[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kumtagh Desert is one of the eight biggest deserts in China, but poorly investigated before our interdisciplinary study because of the difficulty of access. In this paper, 33 representative surface sediment samples were collected from the Kumtagh Desert
and analyzed in the laboratory to obtain heavy mineral components and geochemical element contents. Results show that various kinds of heavy minerals are present in these samples, with high levels of epidote and hornblende. Si and Al take up a large part of chemical composition. Compared with the average composition of geochemical elements of the upper continental crust (UCC), except Si and Ca, all elements are depleted to a certain degree; Fe, Mg, Ca, P, Ti and Mn have high correlation coefficients in their contents. The mineral and geochemical composition of the Kumtagh Desert sediments have a similarity with that of rocks of Altyn Tagh Mountains, and the surface sediments of the alluvial/diluvial fans around the Altyn Tagh Mountains and that of the Taklamakan Desert, indicating that one major source of the Kumtagh Desert sediments is located in the Altyn Tagh Mountains. Alluvial deposits and lake sediments in Aqik valley and lower reaches of Shule River are prone to be eroded and transported by the strong northeasterly wind into the Kumtagh Desert, forming another source of the desert deposits. An A-CN-K ternary diagram shows that a weak degree chemical weathering by the loss of Na and K occurred in these sediments, whereas A-CNK-FM ternary diagram suggests that Fe and Mg have undergone a significant chemical differentiation. Physical weathering processes cause easy erosion and enrichment in fine particles for mafic minerals, thus coarse desert sand particles can be relatively depleted in Fe and Mg. The mineral and geochemical composition of sediments in arid regions experiencing less chemical weathering are mostly affected by physical weathering.
Key words: minerals–geochemical elements–sediment provenance–weathering process–Kumtagh Desert
Journal of Geographical Sciences 12/2011; 21(6):1062-1076. · 0.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thousands of Paleolithic artifacts have been recovered from Paleolithic sites in the Luonan Basin, in the upper South Luohe River of central China. Their discovery suggests that the basin was an important area for hominin settlement during the Pleistocene. However, the initial timing of this occupation and the environmental conditions for this period are still largely unknown. In addition, the sediments are not well dated and most of the artifacts lie on the surface. In an attempt to resolve these issues, a new systemic paleomagnetic analysis was carried out on the loess deposits that contain in situ stone tools. Our detailed loess–paleosol analyses of the stratigraphy of different sites in the basin and Chinese Loess Plateau shows the accumulation of the loess since at least 1.1 million years (Ma) ago. Moreover, recently discovered in situ cores, flakes and retouched stone tools in these deposits show that hominins used this region repeatedly from 0.8–0.7 Ma to 0.4–0.3 and 0.2–0.1 Ma. Pedostratigraphic analyses, magnetic susceptibility and carbon isotope analyses also indicate that these hominins lived in a subtropical to warm-temperate climate with broad-needle-leaf forest vegetation mixed with grasses.
Quaternary Research 05/2011; 76(1):142-147. · 2.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous palaeoclimatic studies in the northeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (NETP) during the Holocene, mainly using lake sediments, have deepened our understanding of the climatic system in this remote region. The timing and forcing mechanisms of climatic change in this region are still controversial, however. Aeolian sand and silt deposits, which are widely distributed in the NETP, can be readily dated by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) techniques and reveal the sensitive response of the landscape to climatic change. In this study, aeolian sand and loess at six sites around Qinghai Lake were studied to reconstruct millennial-scale climatic changes during the Holocene. Multiproxy data along with 24 OSL age determinations show that low effective moisture and aeolian activity occurred at c. 13 ka, 10—9.1 ka, and 8.9—7.8 ka. Periods of greater effective moisture may have occurred at ~11 ka and 9 ka, and there is evidence for a previously undocumented wet climate at 4—3 ka. These results show that millennial-scale Holocene palaeoclimatic changes in the NETP cannot be explained simply as direct responses to changes in monsoon precipitation forced by summer insolation. We suggest that changes in effective moisture were determined by the balance between monsoon-induced rainfall and evaporation loss (mainly controlled by temperature). Thus, climatic change in the NETP may have been influenced by complex interactions between the monsoon circulation and local convection/evaporation effects, in addition to large-scale change in the Asian monsoon and the westerlies.
The Holocene 01/2011; 21(2):297-304. · 3.22 Impact Factor