Alexander L. Alexandrovskiy

Institute of Geography of RAS, 109017, Staromonetnyi per. 29, Moscow, Russia

Tel. (095)-959-00-28; FAX (095)-959-00-33; E-mail:

Paleopedological data testify that during the Holocene the territory of Northwest Caucasus experienced contrasting environmental changes. Thus, in the Early and Middle Holocene steppe landscapes propagated up to 700-m altitude. The increasing humidity caused the expansion of broad-leaf forests from the mountains to the foot slopes (50-100-m height) which took place 3500-2500 years ago. Following this climatic and ecosystem change the evolution of Chernozems formed on loess towards Luvisols occurred in the foothills. However, the direction of soil evolution differed being determined by the composition of the parent material.

The study of soil profiles formed on artificial landsurfaces of kurgans (burial mounds) and ramparts in the second half of the Holocene allows to trace this diversity. Within the last 3000 years mature Luvisols have developed on the burial mounds composed of loess and material of Ah horizon of Chernozem. The leaching of calcite took place at the beginning of the forest stage, within the first hundreds of years. Afterwards the clay illuviation started. Rendzinas have developed on the mounds composed of calcareous material, because the release of bases from the weathering of limestone fragments prevents the destruction of clay-humus complexes and substantially retards the development of clay illuviation. Thus the formation of Rendzina on calcareous parent material shows evolutionary stability whereas in case of development of Luvisol on loess and Chernozem-loess substrates relatively fast profile transformation occurred, followed by long-term quasi-stability in a steady state of ecosystem (Luvisols on loess and Chernozem-loess substrates).

Specific trends of soil development along with the related quasi-stability states at the intermediate stages of their development were observed on the parent materials depending upon the content and localization of calcareous material. Leached Rendzinas and Humic Luvisol (Dark gray forest soils) with carbonate horizon are formed on kurgans constructed of loess and Chernozem materials with calcareous pavement on top, the latter provides the CaCO3 supply in the upper part of the profile. In cases when similar pavement covers natural land surface near kurgans the evolution of the middle Holocene Chernozem ceased at the stage of Leached Chernozems. The most probable way of further development of these soils is a quick evolution towards Luvisols after the components of pavement are destroyed by leaching.



Subir K. Banerjee 1), Eric A. Oches 2), Christoph E. Geiss 1)

1) University of Minnesota, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, 310 Pillsbury Dr. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455

2) Univ. of South Florida, Dept. of Geology, 4202 E.Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33620-5200

Loess/paleosol sequences with high rates of deposition are valuable recorders of mid-latitude climate changes on continents. Successful magnetic studies in China, especially in the eastern loess plateau, have led to a model that predicts that authigenic magnetite production during intensified interglacial summer monsoons will lead to an increase in paleosol magnetic susceptibility (X), even when normalized for concentration variations (X/Js). Confusion has arisen because X-data from Pakistan and Alaska do not fit this model, displaying higher X- values in less altered loess layers during glacial periods, when pedogenesis is much less important. In the Czech Republic (Doln¡ Vestonice), we observe higher X-values in chernozems but lower values in part of the parabraunerde that developed during marine isotope stage 5e. We propose that the magnetic properties of loess/paleosol sequences are determined by at least three variables: eolian input, authigenesis of more magnetic species, and reduction diagenetic loss of iron (Fe2+). Purely magnetic measurements, especially of magnetic susceptibility alone, can not uniquely separate these effects. However, multiple room-temperature and low-temperature magnetic measurements can help construct models that are regionally distinct, and can then be confirmed or rejected by data from sedimentology and geochemistry. We explain our hypothesis with examples of loess deposits from Alaska, the Czech Republic and China, as well as loess inputs into a late Pleistocene lake basin in Illinois.



