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Palaeoclimatic changes in northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau revealed by magnetostratigraphy and magnetic susceptibility analysis of thick loess deposits

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2014

H.Y. Lu*
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Xianyan Wang
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Xiaoyong Wang
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
X.F. Sun
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
S.W. Yi
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Y.L. Zhou
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China College of Tourism and Environment, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China
Q.Y. Liu
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China Department of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Ankang College, Ankang 725000, China
J. Swinehart
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China School of Natural Resources, IANR, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
J. Vandenberghe
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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Reconstruction of a complete Quaternary record of climatic changes in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is not well obtained, because of high relief and extensive surface erosion. In this study, two long cores obtained from thick loess deposits in the region, both contain clear alternations of loess and paleosols, indicating distinct climate changes during the Quaternary. The palaeomagnetic stratigraphy and optically stimulated luminescence dating indicate that the loess deposition began approximately 2.0 Ma ago, with continuous accumulation until the Holocene. Dust accumulation rates in this region are much higher than those in the central Chinese Loess Plateau, suggesting an extended dust source and/or robust transport agent. Variations of magnetic susceptibility of the loess are a good proxy index of warm/wet and cold/dry alternations and are correlated with the intensity of pedogensis. The magnetic susceptibility record reveals that a relatively cold/dry climate dominated the northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in the Quaternary, punctuated by warm/wet phases. A stepwise strengthening of the plateau summer monsoon, with a significant strengthening at around 1200-1000 ka and at least 7 phases of strengthening of the plateau summer monsoon in the past 800 ka are interpreted from the core data. The cores provide evidence that strengthened warm/wet climates occurred at around 80-130, 190-250, 290-340, 385-420, 500-625, 690-720 and 755-780 ka, which may correlate to warm/wet phases in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The palaeoclimate changes probably were regulated by the glacial-interglacial alternations.

Research Article
Copyright © Stichting Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 2012


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