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Link between black carbon, fires, climate change, and human activity during the Holocene period shown in the loess-paleosol sequence from Henan, China

  • Yan Mu (a1), Xiaoguang Qin (a1), Lei Zhang (a1) (a2) and Bing Xu (a1)


Henan was the site of development for several ancient cultures during the Holocene. In this study, black carbon (BC) in the Holocene sediment is compared with known climatic changes and cultural events to provide information concerning the link between fire, climatic changes, and human activity in Xiangcheng. Prior to 8000 cal yr BP, the occurrence of fires was low under cold and dry climatic conditions. The BC content in 8000–1000calyrBP indicates a gradual increase in fire, with two peak values at 7500calyrBP and 3500 cal yr BP. The first peak correlates to the development of the Peiligang culture, and the second peak correlates to the development of wet and warm climate conditions along with the appearance of the Xia–Shang dynasties. Increases in fire activity could therefore be attributed to climate change and the development of human civilization in the region. Another sharp increase in fires around 1000calyrBP was consistent with a sharp increase in population during the Tang dynasty.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China. E-mail address: (Y. Mu).


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Link between black carbon, fires, climate change, and human activity during the Holocene period shown in the loess-paleosol sequence from Henan, China

  • Yan Mu (a1), Xiaoguang Qin (a1), Lei Zhang (a1) (a2) and Bing Xu (a1)


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