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During the late Palaeozoic Era, a series of related marine strata dominated by multi-layer limestones were deposited in the southern North China Craton. In order to gain new insights into the systematic geochemistry of the carbonate succession of the representative formation (Taiyuan Formation), we examined 59 limestone samples collected from the Huaibei Coal Basin (HCB), with a view towards quantitatively determining the major and trace elements and stable isotope compositions. The data obtained can provide essential evidence for reconstruction of the depositional palaeo-environment and tectonic setting of the Taiyuan Formation. Both X-ray diffraction analyses and palaeoredox proxies (e.g. V/Cr, V/(V + Ni) and authigenic U) indicated that the limestone layers were deposited in an oxic–dysoxic zone, with calcite as the main component. Moreover, palaeomagnetic evidence provided support for the conclusion that these limestones were laid down within an epicontinental sea depositional environment under a warm or hot palaeoclimate during the transition between late Carboniferous and early Permian time. Additionally, evidence obtained from our analyses of trace and rare earth elements revealed that the tectonic setting of the Taiyuan Formation (L1–L5) in the HCB transited from an open ocean to a passive continental margin, thereby indicating that this transformation stemmed from the subduction closure of the northeastern Palaeotethys Ocean. The findings of this study would be of interest to those working on the upper Palaeozoic marine strata in the southern North China Craton.
In order to clarify fine structures of the hypothetical meridian conduits of Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) in the skin, the present study used light and transmission electron microscopy to examine fasciae in different vertebrate species. Collagen fiber bundles and layers were arranged in a crisscross pattern, which developed into a special tissue micro-channel (TMC) network, in a manner that was analogs to the proposed skin meridian conduits. It was further revealed that tissue fluid in lateral TMC branches drained into wide longitudinal channels, which were distinctly different from lymphatic capillary. Mast cells, macrophages, and extracellular vesicles such as ectosomes and exosomes were distributed around telocytes (TCs) and their long processes (Telopodes, Tps) within the TMC. Cell junctions between TCs developed, which could enable the communication between contiguous but distant Tps. On the other hand, winding free Tps without cell junctions were also uncovered inside the TMC. Tissue fluid, cell junctions of TCs, mast cells, macrophages, and extracellular vesicles within the TMC corresponded to the circulating “气血” (“Qi-Xue”, i.e., information, message, and energy) of meridian conduits at the cytological level. These results could provide morphological evidence for the hypothesis that “meridians are the conduit for Qi-Xue circulation” in CTM.
The discovery of the ancient city of Loulan in Xinjiang, China, at the beginning of the 20th century was of great significance for understanding the evolution of culture and civilization in Inner Asia. However, due to the lack of systematic chronological studies, the history of this ancient city remains unclear, particularly the date of its construction and abandonment. Here, we present the results of the first systematic radiocarbon (14C) dating carried out on artifacts from ancient Loulan. Our results show that human activity began as early as 350 cal BC, flourished during the interval from the 1st to 4th centuries AD, and completely disappeared around 600 AD. Most of the buildings in the city were constructed during the Eastern Han Dynasty rather than in Wei/Jin Dynasty, as previously indicated by excavated documents and letters (Hedin 1898; Xiao 2006). The development and flourishing of Loulan coincided with the interval of high ice accumulation and meltwater supply from surrounding mountains. The city began to decline and was finally abandoned following an abrupt decrease in ice accumulation and meltwater supply (Yao et al. 1996; Lauterbach et al. 2014), suggesting that natural climate change was the major factor responsible for the abandonment of Loulan.
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