Skip to main content Accessibility help

Sources and origins of eolian dust to the Philippine Sea determined by major minerals and elemental geochemistry

  • Wei Wang (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Zhaokai Xu (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Tiegang Li (a2) (a5) (a6), Shiming Wan (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Mingjiang Cai (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Hongjin Chen (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Rongtao Sun (a7) and Dhongil Lim (a8)...


We investigated the microscopic mineral characteristics of modern eolian dust particulates and the trace-element compositions of the siliciclastic fractions of these samples, collected from the Philippine Sea in 2014 and 2015, and conducted an air mass backwards trajectory analysis of dust particulates in the spring and winter of 2015, to better constrain the provenances and transport dynamics of dust delivered to this region. The microscopic minerals show obvious signatures of dust deposition and physical abrasion, indicating long-distance wind transport from the Asian deserts. The trace-element compositions (Zr–Th–Sc) display a binary mixture of eolian materials derived from the eastern Asian deserts and the central Asian deserts, which is similar to the result of the Sr–Nd isotopic compositions of modern sediment trap sediments collected on the Benham Rise in 2015. We demonstrate that modern dust sediments in the Philippine Sea primarily originate from the Ordos Desert (generally > 80%), while the contributions of the Taklimakan Desert and the Badain Jaran Desert are small. Eolian dust particulates raised from source regions are predominantly transported to the Philippine Sea by the East Asian winter monsoon, but not by the westerlies. In addition, our results indicate that increased precipitation in the source regions can result in relatively low dust fluxes in the Philippine Sea, and there is a period of 6–7 days for eolian dust originating from source areas to be delivered to the Philippine Sea.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Zhaokai Xu and Dhongil Lim, Emails: and


Hide All
Andronache, C (2003) Estimated variability of below-cloud aerosol removal by rainfall for observed aerosol size distributions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 3, 131–43, doi:10.5194/acp-3-131-2003
Bagtasa, G, Cayetano, MG and Yuan, CS (2018) Seasonal variation and chemical characterization of PM2.5 in northwestern Philippines. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 18, 4965–80, doi:10.5194/acp-18-4965-2018
Bhatia, MR and Crook, KAW (1986) Trace element characteristics of greywackes and tectonic setting discrimination of sedimentary basins. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 92, 181–93, doi:10.1007/bf00375292
Chamley, H (1989) Clay Sedimentology. Berlin: Springer, 163–70 pp.
Chen, J and Li, GJ (2011) Geochemical studies on the source region of Asian dust. Science China Earth Sciences 54, 1279–301, doi:10.1007/s11430-011-4269-z
Chen, J, Li, GJ, Yang, JD, Rao, WB, Lu, HY, Balsam, W, Sun, YB and Ji, JF (2007) Nd and Sr isotopic characteristics of Chinese deserts: Implications for the provenances of Asian dust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71, 3904–14, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2007.04.033
Defant, MJ, Maury, RC, Joron, JL, Feigenson, MD, Leterrier, J, Bellon, H, Jacques, D and Richard, M (1990) The geochemistry and tectonic setting of the Luzon Arc (the Phillipines and Taiwan). Tectonophysics 183, 187205, doi:10.1016/0040-1951(90)90416-6
Ding, ZL, Sun, JM, Yang, SL and Liu, TS (2001) Geochemistry of the Pliocene red clay formation in the Chinese Loess Plateau and implications for its origin, source provenance and paleoclimate change. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 65, 901–13, doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(00)00571-8
Doornkamp, JC and Krinsley, D (1971) Electron microscopy applied to quartz grains from a tropical environment. Sedimentology 17, 89101.
Draxler, RR and Hess, GD (1998). An overview of the Hysplit-4 modeling system for trajectories. Australian Meteorological Magazine 47, 295308.
