The Nankai accretionary complex is the most recent addition to the accretionary complexes of southwest Japan and has preserved a record of sediment flux to the trench during its construction. In this study, we use U-Pb zircon and fission track analysis of both zircons and apatites from sediments taken from the forearc and trench of the Nankai Trough, as well as rivers from southwest Japan to examine the exhumation history of the margin since the Middle Miocene. Modern rivers show a flux dominated by erosion of the Mesozoic-Eocene Shimanto and Sanbagawa accretionary complexes. Only the Fuji River, draining the collision zone between the Izu and Honshu arcs, is unique in showing much faster exhumation. Sediment from the Izu-Honshu collision is not found 350–500 km along the margin offshore Kyushu indicating limited along-strike sediment transport. Sediment deposited since 2 Ma on the midtrench slope offshore the Muroto Peninsula of Shikoku (ODP Site 1176) and on the lower slope trenchward of the Kumano Basin (IODP Sites C0006E and C00007E) shares the dominant source in the Shimanto and Sanbagawa complexes seen in the modern rivers. Prior to 5 Ma, additional sediment was being sourced from further north in more slowly exhumed terrains, ~350 km from the trench axis. Around 9.4 Ma, U-Pb zircon ages of ~1800 Ma indicate enhanced erosion from the North China Craton, exposed in northern Honshu. In the middle Miocene, at ~15.4 Ma, the sediment was being derived from a much wider area including the Yangtze Craton (U-Pb ages ~800 Ma). We suggest that this enhanced catchment may have reflected the influence of the Yangtze River in supplying into the Shikoku Basin prior to rifting of the Okinawa Trough at 10 Ma and migration of the Palau-Kyushu Ridge to form a barrier to transport. The restriction of Nankai Trough provenance to Mesozoic source partly reflects continued uplift of the Shimanto and Sanbagawa complexes since the Middle Miocene.
- accretionary complex
- Nankai Trough