MUROTO GEOPARK (Japan)

© Muroto Geopark

 

Muroto Geopark is located in the southwestern part of the Japanese archipelago, on Shikoku Island. It includes all of Muroto City, Kochi Prefecture.

Conservation, Education & Tourism

“Muro” means “a residential cave in a mountain slope,” and “to” means “entrance of the house,” or “door.” In ancient times, Muroto was submerged under the sea. The caves formed underwater and were later uplifted by successive earthquakes. At the Nankai Trough, 140 km off Cape Muroto, the Philippine Sea Plate is subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate. The sediments of the Nankai Trough are uplifting on the land to form a mass of built-up sedimentary rock, called an accretionary complex, part of which is exposed on Cape Muroto for visitors to see and touch. Cape Muroto is being uplifted by 1 to 2 m per 100 years, which is among the world’s fastest upheaval rates. Lofty terraces have developed near the coastline, with terrace plains on top at 180 m above present sea level. Visitors can also see the evidence of events on a human timescale, including minor landforms resulting from earthquake uplifts at roughly 100 year intervals, and the remains of submarine organisms pushed up above sea level.

Muroto Geopark is conserved as a Quasi-national Park and widely used for education and research activities. In Muroto Geopark, visiting tourists and students can understand the land formation process from a scenic road and lookout points on the terrace slopes. Besides the obvious natural phenomena, the Geopark helps to demonstrate the danger of large earthquakes and tsunamis and shows the methods of prediction and protection using state-of-the-art science and technology.

Marine terraces in the Muroto Peninsula, included in university and high school textbooks, can be considered as the best example of marine terraces in Japan.


The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States

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