcrete in the literature (Quast et al., 2006). The term is
commonly used for carbonates from the vadose zone, but also for
groundwater carbonate precipitated in the phreatic soil zone (e.g.,
Wright and Tucker, 1991; Quast et al., 2006; Stokes et al., 2007). In
the present paper, the term calcrete is used to refer to carbonate
not only from the vadose zone but also from the phreatic soil zone.
The precipitation of carbonate occurs via several mechanisms,
including evaporation, evapotranspiration, the degassing of CO
2
,
the common ion effect, and biological activity (Wright and Tucker,
1991). Calcrete formation is also inuenced by climate, especially
the amount of rainfall (Khadkikar et al., 2000; Retallack, 2005).
Previous studies have classied calcretes based on their
morphology, and have reconstructed their stages of development
(e.g., Gile et al., 1966; Alonso-Zarza, 2003).
4.1. Distribution of calcrete horizons within the Shiohama
Formation
Calcretes occur within about 110 horizons in the Shiohama
Formation in the studied section (Fig. 3). Among these, the calcretes
within 64 horizons are clearly observable and are described in this
study; the other horizons are unsuitable for detailed observations
because of poor exposure. Of the 64 studied horizons, 53 (Sh0153)
are in the Lower Member and 11 (Sh5464) in the Upper Member.
The calcrete horizons are commonly parallel to bedding and are
occasionally truncated by overlying channel sediments. Most of
these calcretes occur in the oodplain paleosols. The average
interval between successive calcrete horizons is 20 cm, and the
horizons are generally less than 20 cm thick.
4.2. Mode of occurrence of calcretes
The calcretes in the studied section are nodular in shape and are
commonly oriented parallel to bedding in ne-grained sandstone
or mudstone. Most are white to pale red in color. Tables 1 and 2 list
the shape, abundance, and size of calcretes in each horizon, as well
as the distinctness of the boundary between calcrete and the host
material, and the contrast in color between calcrete and host
material. The calcrete horizons are classied into seven types
(IVII) based on the abundance and size of calcrete nodules (Fig. 4).
Each of these types is briey described below.
The type I horizons are characterized by abundant nodules, and
showlayering dened by concentrations of nodules. Nodules range
in size from <1 to >5 cm across, although it is sometimes difcult
to identify nodule boundaries because they coalesce with each
other to dene individual layers. Type I is developed only in the
Lower Member.
In calcrete horizons of type II, calcrete is abundant as individual
nodules larger than 1 cm across on average. This is the most
common type, and differs from type I in that calcrete nodules have
a scattered distribution (without dening layers) and their outlines
are distinct. This type occurs in both the Lower and Upper
Members.
Type III is also characterized by abundant small nodules, but is
distinguished from type II based on the size of nodules, being
smaller than 1 cm across on average. This type occurs only in the
Lower Member.
Type IV horizons contain small numbers of nodules that are
>1 cmacross on average. Only one horizon of type IV is recognized,
in the Upper Member.
Type V horizons also contain relatively few nodules, but differ
from type IV in containing smaller nodules, <1 cm across on
average. Two type V horizons were found in the Lower Member,
and one in the Upper Member.
Type VI horizons contain nodules with ambiguous boundaries
and similar color to the host material, thereby making it difcult to
determine their shape. Two horizons of this type are found in the
Upper Member.
Type VII horizons have two diagnostic features: diffused and
low contrasted calcrete layers that contain highly distinct and
contrastive nodules, and nodules of various shapes with diffuse
boundaries with adjacent host material. Type VII is developed in
both the Lower and Upper Members.
5. Microstructure of calcretes
Thirty typical calcrete horizons were selected for microstruc-
tural analysis. More than 100 thin-sections were prepared and
observed using an optical microscope. Five types of microstructure
are commonly recognized in these horizons: dense microfabric,
oating detrital grains, micronodules, grain coatings and complex
cracks (Table 3).