Falkovich, AH, Ganor, E, Levin, Z, Formenti, P and Rudich, Y (2001) Chemical and mineralogical analysis of individual mineral dust particles. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 106, 18029–36, doi:10.1029/2000jd900430
Grousset, FE and Biscaye, PE (2005) Tracing dust sources and transport patterns using Sr, Nd and Pb isotopes. Chemical Geology 222(3–4), 149–67, doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2005.05.006
Hao, QZ, Guo, ZT, Qiao, YS, Xu, B and Oldfield, F (2010) Geochemical evidence for the provenance of middle Pleistocene loess deposits in southern China. Quaternary Science Reviews 29, 3317–26, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.004
Honda, M, Yabuki, S and Shimizu, H (2004) Geochemical and isotopic studies of aeolian sediments in China. Sedimentology 51, 211–30, doi:10.1111/j.1365-3091.2004.00618.x
Hsu, SC, Wong, GTF, Gong, GC, Shiah, FK, Huang, YT, Kao, SJ, Tsai, FJ, Candice, LSC, Lin, FJ, Lin, II, Hung, CC and Tseng, CM (2008) Sources, solubility, and dry deposition of aerosol trace elements over the East China Sea. Marine Chemistry 120, 116–27, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2008.10.003
Hu, FG and Yang, XP (2016) Geochemical and geomorphological evidence for the provenance of aeolian deposits in the Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China. Quaternary Science Reviews 131, 179–92, doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.10.039
Jiang, FQ, Frank, M, Li, TG, Chen, TY, Xu, ZK and Li, AC (2013) Asian dust input in the western Philippine Sea: Evidence from radiogenic Sr and Nd isotopes. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 14, 1538–51, doi:10.1002/ggge.20116
Jiang, FQ, Zhou, Y, Nan, QY, Zhou, Y, Zheng, XF, Li, TG, Li, AC and Wang, HH (2016) Contribution of Asian dust and volcanic material to the western Philippine Sea over the last 220 kyr as inferred from grain size and Sr-Nd isotopes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 121, 6911–28, doi:10.1002/2016jc012000
Jiang, FQ, Zhu, X, Li, TG, Zhou, Y, Xiong, ZF, Feng, XG, Yin, XB and Li, AC (2019) Increased dust deposition in the Parece Vela Basin since the mid- Pleistocene inferred from radiogenic Sr and Nd isotopes. Global and Planetary Change 173, 8395, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.12.011
Jickells, TD, An, ZS, Andersen, KK, Baker, AR, Bergametti, G, Brooks, N, Cao, JJ, Boyd, PW, Duce, RA, Hunter, KA, Kawahata, H, Kubilay, N, laRoche, J, Liss, PS, Mahowald, N, Prospero, JM, Ridgwell, AJ, Tegen, I and Torres, R (2005) Global iron connections between desert dust, Ocean biogeochemistry, and climate. Science 308, 6771, doi:10.1126/science.1105959
Kolla, V, Nadler, L and Bonatti, E (1980) Clay mineral distribution in surface sediments of the Philippine Sea. Oceanologica Acta 3, 245–50.
Li, JC and Dong, ZB (2010) Research progress and prospect of dustfall research (in Chinese). Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment 24, 102–9, doi:10.13448/j.cnki.jal re.2010.02.013
Li, T, Masuzawa, T and Kitagawa, H (2004) Seasonal variations in settling fluxes of major components in the oligotrophic Shikoku Basin, the western North Pacific: Coincidence of high biogenic flux with Asian dust supply in spring. Marine Chemistry 91, 187210, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2004.06010
Liu, ZF, Zhao, YL, Colin, C, Siringan, FP and Wu, Q (2009) Chemical weathering in Luzon, Philippines from clay mineralogy and major-element geochemistry of river sediments. Applied Geochemistry 24, 2195–205, doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2009.09.025
Maher, BA, Prospero, JM, Mackie, D, Gaiero, D, Hesse, PP and Balkanski, Y (2010) Global connections between aeolian dust, climate and ocean biogeochemistry at the present day and at the Last Glacial Maximum. Earth-Science Reviews 99, 6197, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2009.12.001
Mahoney, JB (2005) Nd and Sr isotopic signatures of fine-grained clastic sediments: A case study of western Pacific marginal basins. Sedimentary Geology 182, 183–99, doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2005.07.009
Marshall, JR, Bull, PA and Morgan, RM (2012) Energy regimes for aeolian sand grain surface textures. Sedimentary Geology 253−54, 1724. doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.01.001
Martin, JH (1990) Glacial‐interglacial CO2 change: The Iron Hypothesis. Paleoceanography 5, 113.
McLennan, SM, Hemming, S, McDaniel, DK and Hanson, GN (1993) Geochemical approaches to sedimentation, provenance, and tectonics. In Processes Controlling the Composition of Clastic Sediments (eds Johnsson, MJ and Basu, A), pp 2140. Geological Society of America, Boulder.
