[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.
Full-text · Article · May 2011 · Quaternary Research
[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.