Dense microfabric (Fig. 5A) comprises massive micrite, and is
commonly observed in more than 90% of calcrete horizons. Under
the microscope, the micrite shows various degrees of transmittance
and is usually light brown in color. This microfabric has been
reported previously from both Pleistocene and ancient calcretes
(Esteban and Klappa, 1983; Goudie, 1983; Wright and Tucker, 1991;
Tandon and Gibling, 1997; Khadkikar et al., 2000). Micrite forms via
the simultaneous growth of closely spaced nuclei or crystallites
(Tandon and Friend, 1989), possibly in response to the rapid
degassing of carbon dioxide during evaporative processes (Wieder
and Yaalon, 1982).
Floating detrial grains (Fig. 5B) are observed in most of the
calcretes. This microfabric develops by textural inversion, caused by
the growth of secondary micrite in the spaces between grains
(Wright and Tucker, 1991). The grains oating in micrite commonly
contain a uniform coating of calcite, although it may show an
asymmetric shape. The coated grains, mainly detrital quartz and
feldspar, are generally needle-like in form. The coating develops at
a certain stage of crystal growth, because the length of the crystals
is the same as the thickness of the coating.
Grain coatings have been described in previous studies as
pendant cement in the case of those with an asymmetric appear-
ance (Longman, 1980; James and Choquette, 1984; Gardner and
McLaren, 1994). Pendant cement is composed of calcite crystals that
grow with the same shape as a drop of water adhering beneath the
grain, because the effect of gravity means that water droplets
around individual grains have a pendant shape. Pendant cement is
formed by evaporation and the degassing of carbon dioxide,
immediately after the passage of meteoric waters through sedi-
ment in the vadose zone (James and Choquette, 1984). The
precipitation of needle-like crystals is possibly driven by rapid
degassing, which results in high degrees of supersaturation (Given
and Wilkinson, 1985).
Micronodules are aggregates of massive micrite that can be
discriminated from surrounding micrite based on color (Fig. 5C). In
the present study, micronodules were observed in some calcretes
(Table 3). Circum-granular cracks, inlled with sparrycalcite, are
locally observed around the micronodules.
Complex cracks, which have an irregular or complex shape, are
developed in massive micrite and lled with sparry calcite (Fig. 5A).
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1316
This microstructure is observed in most of the calcrete horizons
(Table 3). There are two types of cracks in micrite (Khadkikar et al.,
2000): those that represent the shrinkage planes of clay minerals
formed by alternating dry and wet conditions, cemented by pore-
lling sparite; and channels formed by rootlets, lled with micro-
sparite. In the case of the Shiohama Formation, it seems that most
of these cracks originated by the former process, as they contain
many offshoots. Sparry-calcite crystals tend to be larger toward the
inner parts of the observed cracks. It is known that rapid precipi-
tation occurs in cracks in which processes of evaporation and
degassing are enhanced (Wright and Tucker, 1991). Stokes et al.
(2007), however, reported sparite and microsparite originating
Table 1
Description of calcretes in the Shiohama Formation
No. type shape distinctness contrast abundance size
Sh01 I d very sharp prominent dense 30 cm?
Sh02 V rod, disc, irregular diffuse prominent sporadic large-medium
Sh03 I d very sharp, diffuse prominent dense 020 cm
Sh04 I sphere? sharp prominent dense 010 cm
Sh05 I d very diffuse prominent dense 4010 cm
Sh06 V sphere, disc sharp prominent sporadic medium-small
Sh07 II sphere, disc very diffuse moderate scattered small-large
Sh08 II irregular, disc very sharp prominent scattered large
Sh09 II irregular very sharp prominent scattered medium-large
Sh10 I irregular sharp-diffuse prominent dense large-medium
Sh11 III irregular very sharp prominent scattered medium-small
Sh12 II irregular very diffuse prominent scattered large-medium
Sh13 II irregular very diffuse prominent scattered large