E. Bibus & B. Terhorst

Tubingen (FDR)

Due to geological structure, high relief energy and specific hydrological conditions, the steep slopes of the Swabian Jurassic cuesta in Southwest Germany are characterised by very intense morphodynamic processes. This fact particularly manifests itself in the wide distribution of fossil and recent mass movements.The formation of soils and solifluction layers adapts to geomorphologic forms and processes and environmental conditions. For that reason, analysing soil profiles and their geological stratification offers an opportunity for chronostratigraphic classification of different phases of slope evolution. The various Holocene formation stages of the soils and their connection with the respective environmental conditions are investigated in the research area.. Fully developed Holocene climax soils at the Jurassic cuesta are decalcified, loamificated, brown soil types and they are formed by characteristic periglacial solifluction layers. The upper, youngest solifluction layer ("Deckschutt, Hauptlage") which dates from the younger Dryas period is of particular importance. It is characterised by an increasing silt component and a clearly content of foreign minerals. Unlike the very limited mineral spectrum of the solid Jurassic rocks, the upper layer contains minerals typical of loess and Lacher. The minerals of the Lacher Sea Tephra originate from the eruption of the Lacher See volcano and are dated to 11.000 B.P. For that reason, the proof of the volcanic components brown amphibole, titanite and clinopyroxene in a soil profile classifies the minimum age of respective slope forms as Late Glacial. Thus this method provides very useful indications for the stratigraphic classification of landslide forms and processes. The solifluction layer model (SEMMEL 1964, 68) has been applied in landslide areas for the first time and it presents differently climatically regulated forms and processes at the Swabian Jurassic cuesta.In the presentation, the genesis and distribution of the typical climax soils and weaker Holocene soils (formations), relief forms and mineral associations are explained by the help of catenas, tables and diagrams.



E. Bibus and B. Terhorst

Geographisches Institut, Hlderlinstr. 12, FRG-72074 Tubingen

In the Middle Neckar valley, an attempt was made to classify the younger Quaternary loess sediments (Brunhes-epoch) with the help of Palaeosoils. Apart from interglacial/glacial periods, especially the loesses of the last three glacial periods could be classified with the help of less developed Palaeosoils and connected to the Middle European loess classification. The result was a cyclical sequence which, due to the structure of the soils (tundra gleys, arctic braunerdes, humus zones) can be interpreted palaeoclimatically. The question asking under which climatic conditions the three Mosbach humus zones from the lower W¡¡ì¹rm era (last glacial) originated was particularly examined with the help of pollen analyses (BLUDAU). Apart from that, important results were achieved at standard profiles through sediment analyses, thin-sections (HIERLEMANN), rock magnetics (APPEL et al.), identifications of molluscs (RÄHLE) TL-datings (FRECHEN, ZÖLLER) and heavy minaral analyses (TERHORST). Due to the surface formations, the terrace deposits can be dated to a minimum age with the help of the loess-stratigraphic classification worked out.

Composite sections from the Middle Neckar valley (Brunhes Epoch), the Danube valley (high-lying terrace complex of the Riss era) and from the Iller-Lech-Riss plate of the Swabian-Bavarian Alpine piedmont (fluvioglacial terraces) are presented and characterised with the help of the overlaying loess surface formations. This indicates that the classical Riss in the sense of PENCK & BRUCKNER (1909) is divided into 3-4 epochs in Germany, that in the Brunhes-epoch there are at least 5 glacial epochs, and that the boundary line between the Matuyama and the Brunhes Epoch lies within the G¡¡ì¹nz complex.


Arnt Bronger

Geographisches Institut der University Kiel, D-24098 Kiel, Germany

Recent small climatic fluctuations on a 102-103 year time scale can be correlated worldwide for example by distinct moraines dated to about 1850 AD in similar positions above the present day glaciers in the southeastern Canadian Rockies, in the European Alps and in the Tian-Shan near Urumqi, China. These moraines result from glacier advances caused by a decline of mean annual temperature of only about 1 C. This suggests that major climatic changes on at least a 105 year scale (glacial-interglacial cycles) and probably a 104 year scale (the approximate length of an interglacial) must be of similar ages throughout the temperate climatic belt of the Northern Hemisphere. This concept is important for continental pedostratigraphical correlations; especially when loess-paleosol sequences correspond with time equivalent parts of the deep-sea oxygen isotope record in the Brunhes epoch we are in all probability close towards a continental or even a global chronostratigraphical correlation between loess-paleosol sequences in different continents. This allows the reconstruction of a quaternary climatic history especially of the Brunhes epoch in the temperate climatic belt of the northern hemisphere.

