Journal Article Middle to late-Holocene decreased fluvial aggradation and widespread peat initiation in the Ishikari lowland (northern Japan)

Ishii, Yuji  ,  Hori, Kazuaki  ,  Momohara, Arata  ,  Nakanishi, Toshimichi  ,  Hong, Wan

26 ( 12 )  , pp.1924 - 1938 , 2016-12 , SAGE Publications
This study investigated the influence of sea-level and climate changes on the decreased fluvial aggradation and subsequent widespread peat initiation in the middle to late-Holocene in the Ishikari lowland, which is a coastal floodplain formed in response to the postglacial sea-level change. By introducing a new approach to separately evaluate the rates of organic and clastic sediment input, we demonstrated that the peat began to form when the fluvial sedimentation rate was significantly decreased (less than 0.6 mm/yr), while plant macrofossil analysis suggested that lowering of water level is also important to the peat initiation. Such changes in sedimentary environment may be associated with the abrupt abandonment of crevasse splays. The concentrated ages of the peat initiation around 5600–5000, 4600–4300, and 4100–3600 cal. BP suggest that an allogenic control promoted the abandonment of crevasse splays, and different onset ages can be explained by different fluvial responses of the Ishikari River and its tributaries. The abandonment of crevasse splays could result from sea-level fall or decreased precipitation. While submillennial sea-level fluctuations coincident with the peat initiation have not been reported in coastal lowlands of Japan, the close comparison of the onset ages and decreased precipitation recorded in a stalagmite from China, which represents the strength of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM), suggests that decrease in precipitation led to the abandonment of crevasse splays. Our results may indicate that similar fluvial responses might be common in other coastal floodplains affected by the EASM.

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