Hydrothermal activity is common in the fishing port of Nagahama Bay, a small semi-enclosed bay located on the southwest coast of Satsuma Iwo-Jima Island (38. km south of Kyushu Island, Japan). The bay contains red-brown iron oxyhydroxides and thick deposits of sediment. In this work, the high concentration and sedimentation rates of oxyhydroxide in this bay were studied and the sedimentary history was reconstructed. Since dredging work in 1998, a thickness of ~. 1.0-1.5. m of iron oxyhydroxide-rich sediments has accumulated on the floor of the bay. To estimate the volume of iron oxyhydroxide sediments and the amount discharged from hydrothermal vents, sediment traps were operated for several years and 13 sedimentary core samples were collected to reconstruct the 10-year sedimentary history of Nagahama Bay. To confirm the timing of sedimentary events, the core data were compared with meteorological records obtained on the island, and the ages of characteristic key beds were thus identified. The sedimentation rate of iron oxyhydroxide mud was calculated, after correcting for sediment input from other sources.The sediments in the 13 cores from Nagahama Bay consist mainly of iron oxyhydroxide mud, three thick tephra beds, and a topmost thick sandy mud bed. Heavy rainfall events in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004-2005 coincide with tephra beds, which were reworked from Iwo-Dake ash deposits to form tephra-rich sediment. Strong typhoon events with gigantic waves transported outer-ocean-floor sediments and supplied quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, and albite sands to Nagahama Bay. These materials were redeposited together with bay sediments as the sandy mud bed.Based on the results from the sediment traps and cores, it is estimated that the iron oxyhydroxide mud accumulated in the bay at the relatively rapid rate of 33.3cm/year (from traps) and 2.8-4.9cm/year (from cores). The pore water contents within the sediment trap and core sediments are 73%-82% and 47%-67%, respectively. The estimated production of iron oxyhydroxide for the whole fishing port from trap cores is 142.7-253.3t/year/5000m2. From sediment cores, however, the accumulation of iron oxyhydroxide sediments on the sea floor is 39-95t/year/5000m2. This finding indicates that the remaining 63%-73% of iron was transported out to sea from Nagahama Bay. Even with a high rate of iron oxyhydroxide production, the sedimentation rate of iron oxyhydroxides in the bay is considerably higher than that observed in modern deep-ocean sediments. This example of rapid and abundant oxyhydroxide sedimentation might provide a modern analog for the formation of iron deposits in the geological record, such as ironstones and banded iron formations.
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