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Interaction of fluvial and eolian sedimentation processes, and response to climate change since the last glacial in a semiarid environment along the Yellow River

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 May 2018

Xianyan Wang*
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Junfei Ma
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Shuangwen Yi
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Jef Vandenberghe*
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China Institute of Earth Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Yan Dai
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Huayu Lu
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
*Corresponding authors at: School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China (X. Wang); Institute of Earth Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (J. Vandenberghe). E-mail addresses: (X. Wang); (J. Vandenberghe).
*Corresponding authors at: School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China (X. Wang); Institute of Earth Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (J. Vandenberghe). E-mail addresses: (X. Wang); (J. Vandenberghe).


Interactions of fluvial and eolian processes are prominent in dryland environments and can significantly change Earth surface morphology. Here, we report on sediment records of eolian and fluvial interactions since the last glacial period, in the semiarid area of northwest China, at the limit of the Southeast Asian monsoon. Sediment sequences of last glacial and Holocene terraces of the Yellow River are composed of channel gravels, overlain by flood sands, eolian dunes, and flood loams. These sequences, dated by optically stimulated luminescence, record interlinks between fluvial and eolian processes and their response to climate change. Sedimentologic structures and grain-size analysis show flood loams, consisting of windblown sediment, deposited from floodwater suspended sediment. The gravel and sand were deposited during cold periods. During transitions from cold to warm phases, the river incised, and dunes were formed by deflation of channel and floodplain deposits (>70 and 21–16 ka). Dunes also formed at ~0.8 ka, probably after human intervention. After dune formation, flood loam covered dunes without erosion during peak discharges at the beginning of the subsequent warm period. The fluctuations of the Southeast Asian monsoon as a moisture-transporting agent have perhaps been the driving force for interactions between fluvial and eolian processes in this semiarid environment.

Thematic Set: Fluvial Archives Group (FLAG) Poland
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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