Detailed knowledge of the genesis of paleosols is needed to establish loess-paleosol stratigraphies that can be used for paleoclimatic reconstruction. Most paleosols, however, are truncated and largely recalcified by carbonate derived from overlying loess. Micromorphological studies allow primary and secondary carbonates to be distinguished and provide unequivocal evidence of clay illuviation. This enables the separation of typical loess, weakly weathered loess and the recognition of different genetic soil horizons as CB, BC, Ah, Bw, B and Bt horizons. A comparison of the loess-paleosol sequence of the Karamaydan section/Tadjikistan with the upper part of the Luochuan section/China clearly indicates that for the Brunhes chron the sequence at Karamaydan, Tadjikistan, is more detailed than the corresponding section in Luochuan, China and even more than in Central Europe except for the last glaciation. Single paleosols at Luochuan correspond to pedocomplexes at Karamaydan such as S3 soil to PK III and the S4 soil to PK IV; both PKs developed in a time period much longer than one interglacial (about 104 years). Some pedocomplexes at Luochuan have more detailed successions at Karamaydan; e.g. the S5-complex in Luochuan, which corresponds with PKs VI and V. The loess-paleosol sequence in Karamaydan, therefore, should be regarded as a key sequence for reconstructing the climatic history of the Brunhes epoch. The good correlation with the deep-sea oxygen isotope record of Bassinot et al (1994), which includes the development of an accurate astronomical time scale, allows a detailed chronostratigraphical subdivision of the loess-paleosol sequence in Karamaydan for the Brunhes epoch. Also, for most of the Matuyama epoch the central and lower parts of the sequence at Chashmanigar, Tadjikistan, show more pronounced paleosols than the equivalent parts of the sequences at Luochuan and much more than in Central Europe, although some Ck or Ckm horizons indicate the presence of hiatuses or lost parts of the Chashmanigar section. Nevertheless it provides more paleoclimatic information regarding cold arid stages represented by loesses and warm humid stages (interglacials) represented by paleosols, than even the deep-sea cores known so far.

To reconstruct paleoclimates the primary and secondary minerals of the silt and clay fractions must be determined separately to evaluate the type and intensity of mineral weathering and clay mineral formation. This shows that there is little difference in the type and amount of pedogenic clay mineral formation between the Holocene soils and the paleosols of the Brunhes epoch at Karamaydan and of most of the paleosols in the Matuyama epoch at Chashmanigar. This suggests that the interglacial climates represented by the B or Bt horizons of the buried paleosols of young, middle and old Pleistocene age were similar to that of the Holocene.




Bronnikova M.A.1), Sedov S.N.1), Skripnikova M.I.2) & Turova I.V.1)

1) Department of Soil Science, Lomonosov University, Moscow, Russia

2) Dokuchaev Soil Institute, Moscow, Russia

Possibilities for paleopedological reconstruction of landscape evolution in the central North Caucasian piedmont are limited by complex landscape situation and geomorphic dynamism. Contemporary environment is meadow-steppe with patches of forests on N and NW oriented slopes of valleys.

Following objects were investigated to make conclusions on trends of Holocene environmental change and landscape development: recent surface soils; soil profiles buried under ancient artificial ground piles; exposures of colluvial deposits with buried soils in downslope positions.

The profiles buried under ancient man-made agricultural terraces and under burial mounds of Scythian time (2000 years B.P.) are similar to recent surface Chernozems with minor differences in thickness and humus content of Ah horizons. This indicates that steppe ecosystem persisted in central North Caucasian piedmont during second part of the Holocene.Thus the climatic conditions in the studied region were rather stable compared to western North Caucasian piedmont where humidization and subsequent contrasting environmental change from steppe to forest occured in the same period (1).

A set of sections observed in river and creek banks exposed the alternation of coarse stony slope depositional material and truncated paleosol profiles formed on finer colluvium. The section studied in more detail consisted of the recent surface Rendzina (0 - 45 cm); the first layer of coarse slope deposit with abundant limestone fragments (45 -118 cm) which contains numerous findings of pottery of Alanian culture (VII - IX century A.D.); well developed truncated paleosol profile (118 - 182cm); second coarse colluvial stratum (182 - 212 cm), again underlain by finer colluvium with signs of weak pedogenesis. The first truncated paleosol, though only partly leached from carbonates, contain depositional clay coatings, indicating that overlying horizons (destroyed by erosion) were free of lime.