Sh14 II sphere, irregular very diffuse moderate scattered small-large
Sh15 I rod, irregular very diffuse moderate dense medium-ne/5 cm
Sh16 I irregular, disc sharp prominent dense large-medium
Sh17 II sphere, irregular diffuse prominent scattered medium-large
Sh18 II sphere, irregular, rod sharp prominent scattered small-large
Sh19 II irregular, rod sharp prominent scattered small-large
Sh20 VII d diffuse prominent scattered 510 cm
Sh21 III sphere sharp-diffuse prominent scattered small, 05 cm
Sh22 II disc, sphere sharp prominent scattered medium-large
Sh23 II irregular sharp, very diffuse prominent scattered medium-large, 010 cm
Sh24 VII irregular very diffuse prominent scattered 010 cm
Sh25 II sphere/irregular diffuse prominent scattered small/large
Sh26 III irregular, rod, disc sharp prominent scattered small-large
Sh27 III disc sharp prominent scattered small-large
Sh28 III irregular-disc sharp prominent scattered medium-large
Sh29 III irregular, rod sharp prominent scattered small-medium
Sh30 III sphere, disc sharp prominent scattered small-medium
Sh31 I disc sharp prominent dense small-medium
Sh32 III disc, irregular sharp-diffuse prominent scattered small-medium
Sh33 III irregular diffuse moderate scattered small-medium
Sh34 III irregular sharp-diffuse moderate scattered small-medium
Sh35 VII very diffuse moderate dense 1030 cm
Sh36 II irregular, sphere diffuse prominent scattered large-small
Sh37 II disc very sharp moderate scattered large-medium
Sh38 III irregular-sphere sharp moderate scattered medium-large
Sh39 III irregular-sphere diffuse moderate scattered medium-large
Sh40 I d diffuse prominent dense 1015 cm
Sh41 I d very diffuse prominent dense 2030 cm
Sh42 I d sharp prominent dense 020 cm
Sh43 I sphere very sharp prominent dense medium
Sh44 I d very diffuse moderate dense 015 cm
Sh45 I irregular sharp prominent dense large-medium
Sh46 I d sharp-diffuse prominent dense 010 cm
Sh47 I sphere sharp-diffuse prominent dense medium-large
Sh48 I sphere sharp-diffuse prominent dense medium-large
Sh49 II irregular-rod diffuse prominent scattered medium-large
Sh50 II irregular diffuse prominent scattered medium
Sh51 II sphere sharp prominent scattered large
Sh52 I irregular sharp-very diffuse prominent dense large
Sh53 II irregular-rod diffuse prominent scattered large
Sh54 II disc? very sharp prominent scattered large
Sh55 VI ? very diffuse faint d d
Sh56 II sphere, irregular, rod diffuse prominent scattered medium-large
Sh57 VII sphere, irregular very diffuse moderate dense medium, 03 cm
Sh58 VI ? very diffuse faint d 010 cm?
Sh59 V sphere, disc, rod very diffuse moderate sporadic small-large
Sh60 II ? very diffuse moderate scattered large-medium
Sh61 II irregular very diffuse prominent scattered large-medium
Sh62 II irregular sharp prominent scattered medium-large
Sh63 II irregular sharp moderate scattered medium-large
Sh64 IV irregular, sphere diffuse moderate sporadic medium-large
Terms used in this table are listed in Table 2.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1317
from groundwater in an alluvial fan setting, and proposed that the
early phase of calcrete formation is characterized by pedogenic
processes, involving increasing groundwater calcretization over
time.
Returning to the Shiohama Formation, Lee and Hisada (1999)
stated that the origin of sparry calcite was different from that of
micrite, which formed by pedogenic processes, as indicated by
stable isotope analyses. Hence, the authors inferred that the sparry
calcite was precipitated during a later phase of calcretization, from
different water to that from which the surrounding micrite was
precipitated.
The micromorphology of calcretes can be classied into two end
members (alpha and beta) controlled by climate (Wright and
Tucker, 1991). Beta-type calcretes form by bioactivity, and are
developed in semi-arid to sub-humid areas covered by vegetation.
In contrast, alpha-type calcretes form by chemical precipitation
associated with evaporation, evapotranspiration, and degassing.
Compared with beta-type calcretes, alpha-type calcretes occur in
relatively arid climates with little bioactivity (Wright and Tucker,
1991).
