About The unzen Volcanic Area geopark

What is Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark?

Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark is located in the southern region of Kyushu’s Nagasaki Prefecture on the western end of Japan. The Geopark is limited by the administrative district of the three cities (Shimabara, Unzen and Minamishimabara), almost the same area as the Shimabara Peninsula. The area is located approximately 900km, or four hours by air and bus, from Tokyo, and approximately 100km, or three hours by car, from Kyushu’s largest city, Fukuoka.
■Earth Sciences of the  Shimabara Peninsula
Before the Unzen Volcano developed, the Shimabara Peninsula area was shallow sea. The strata deposited in this shallow sea is know as the “Kuchinotsu Group”. Visitors can view them in the south of the peninsula. While the “Kuchinotsu Group” was forming, volcanic activities were also occurred in situ. Now a gentle slope remains in the southern area formed by these eruptions,e.g. mainly low-viscous basaltic lava flows. Unzen volcano is located in the center of the peninsula and many lava domes have been formed by viscous dacite magma.
■Human History
Shimabara Peninsula is known for a number archaeological sites, such as Unzen City’s Hyakkadai remains from the Paleolithic Age, and Shimabara City’s Onobaru and Obarushimo remains, and Minamishimabara City’s Harayama and Gongenwaki remains from the Jomon Period (10,000 BC – 400 BC). In particular, remains from the latter part of the Jomon period, such as Yamanotera remains and Gongenwaki remains of Minamishimabara City, clearly point to an advanced cultural life, suggesting the emergence of rice farming before the Yayoi period (400 BC – 300AD).
■Tectonics around Shimabara Peninsula
The narrow region extending from near Beppu City to Shimabara Peninsula is characterized by abundant normal and strike slip faults roughly extending EW to NE-SW. This region in known as the Beppu-Shimabara Graben. Unzen is a volcano that has developed within one of these active basins (Unzen Graben).
■Features of the Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark
5 features of Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark are as follows:
Master plan of the Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark (pdf)
Action plan of the Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark(pdf)
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