We assume this section to reflect local short-term dynamics of landscape development inside the above mentioned general trend. On the steep slopes of valleys Late Holocene geomorphic evolution includes twice repeated periods of stable land surface and intensive pedogenesis in the past (marked by two buried paleosols) alternating with two stages of drastic change towards colluvial processes reflected by the two coarse strata. The upper buried paleosol reflects the period of pedogenesis under a stable forest ecosystem. The early medieval antropogenic deforestation seems to be the pre-condition of destabilization of slope geosystem and activization of colluviation which resulted in development of upper layer of coarse slope deposits. The surface Rendzina was formed within the present period of low denudation activity.

(1) Alexandrovskiy, A.L. 1997. Soils and paleosols of burial mounds near the Novosvobodnaya settlement (North Caucasus): trends and rates of pedogenesis. INQUA/ISSS Paleopedology Commission Newsletter No. 14, p.15


F.H. Chen1), J. Bloemendal2), Z.D. Feng3), J.M. Wang1), E. Parker2) and Z.T. Guo4)

1). Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China.

2). Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK.

3). Department of Earth & Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043, USA.

4). Beijing Institute of Geology, CAS, Beijing, 100029, China.


Cimate change during the last interglacial may serve as an analog for future global changes; however, our current understanding of the last interglacial climate is still limited. Although the Chinese loess-palaeosol sequence is widely recognized as the best terrestrial Quaternary climatic recorder, the palaeosol S1 in the central Loess Plateau area, where most of studies have been conducted, is too thin (ca 2 m) to yield high-resolution climatic records of the last interglacial. However, the thick palaeosol S1 (6-8 m), cumulic loessial pedocomplexes, in the northwestern margin of the Chinese Loess Plateau, has preserved high-resolution records which provide considerable insight into the temporal variations of the East Asian monsoon and thus shed new light on the forcing factors. The palaeosol S1 at the three sections investigated here consists of five sub-units: three well-developed palaeosols and two interbedded loess layers. According to the modeled ages with consideration of the Blake paleomagnetic event and TL dates, the three palaeosols developed in marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 5a, 5c and 5e, and the two loess layers were deposited in MIS 5b and 5d, respectively. The frequency-dependent magnetic susceptibility, as well as the concentration of secondary carbonate, is used as an indicator of the summer monsoon intensity, and the median particle size as an indicator of the winter monsoon intensity.

The results suggest that the northwestern margin of the Chinese Loess Plateau experienced the strongest summer monsoon intensity in MIS 5e and the weakest in MIS 5a, among the three warmer periods during MIS 5. The summer monsoon was weaker in MIS 5b than in MIS 5d. A dusty interval interrupted the second warmer period (5c) and a soil-forming event interrupted the first colder period (5d). The results also suggest that the directions of changes in the intensities of summer and winter monsoons may not always have been proportionately opposite. For example, the weakest summer monsoon occurred in MIS 5a during which the winter monsoon was not the strongest. We further conclude that the winter monsoon during the last interglacial was probably driven by global ice volume fluctuations, while the summer monsoon was primarily controlled by the northern hemisphere solar insolation and was probably modified by a feedback mechanism. That is, the climatic buffering effect of low latitudinal oceans may have distorted the response of the summer monsoon to insolation variations. Finally, our results do not show the degree of climatic instability comparable to that recorded in the GRIP ice core, even though the study area is situated in a region which has been sensitive to climatic changes.



Cheng Guodong Li Shuxun Liu Xiaodong

Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, CAS, Lanzhou 730000-, P.R. China

Analysis using instrument-observed surface air temperature data from most meteorological stations on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau shows the main portion of the Plateau has experienced statistically significant warming since the mid-1950s, especially in winter. Compared with the Northern Hemispheric or global average, the recent warming of the Plateau occurred early. The linear rate of temperature increases over the Plateau during 1955-1996 was about 0.16 oC/decade for the annual mean and 0.32oC/decade for the winter mean, exceeding that for the Northern Hemisphere and the same latitudinal zone in the same period. Furthermore, the recent warming range generally increases with the elevation in the Plateau and its surrounding areas. For example, the linear trends of temperature change during 1961-1900 were 0.0, 0.11, 0.12, 0.19 and 0.25oC/decade for areas below 500m, 500-1500 m, 1500-2500m, 2500-3500m and above 3500m, respectively.