The calcretes of the Shiohama Formation show the character-
istics of alpha-type calcretes (i.e., dense microfabric, oating
detrital grains, micronodules, circum-granular cracks, and complex
cracks); thus, they are interpreted to have formed under dry
conditions with little vegetation cover. In terms of carbonate
morphology, it is generally noted that relatively complex later-
stage carbonate horizons contain relict carbonate forms from
earlier stages (Gile et al., 1966). However, the various stages
involved in the development of carbonate microstructure remain
poorly understood, because it is difcult to determine the origin of
individual microstructures, such as micronodules and complex
cracks (Alonso-Zarza, 2003). In the Shiohama Formation, the
microstructures of type I calcretes showrelatively prominent dense
microfabric, but other microstructures occur in similar proportions
among the different types of horizons (Table 3). This nding
suggests that the dense microfabric formed during the develop-
ment stage of calcretization. It is inferred that the dense micro-
fabrics of type IIVII calcrete were precipitated during the early
stage of calcretization, whereas dense microfabrics of type I
Table 2
Terms for description of calcretes
Aspect Category Description
shape sphere spherical shape
irregular irregular shape
disc discoidal shape
rod rod shape
distinctness very sharp transition to matrix in less than 1 mm
sharp transition to matrix over about 1 mm
diffuse transition to matrix over 1-5 mm
very
diffuse
transition to matrix over more than 5 mm
contrast faint recognizable only on close inspection
moderate readily seen, differing by at least two Munsell hues,
chromas or values
prominent obvious, with hue, chroma or value several Munsell units
apart
abundance sporadic less than 2% of exposed surface
scattered 2-20% of exposed surface
dense more than 20% of exposed surface
size small less than 5 mm in diameter on exposed surface
medium 5-15 mm in diameter
large more than 15 mm in diameter
(cm) thickness of layer
(Sh04) (Sh08) (Sh26)
(Sh62) (Sh35) (Sh58) (Sh06)
(No.)
IV
sporadic, medium to large
nodule
type
picture
occurrences of calcrete
stratigraphic position
Upper Member
I
V
dense, coalesced nodule,
a single layer
sporadic, small to medium
nodule
Lower Member
Lower and Upper Members
III
VII
scattered, small to medium
nodule
partly diffuse, difficult
to identify
Lower and Upper Members
II
VI
scattered, medium to large
nodule
very diffuse, difficult
to identify
Lower and Upper Members
Upper Member
Lower Member
Fig. 4. Occurrence of calcretes in the Shiohama Formation, southwest Japan.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1318
calcrete were precipitated during the early to later stages. Types I
III are commonly observed in the Shiohama Formation. Thus, type I
calcretes represent the last stage of calcretization among these
prominent types IIII. Types II and III contain similar proportions of
various microstructures. It is therefore likely that types II and III
formed during similar stages of the development of calcretes.
6. Repeated Bk horizons in the Shiohama Formation
The oodplain deposit in the Shiohama Formation is charac-
terized by the presence of abundant calcrete horizons. As
mentioned above, these calcretes formed by pedogenesis and
generally occur within a specic horizon in the soil prole. This
horizon is usually recognized as the Bk horizon in the soil prole.
The prole consists (from top to bottom) of the near-surface A,
subsurface B (including Bk), and weathered parent material C
horizons. In Fig. 6, the calcrete horizons labeled Sh1441 represent
the Bk horizon. The depth to the top of the Bk horizon is generally
dependent on the mean annual precipitation: the Bk horizon is
closer to the surface in drier climates (Retallack, 1997, 2005). It is
difcult to identify the paleo-surface at the time when each Bk
horizon formed in the Shiohama Formation, because of the scarcity
of surcial root traces and relicts of ped structures, and because
bedding planes are obscured by pedogenesis.
There exists a strong correlation between the thickness of soil
bearing carbonate nodules and the mean annual range of precipi-
tation (Retallack, 2005). As mentioned above, the thickness of the
calcrete horizon in the Shiohama Formation is usually less than
20 cm; accordingly, the mean annual range of precipitation is
estimated to be less than about 30 mm. On this basis, it is inferred
that only minor seasonal change occurred in the amount of
precipitation at the time the Shiohama Formation was deposited.
However, wetdry cycles are essential for pedogenesis (Breecker
et al., 2009). High CO
2
concentrations during wet periods of the
year are responsible for carbonate dissolution and the mobilization
of Ca, whereas the reduced concentrations of CO
2
associated with
warm, dry periods are responsible for carbonate precipitation
(Breecker et al., 2009). It has also been noted that the paleoatmo-
spheric P
CO
2
was signicantly overestimated in previous studies
based on the d
13
C values of paleosol carbonate (Breecker et al.,
2009). Though the paleoatmospheric P
CO
2
in the Shiohama
Formation has been estimated to be about 17003200 ppmV, based
on the stable isotopic composition of calcretes (Lee and Hisada,
1999), this estimation also requires a downward revision.