McManus, J, Berelson, WM, Klinkhammer, GP, Johnson, KS, Coale, KH, Anderson, RF, Kumar, N, Burdige, DJ, Hammond, DE and Brumsack, HJ (1998) Geochemistry of Barium in marine sediments: Implications for its use as a paleoproxy. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 62, 3453–73.
Ming, J, Li, AC, Huang, J, Wan, SM, Meng, QY, Jiang, FQ and Yan, WW (2014) Assemblage characteristics of clay minerals and its implications to evolution of eolian dust input to the Parece Vela Basin since 1.95 Ma. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology 32, 174–86, doi:10.1007/s00343-014-3066-x
Muhs, DR, Budahn, JR, Johnson, DL, Reheis, M, Beann, J, Skipp, G, Fisher, E and Jones, JA (2008) Geochemical evidence for airborne dust additions to soils in Channel Islands National Park, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin 120, 106–26, doi:10.1130/b26218.1
Patterson, DB, Farley, KA and Norman, MD (1999) 4He as a tracer of continental dust: A 1.9 million year record of aeolian flux to the west equatorial Pacific Ocean. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 63, 615–25, doi:10.1016/S0016-7037(99)00077-0
Porter, SC and An, ZS (1995) Correlation between climate events in the North Atlantic and China during the last glaciation. Nature 375, 305–8, doi:10.1038/375305a0
Qiao, YS, Hao, QZ, Peng, SS, Wang, Y, Li, JW and Liu, ZX (2011) Geochemical characteristics of the eolian deposits in southern China, and their implications for provenance and weathering intensity. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 308, 513–23, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.06.003
Qin, YS, Chen, LR and Shi, XF (1995) Eolian deposition in the West Philippine Sea (in Chinese). Chinese Science Bulletin 40, 1595–7.
Rao, WB, Tan, HB, Jiang, SY and Chen, JS (2011) Trace element and REE geochemistry of fine- and coarse-grained sands in the Ordos Deserts and links with sediments in surrounding areas. Chemie Der Erde-Geochemistry 71, 155–70, doi:10.1016/j.chemer.2011.02.003
Rea, DK (1994) The paleoclimatic record provided by eolian deposition in the deep sea: The geologic history of wind. Reviews of Geophysics 32, 159–95, doi:10.1029/93rg03257
Rea, DK and Janecek, TR (1981) Mass-accumulation rates of the non-authigenic inorganic crystalline (eolian) component of deep-sea sediments from the western Mid-Pacific Mountains, Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 463. Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project 62, 653–59, doi:10.2973/dsdp.proc.62.125.1981
Rea, DK and Leinen, M (1988) Asian aridity and the zonal westerlies: Late Pleistocene and Holocene record of eolian deposition in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology 66, 18, doi:10.1016/0031-0182(88)90076-4
Seo, I, Lee, YI, Yoo, CM, Kim, HJ and Hyeong, K (2014) Sr‐Nd isotope composition and clay mineral assemblages in eolian dust from the central Philippine Sea over the last 600 kyr: Implications for the transport mechanism of Asian dust. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 119, 11492–504.
Shao, YP, Wyrwoll, K-H, Chappell, A, Huang, JP, Lin, ZH, McTainsh, GH, Mikami, M, Tanaka, TY, Wang, XL and Yoon, SC (2011) Dust cycle: An emerging core theme in Earth system science. Aeolian Research 2, 181204, doi:10.1016/j.aeolia.2011.02.001
Shi, XF, Chen, LR, Li, KY and Wang, ZL (1995) Study on minerageny of the clay sediment in the west of Philippine Sea (in Chinese with English abstract). Marine Geology & Quaternary Geology 15, 6172, doi:10.16562/j.cnki.0256-1492.1995.02.007
Shi, ZG and Liu, XD (2011) Distinguishing the provenance of fine-grained eolian dust over the Chinese Loess Plateau from a modelling perspective. Tellus Series B-Chemical and Physical Meteorology 63, 959–70, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0889.2011.00561.x
Sun, DH (2004) Monsoon and westerly circulation changes recorded in the late Cenozoic aeolian sequences of Northern China. Global and Planetary Change 41, 6380, doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2003.11.001
Sun, JM (2002) Provenance of loess material and formation of loess deposits on the Chinese Loess Plateau. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 203, 845–59, doi:10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00921-4
Sun, YB and An, ZS (2005) Late Pliocene-Pleistocene changes in mass accumulation rates of eolian deposits on the central Chinese Loess Plateau. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres 110, doi:10.1029/2005jd006064
Taylor, SR and McLennan, SM 1985. The Continental Crust: Its Composition and Evolution, An Examination of the Geochemical Record Preserved in Sedimentary Rocks. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publishing.