The climate change in the Tibetan Plateau results in the obvious changes of the glaciers and permafrost thermal regime. In 40-60s, the degradation of the most of glaciers occurred except a few of them. The degraded glaciers showed a rise in snowline, a decrease in moving speed of glacier, a drop in ice surface and a decrease in glacier thickness. Since the early part of 70s to the middle part of 80s, the advance of the most glaciers occurred. According to statistic up 62.5 per cent of total statistic glaciers, and the degraded glaciers made up 37.5 per cent of them.

Since the middle part of 80’s to now, the degradation of the most glaciers has occurred again. The observations show that the ground temperature of permafrost has risen about 0.2oC since the middle part of 70s to now. At the border of permafrost area, the thickness of permafrost is thinning.


Chen Ye, Wang Yongjin , Li Xuesong, Li Qinchen, Liu Zechun

Department of Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210097


The Qaidam Basin is one of the largest intermountain sedimentary basins in western China. It lies to north of Qing-Zang (Qinghai-Tibet) Plateau and is surrounded by three mountain chains including Kunlun, Qilian mountains and Argin mountains. The basin is about 2800 m above the present sea level and it covers an area of approximately 120,000km2. The thickness of the materials accumulated during the Quaternary period in the Qaidam Basin is in the range of 20000~3000m, with the maximum being found at the last subsiding center. Such a thick sedimentary sequence may provide sufficiently detailed information for understanding the entire history of the basin during the Quaternary period, since such a continuously and rapidly deposited thick sequence is likely to have recorded small-scale geological events lasting for only very short periods, such as paleoclimatic cycles.

The material accumulated in the center came from the surrounding mountains, and their particle size is usually very small due to the long distance of transportation to the paleolake. On the basic of the index biostratigraphic units established according to the characteristics of the Ostracoda fossils, attempts were made to determine the depth of many important boundaries by comparing the stratigraphic sequences classified using the results obtained from paleomagnetic dating. For instances, in Seshen-1 BH the well-known M/G boundary (2.48Ma B.P.) was found from such analyses at the depth of 1460 m; and the Olduvai event corresponds to the interval of 710~880m in Sezhong-6 BH. By analyzing statistically the thickness of typical couplets found in the varve deposits and though correlating such results to the pattern of the geophysical logging curves, the yearly rate of deposition is obtained for the following typical facies: semi-deep lake facies, 0.45mm/a; shallow lake facies, 1.03mm/a; lakeshore facies, 1.28mm/a; lake basin bog facies, 0.94mm/a; and delta facies, 0.90mm/a. These rates were then used to cross-chick the paleomagnetically determined geological age of fossil Unit 1 in five different boreholes and the maximum difference was less than 1.5%.

It is the timescale that occupies an important position in the Quaternary paleoclimate research. Combined the biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy, the marker band of electrical measurement, as well as the sedimentology chronological calculation, the primary timescale of the Sezhong-6 BH (2.15~1.30Ma B.P), Tuozhong-2 BH (2.20~1.35Ma B.P), and Dacan-1 BH (2.85~0 Ma B.P) were obtained respectively. Based on the astronomical forcing theory, the turning astronomical timescale was obtained successfully during 2.85Ma B.P in Quaternary of Dacan 1 Core after carefully turning.

Based on the climate proxies development of the sediment faces and the assemblage characteristics of Gamma logging curve, the relation was discussed fully between the assemblage characteristics in the Gamma logging curve of all kinds of sediment faces and the fluctution in the water of the Caidam paleolake, consequently the paleoclimate-inversive model based on Gamma logging curve was constructed, which showed that the Gamma logging curve could be regarded as one of the favorable climate proxies. To extend this model into the Dacan-1 BH with a length of 2600m, which had no example to be analysis, the climate change during 2.85Ma B.P was reconstructed successfully.

To regarded the laminar layer of carbonaceous shale as the remarkable marker of the sharp retracts of the paleolake, considering the Gamma logging curve of Dacan-1 BH, it could be deduced that there were 5 paleoclimate abrupt events just like Heinrich event with accurate chronological data, which show in according with the ODP659 in the paleoclimate recovered through the dust flux. The study on the dacan 1 core since 1.00Ma B.P showed that there have been more than 30 climate abrupt events just like Heinrich event since the Last Glacial which indicated that the Gamma logging curve to be regarded as climate proxy had brought the great potential into researching the paleoclimate changes in the period of 1000 year, combined with the fractal research, it could provide a favorable clue for the project of the climate.

