Review of Japanese Taiga project 2, Okinawa Trough

The Okinawa Trough is a back-arc basin behind the Ryukyu trench-arc system and located along the eastern margin of the Eurasian continent. Based on geophysical and geological studies, the Okinawa Trough is considered a back-arc basin in the rifting stage. Such a tectonic setting is characterized by development of normal faulting in brittle continental crust and frequent intrusion of a magma, which can be expected to provide favorable environment for development of a hydrothermal system. Sulfide and sulfate mineralization associated with hydrothermal activity has been recognized in 10 hydrothermal fields in the Okinawa Trough. Hydrothermal mineralization recognized in these fields is commonly represented by coexisting occurrence of zinc- and lead-enriched polymetallic sulfides and abundant sulfate minerals. The mineralogy and geochemical signatures present has led researchers to suggest these areas may be a modern analogue for the formation of ancient Kuroko-type volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits. Recent seafloor drilling during IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) Expedition 331 documented the subseafloor hydrothermal system at the Iheya North Knoll. Mineral textures and hydrothermal assemblages present in the drilled cores obtained from a hydrothermal mound in the proximal area are consistent with Kuroko-type mineralization.