Paleosols preservedinoodplaindeposits are commonlycomplex
due to spatial and temporal variations in deposition upon the
oodplain (Kraus and Aslan, 1993; Kraus, 1996; McCarthy et al.,
1997a,b). It is rare that an individual paleosol prole with a complete
ABC type horizon sequence is recognized in aggradational regimes
(McCarthy et al., 1998). After the formation of the complete ABC
type horizon sequence, subsequent erosion and sedimentation may
occur, meaning that the newparent material is superimposed on the
older paleosol, and subsequently modied by newpedogenesis. This
pattern of erosion, sedimentation, and soil development may result
in a compound-type prole (e.g., BCBC) or a complex-type prole
(e.g., BBBB) (Fig. 7; McCarthy et al., 1997b, 1998). Such compound
and complex proles have been reported from several alluvial
sections, and have been used to interpret past rates of sediment
transport, storage, and deposition (McCarthy et al., 1998; Daniels,
2003). Such proles are developed within an unstable aggradation
system subjected to the intermittent inux of sediments and occa-
sional erosion (McCarthy et al., 1998).
The oodplain paleosol prole in the Shiohama Formation
includes repeated Bk horizons, corresponding to a complex and/or
compound prole (Fig. 7). Parts of the oodplain deposit contain
short intervals of calcrete horizons, whereas other parts contain
long intervals marked by erosional surfaces, probably correspond-
ing to complex and compound proles, respectively. Thus, it is
interpreted that the oodplain of the Shiohama Formation devel-
oped within an unstable aggradation system (Fig. 7).
Table 3
Microstructure of calcretes
No. type dense microfabric oating detrital grains micronodule grain coating complex cracks
Sh01 I A C VR R C
Sh03 I A C VR VR A
Sh04 I A C C C C
Sh05 I A VR C R R
Sh15 I A VR d VR C
Sh16 I A VR d VR C
Sh31 I C d d d C
Sh41 I A C VR R A
Sh46 I C C d C C
Sh47 I A d VR VR VR
Sh48 I C C VR VR A
Sh52 I A A VR A C
Sh07 II C R VR VR C
Sh17 II C C d C C
Sh19 II R d C d d
Sh23 II A R C R C
Sh51 II R A VR A C
Sh53 II A A C A C
Sh62 II VR d VR VR R
Sh63 II d d d d C
Sh27 III R VR C VR C
Sh28 III R C R d C
Sh29 III C C d C C
Sh30 III R C C C d
Sh32 III C C C C VR
Sh34 III C A d VR VR
Sh39 III A C VR C C
Sh02 V A A VR R R
Sh06 V R C C VR VR
Sh20 VII A C VR R A
A: abundant, C: common, R: rare, VR: very rare, d: non-developed.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1319
Lee et al. (2003) reported a non-marine sedimentary sequence
with cyclic tuffpaleosol intervals in the Cretaceous Mifune Group,
southwest Japan. The sequence shows several cycles of paleosol
development and contains well-developed Bk and clay-rich Bt
horizons. The amount of sediment supplied during each cycle in the
Mifune Group was probably larger than that supplied in the Shio-
hama Formation, because in the Mifune Group paleosol formation
in each overlying cycle did not affect the underlying cycle, thus
resulting in the development of compound proles.
7. Pedogenesis in the Shiohama Formation
The 64 calcrete horizons analyzed in the present study were
categorized into seven types (Tables 1 and 2; Fig. 5). Types IVII
contain 18 (28%), 24 (38%), 12 (19%), 1 (2%), 3 (5%), 2 (3%), and 4 (6%)
Fig. 5. Microstructures of calcretes. A. Dense microfabric and complex cracks (Sh07).
B. Floating detrital grains and calcite grain coatings (Sh17). C. Micronodule (Sh03).
Scale bar is 1 mm long.