The following can be seen from the division of Quaternary series, calculating of geochronology, vertical relations of facies and reconstruction of facies distribution and paleolake shorelines. There is many factors controlled development of Quaternary deposits, of which tectonics and paleoclimatic cycles at different grades pre-primary, and landform and sedimentary supply are subordinate. In the whole quaternary interval, the depositional evolution can be deviled into three stages as following: a) in the interval between 3.05Ma B.P. and 1.95 Ma B.P., transgressions were developed gradually and the facies are dominated by the shore facies, near shore shallow water facies and shallow lacustrines; b) the transgression was remarkable, lake enlarged and deepen in water depth, especially after 1.35 Ma B.P., the hemi-deep lacustrines environment expanded; c) beginning with 1.00 Ma B.P., the lake level contracted remarkable and facies of the area studied are mainly swamps, shore and nearshore shallow lacustrines, even salt lake facies deposited widely in late periods.

The development of the paleolake in the Caidam Basin such as the wandering and the denivellation of the paleolake were allied with the stages uplifting of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. During the periods of several enlarging of the sediment rate of the Dacan 1 core after 2.85Ma B.P, each period can find a corresponding event of the uplifting of Qinghai-Tibet plateau.



M. J. Dekkers

Paleomagnetic Laboratory Fort Hoofddijk, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 17, 3584 CD Utrecht, Netherlands;

Acquisition of rock- or mineral-magnetic parameters requires little sample preparation, and measurement is usually rapid. The parameters obtained are representative of a bulk sample. As such, mineral magnetic parameters are complementary to SEM and TEM analysis where only a minute fraction of a sample can be studied. Most importantly, some mineral magnetic parameters yield grain-size dependent information that is usually not accessible with other methods. In addition, the majority of measurement types (those at room temperature and below) is non-destructive. Mineral magnetic parameters are thus increasingly used as proxy parameters in, for example, climate and environment reconstruction studies. The interpretation of mineral-magnetic information, however, is often non-unique.

Routinely, the magnetic parameters are interpreted by visualizing their behaviour as a function of stratigraphic position, whether or not combined with a number of scattergrams. While valuable, such analysis remains restricted to the behaviour of sets of two variables. The interpretation of the magnetic parameters is occasionally combined with information obtained with other techniques (e.g., elemental analysis). Multivariate statistical techniques (e.g., cluster analysis, discriminant function analysis, factor analysis) allow for an analysis of all variables in a data set simultaneously. Experience has shown that trends and grouping in data sets are recognized that would have gone unnoticed when performing bivariate analysis only. Examples of the merit of multivariate statistical analysis will be shown. A proper multivariate analysis of a data set requires understanding of the meaning of individual variables while their distributions should not deviate too much from a normal distribution.

The interpretation of mineral-magnetic parameters can also be supported by applying sequential extraction techniques, including CBD. The results of those extractions are often contradictory. By performing extraction experiments with well-defined magnetic minerals, the influence of varying protocol parameters can be analyzed. This will be illustrated with an experimental study. The grain-size dependent information inherent to mineral-magnetic parameters is an asset. More work of this type needs to done before complex natural samples can be fully characterized.



Z.L. Ding1,2), N.W. Rutter3), J.M. Sun1), S.L. Yang1) and T.S. Liu1)

1) Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

2) State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Xian 710054, China

3) Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta,

Edmonton, Canada T6G 2E3

Recent studies have shown that the red clay sequence underlying the Quaternary loess is wind-blown in origin in the Chinese Loess Plateau, Continuous atmospheric dust deposition of the past 7.0 Ma has been documented. To address the wind system that transported the Tertiary red clay, two north south transects were studied in the Chinese Loess Plateau. One of the transects was designed to study spatial changes in grain size of the last glacial-interglacial loess records, and the other to observeparticle changes of the Tertiary red clay underlying the Quaternary loess.The loess transect consists of 9 sections, and the red clay transect of 4 sections. Analyses of closely-spaced samples show that there is a strong southward decrease in grain size of both loess and paleosol horizons of the late Pleistocene, which is consistent with the idea that the eolian materials of the Quaternary in the Loess Plateau are transported by the northerly winter monsoonal winds. Grain size distribution of the red clay sequences, however, does not show this change observed in the Quaternary loess deposits. From north to south along the red clay transect, the particle size distribution is almost identical in the four sections, suggesting that the winter monsoonal winds might have played a lessimportant role in transporting the red clay material. It is suggested that the red clay may be transported by the westerlies from thedust-source-regions of northwestern China onto the Loess Plateau. A remarkable re-arrangement of atmospheric patterns at about 2.6 Ma, therefore, has been recorded by the red clay-loess shift. It is speculated that this re-arrangement of atmospheric patterns may have been caused both by the increase of global ice volume and regional tectonic activity.


