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Precisely constrained 134-ka strong monsoon event in the penultimate deglaciation by an annually laminated speleothem from the Asian monsoon domain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2023

Jiahui Cui
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Jingyao Zhao*
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Xiyu Dong
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Carlos Pérez-Mejías
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Jing Lu
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Ye Tian
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Jian Wang
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Liangkang Pan
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Haiwei Zhang
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
Hai Cheng
Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710061, China Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Xi'an, China
*Corresponding author: Jingyao Zhao; Email: <>


The penultimate deglaciation was characterized by a sub-millennial-scale warm event in the Heinrich Stadial 11(HS11), termed the 134-ka event. However, its precise timing and structure remain poorly constrained due to the lack of high-resolution and precisely dated records. We present an oxygen isotope record of a speleothem with well-developed annual lamina from Zhangjia Cave, located on the north margin of the Sichuan Basin, characterizing Asian summer monsoon (ASM) changes in the 134-ka event, which included an increase excursion of ca. 149 years and decrease excursion of ca. 200 years, inferred from 3.3‰ δ18O variations. This event also divided the weak ASM interval-II (WMI-II), corresponding to HS11, into two stages, the WMI-IIa 132.8–134.1 ka and WMI-IIb 134.4–136.4 ka. With a comparable climatic pattern globally, the 134-ka event is essentially similar to the millennial-scale events in last glacial–deglacial period. Particularly, the observed weak-strong-weak ASM sequence (138.8–132.8 ka) is largely controlled by changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) forced by the meltwater of northern high-latitude ice sheets. Moreover, our results underpin that AMOC, rather than the global ice volume, is more critical to ASM variations during the last two deglaciations.

Thematic Set: Speleothem Paleoclimate
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of University of Washington

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