1 m
calcrete horizon
Sh41
Sh40
Sh14
Sh15
Sh16
Sh17
Sh18
Sh19
Sh20
Sh21
Sh22
Sh23
Sh24
Sh25
Sh26
Sh39
Sh38
Sh37
Sh36
Sh35
Sh34
Sh33
Sh32
Sh31
Sh30
Sh29
Sh28
Sh27
Conglomerate
Sandstone
Mudstone
Fig. 6. Example of a oodplain deposit with abundant calcrete horizons in the Lower
Member of the Shiohama Formation, southwest Japan.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1320
of the total horizons, respectively (Fig. 8); types IIII are therefore
the dominant types.
Gile et al. (1966, 1981) divided the process of carbonate accu-
mulationwithin non-gravelly material into four stages based on the
morphology of the carbonate horizon: I: few laments or faint
coatings, II: scarce to common nodules, III: many nodules and inter-
nodular llings, and IV: laminar horizon overlying a plugged
horizon. Most of the calcrete horizons in the Shiohama Formation
correspond to stage II or III (Table 4). Stage III develops fromstage II
via an increase in the number of nodules (Gile et al., 1966, 1981).
We propose two processes of carbonate accumulation in the
Shiohama Formation, based on the size and abundance of nodules
(Fig. 9): VIVIII(II)I and VI(V)IVIII. These processes repre-
sent the development of calcrete horizons from the early to late
stages of calcretization. Both processes lead to a progressive
increase in the number of nodules, although with contrasting
nodule sizes.
Retallack (2005) examined the relationship between nodule size
and radiocarbon age, nding that nodule size increases over time.
On this basis, it is expected that the size of nodules in the Shiohama
Formation increases from types V to IV and from types III to II.
However, it may be unlikely that small nodules form after large
nodules, as mixtures of large and small nodules are rarely observed
in the Shiohama Formation. It is probable that nodule size is
controlled by physical factors such as grain size, uniformity of
sorting, sedimentary structures, development of crumb structure,
and density of cracks made by roots and organisms, as water
behavior is important for carbonate precipitation.
The paleosols in the Shiohama Formation formed within
oodplain deposits in an alluvial fan or alluvial plain setting
(Horiuchi et al., 2008). The maturity of paleosols in alluvial fan
deposits reects factors such as the degree of channel entrench-
ment and climate (Wright and Alonso-Zarza, 1990). It is accepted
that calcrete development upon alluvial fan sediments reects
a marked decrease in detritus supply to a previously sedimenta-
tion-dominant part of the fan surface (Wright, 1992). The rela-
tionship between detritus supply and soil maturity is the basis of
the pedofacies concept proposed by Bown and Kraus (1987). A
pedofacies is a laterally contiguous body of sedimentary rock that
differs from adjacent units in terms of its laterally contiguous
paleosols, reecting differences in the distance to areas of relatively
high rates of sediment accumulation (Bown and Kraus, 1987). In the
case of a oodplain within an alluvial plain system, immature soils
occur on the alluvial ridge, whereas the most mature soils occur on
the distal oodplain (Bown and Kraus, 1987). This pedofacies
concept suggests that the interval between periods of sediment
supply to the oodplain controls the type of calcrete horizon. In the
Shiohama Formation, it is possible that type II and III calcrete
horizons occur in soils of similar maturity, given the similarity in
microstructure and timing of development. That is, the intervals
between periods of sediment supply to type I horizons are longer
than those between periods of sediment supply to type II and III
horizons.
Fig. 8 and Table 1 show the stratigraphic distributions of type I
V horizons in the Shiohama Formation. The formation can be
divided into ve units based on the dominant type of calcrete
horizon: Sh0105 (dominantly type I), Sh0639 (types II and III),
Sh4048 (type I), and Sh4953 (type II) in the Lower Member, and
Sh5464 (type II) in the Upper Member. The sequence of types I to II
and III horizons observed in the Lower Member represents
a repeating pattern in the frequency of sediment supply to the
oodplain over time.