Vos, K, Vandenberghe, N and Elsen, J (2014) Surface textural analysis of quartz grains by scanning electron microscopy (SEM): From sample preparation to environmental interpretation. Earth-Science Reviews 128, 93104, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.10.013
Wan, SM, Yu, ZJ, Clift, PD, Sun, HJ, Li, AC and Li, TG (2012) History of Asian eolian input to the West Philippine Sea over the last one million years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 326-328 (Supplement C), 152–9, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.02.015
Wang, XM, Dong, ZB, Yan, P, Yang, ZT and Hu, ZX (2005) Surface sample collection and dust source analysis in northwestern China. CATENA 59, 3553, doi:10.1016/j.catena.2004.05.009
Xiong, ZF, Li, TG, Algeo, T, Doering, K, Frank, M, Brzezinski, MA, Chang, FM, Opfergelt, S, Crosta, X, Jiang, FQ, Wan, SM and Zhai, B (2015) The silicon isotope composition of Ethmodiscus rex laminated diatom mats from the tropical West Pacific: Implications for silicate cycling during the Last Glacial Maximum. Paleoceanography 30, 803–23, doi:10.1002/2015pa002793
Xu, ZK, Li, TG, Clift, PD, Lim, D, Wan, SM, Chen, HJ, Tang, Z, Jiang, FQ and Xiong, ZF (2015) Quantitative estimates of Asian dust input to the western Philippine Sea in the mid-late Quaternary and its potential significance for paleoenvironment. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems 16, 3182–96, doi:10.1002/2015gc005929
Xu, ZK, Li, TG, Colin, C, Clift, PD, Sun, RT, Yu, ZJ, Wan, SM and Lim, D (2018) Seasonal variations in the siliciclastic fluxes to the western Philippine Sea and their impacts on seawater ϵNd values inferred from 1 year of in situ observations above Benham Rise. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 123, 6688–702, doi:10.1029/2018JC014274
Xu, ZK, Li, TG, Wan, SM, Yin, XB, Jiang, FQ, Sun, HJ, Choi, JY and Lim, D (2014) Geochemistry of rare earth elements in the mid-late Quaternary sediments of the western Philippine Sea and their paleoenvironmental significance. Science China Earth Sciences 57, 802–12, doi:10.1007/s11430-013-4786-z
Yang, XP, Zhu, BQ and White, PD (2007) Provenance of aeolian sediment in the Taklimakan Desert of western China, inferred from REE and major-elemental data. Quaternary International 175, 7185, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2007.03.005
Yu, ZJ, Wan, SM, Colin, C, Yan, H, Bonneau, L, Liu, ZF, Song, LN, Sun, HJ, Xu, ZK, Jiang, XJ, Li, AC and Li, TG (2016) Co-evolution of monsoonal precipitation in East Asia and the tropical Pacific ENSO system since 2.36 Ma: New insights from high-resolution clay mineral records in the West Philippine Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 446, 4555, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.04.022
Zhang, GH, Tan, JG, Zheng, YF, Wei, HP and Yin, J (2006) Relationships between monthly amount of dustfall and meterological factors in Shanghai (in Chinese with English abstract). Scientia Meteorologlca Sinica 26, 328–33.
Zhao, WC, Sun, YB, Balsam, W, Lu, HY, Liu, LW, Chen, J and Ji, JF (2014) Hf-Nd isotopic variability in mineral dust from Chinese and Mongolian deserts: Implications for sources and dispersal. Scientific Reports 4, 5837, doi:10.1038/srep05837


Sources and origins of eolian dust to the Philippine Sea determined by major minerals and elemental geochemistry

  • Wei Wang (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Zhaokai Xu (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Tiegang Li (a2) (a5) (a6), Shiming Wan (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Mingjiang Cai (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Hongjin Chen (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4) (a5), Rongtao Sun (a7) and Dhongil Lim (a8)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed