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Peatland evolution and associated environmental changes in central China over the past 40,000 years

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Yuxin He
Department of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Cheng Zhao
Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
Zhuo Zheng
Department of Earth Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Zhonghui Liu
Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Ning Wang
Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
Jie Li
Department of Earth Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Rachid Cheddadi
Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, CNRS-UM2, Montpellier 34095, France


Central China has experienced stronger summer monsoon during warm periods such as Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 1 and 3, and weaker summer monsoon during cool periods such as MIS 2. The evolution history of Dajiuhu subalpine peatland in central China can help investigate how the expansion and shrinkage of peatland were associated with monsoonal strength over the last glacial–interglacial cycle. Here we apply bulk organic carbon and molecular biomarkers (hopane and n-alkane) to reconstruct the evolution history for the Dajiuhu peatland over the past 40,000 yr. The results indicate fluctuations between lacustrine and peat-like deposition during MIS 3, steady lacustrine deposition during MIS 2, and peatland initiation and expansion during MIS 1 in the Dajiuhu peatland. Therefore, at the glacial–interglacial scale, warmer summer and cooler winter conditions in interglacial periods are crucial to trigger peat deposition, whereas reduced evaporation in glacial period instead of decreased monsoonal-driven precipitation would have played a predominant role in the regional effective moisture balance. However, within the Holocene (MIS 1), monsoonal precipitation changes appear to be the main controller on millennial-scale variations of water-table level of the Dajiuhu peatland.

University of Washington

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