B
B
B
B B B
A
A
C
C C
C C C
B
B
B
A
C
C
C
Sediments
B
B B B
B
B
A
A
C C C C
Sediments
Time
Time
soil
development
soil
development
Compound
B
A
C
B
B
B
B
Complex
soil
development
erosion +
sedimentation
Sediments
B
B
B
C
erosion +
sedimentation
A
soil
development
soil
development
erosion +
sedimentation
soil
development
Sediments
erosion +
sedimentation
B
B
B
A
C
C
C
Fig. 7. Generation processes of oodplain paleosol proles. Repetition of soil development and erosion sedimentation results in complex (upper) and compound (lower) proles.
The differences of these proles are dependent on amount of sediments. Complex process has less amount of sediments and the original erosional surfaces are modied by
subsequent pedogenesis, whereas compound one remains erosional surfaces. The proles of the Shiohama Formation are represented by both types of complex and compound
proles.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1321
The calcrete horizons in the Upper Member are dominantly type
II, possibly reecting the heterogeneous coarse-grained host
material. The number of calcrete horizons in the Lower and Upper
Members with diffuse to very diffuse distinctness from the host
sediment and moderate to faint contrast with the host sediments is
8 (15%) and 6 (55%), respectively (Table 1). In other words,
compared with the Lower Member, a higher proportion of the
calcretes in the Upper Member have diffuse and low-contrast
boundaries with the host sediment. This nding probably reects
the fact that calcium carbonates percolated and precipitated more
easily in the pores between grains in the Upper Member than in the
Lower Member. Calcretes generally formmuch more rapidly within
coarse-grained materials than in ner materials (Gile et al., 1966). It
is likely that the paleosol in the Upper Member is less mature than
Legends mudstone sandstone conglomerate
conglomeratic sandstone
conglomerate
mudstone dominated
sandstone dominated
Lower Member Upper Member
c
a
l
c
r
e
t
e

h
o
r
i
z
o
n
0
20 m
Maturity
high Low
Maturity
high Low
o
c
c
u
r
r
e
n
c
e

o
f

c
a
l
c
r
e
t
e
s
I
V
,

V
I
I
,

I
I
I
I
I
V
,

V
I
I
,

I
I
I
I
Type
occurrence of calcretes
I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
total
18
24
12
1
3
2
4
64
(28.1 %)
(37.5 %)
(18.8 %)
(1.6 %)
(4.7 %)
(3.1 %)
(6.3 %)
the number
of horizons
percentage
(approx.)
Fig. 8. Distribution of calcretes horizon types in the Lower and Upper Members, the Shiohama Formation, southwest Japan.
Y. Horiuchi et al. / Cretaceous Research 30 (2009) 13131324 1322
that in the Lower Member. Accordingly, it is concluded that sedi-
ment was supplied more frequently to the oodplain of the Upper
Member than to that of the Lower Member.
8. Conclusions
The paleosols in the Shiohama Formation are characterized by
abundant calcretes. It is inferred that deposition of the Shiohama
Formation was accompanied by minor seasonal changes in precip-
itation, as deducedfromthethicknesses of thecalcrete horizons. The
oodplain paleosol proles in the Shiohama Formation are
compound and complex types. Based on these proles, it is inferred
that the oodplain was part of an unstable aggradation system
subjectedtointermittent inuxes of sediments andperiodic erosion.
The size and abundance of nodules indicates two processes of
carbonate accumulationin the Shiohama Formation. The paleosol in
the Lower Member of the formation shows repeated patterns of
change in maturity, reecting repeated changes in the rate of sedi-
ment supply tothe oodplain. The paleosols inthe Upper Member of
the formation are less mature than those in the Lower Member, and
the rate of sediment supply to the oodplain of the Upper Member
was higher than that to the oodplain of the Lower Member.
Acknowledgements
The rst author (Y.H.) is grateful to Prof. Kenshiro Ogasawara
and Dr. Isao Motoyama of the University of Tsukuba for their
valuable suggestions, to Dr. Tatsuo Hamano (University of
Tokushima) and Dr. Hoi Jeong Yang (Gwacheon National Science
Museum, Korea) for assistance in the eld, and to Mr. Yong Woo Lee
for providing helpful advice during laboratory work. We thank
Dr. Hidetoshi Hara and Dr. Koichi Okuzawa for correcting an early
version of the manuscript. Y.I. Lee was supported by a grant from
KOSEF (R01-2008-000-20056-0).
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