Dong Guangrong and Su Zhizhu

Institute of Desert Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China

The eastern desert region in China refers to the vast expanse of sandy land and desert areas to the north of the Qinlin Mts. and to the east of the Helan Mts. and the Qinghai Lake (Dong Guangrong et al., 1990), situated in the mid-temperate monsoon climatic zone and alternately affected by modern East Asian Winter monsoon (it can be reflected by the cold wave invasion route) and Summer monsoon (it can be reflected by the mid-summer polar front location). There are many buried soils as a result of palaeomonsoon vicissitudes in the eastern desert region since the Holocene period, their development and evolution able to provide climate information. The stratigraphic assemblage forms in the eastern desert region are as follows: there exists a layer of black sandy soil or Heilu soil at outer fringe of sandy land and many places of the loess Plateau, their development ages generally range from 10 ka B.P. to present. However, there also exist 2~4 interbedding layers of aeolian sand or loess and black sandy soil, black soil or peat in the interior of the sandy land (Chen Weinan et al., 1993), their development ages also range from 10 ka B.P. to present. In addition, there exist a relative thickness and continue lager of black paleosils or lacustrine deposits in the valley and lower surface of sandy dune.

According to the sedimentary facies, age determination and magnetic susceptibility of the Holocene in the eastern desert region, its climatic variation can be further divided into three stages:

(1) Early Holocene (10~7.5 ka B.P.). During the period there formed two layers of sand intercalated a layer of weakly developed gray-black sandy soil (or thin humus layer in Horqin), the magnetic susceptibility of palaeosol was relatively lower. its vegetation was dominated by dry desert steppe species, such as Chenopodiaceae, Artemisia, etc.. While in Shouliao Plane, Ordos Plateau, Gonghe of Qinghai, Loess Plateau there are several periglacial phenomena developed. This shows that the climate retained some characteristics of the Last Glacial Period and was cold and dry this stage.

(2) Mid-Holocene (7.5-4 ka B.P.), this stage recorded in 2~4 layers of well developed black soils in the eastern desert region. For example, the Sandaogou Profile of the southeastern Mu Us Sandy Land has recorded in three layers of well developed black soils during the middle Holocene, its peak values of magnetic susceptibility occur in the ages of 5.5, 4.8 and 4.4 ka B. P., its vegetation belongs to sparse forest steppe species dominated by Pinus, Chenopodiaceae, Atemisia, etc., suggesting a strongest period of warm and humid climate. On the other hand, two layers of aeolian sand formed between 5.4-4.8-4.2 ka B.P. and their relatively lower magnetic susceptibility shows that even in the prime of warm and humid climate circulation there still existed two dry and cold stages.(3) Late Holocene (4 ka B.P. up to now), This stage has one main characteristic: the deposits in the eastern desert region are dominated by aeolian sand, however, there still existed a layer of weakly developed sandy-soil. For example the Sandaogou Profile of Yulin has two layers of aeolian sand intercalated a layer of weakly developed gray-black sandy soil 2.8 ka B.P. in age, their relatively lower magnetic susceptibilities are relatively lower and vegetation belongs to semiarid steppe species dominated by Chenopodiacease, Artemisia and other shrubs, while in Gonghe of Qinghai, Otinday and Horqin Sandy Land there are several layers of weakly developed thin black soils, and their ages vary between 1.3-1.5 or 1.7 and 0.5-0.6 or 0.11 ka B.P.. Afterwards, modern shifting sand covers the last black sandy soil layer, showing that from 4 ka B.P. onwards the dry and cold climate in the eastern desert region gradually became stronger.

Key words: Holocene period, eastern desert region, paleosoi, climatic change


Dong Wei, Xu Qinqi, Jin Changzhu, Liu Jinyi

Institute of vertebrate paleontology and paleoanthropology, chinese academy of sciences, beijing 100044

The large herbivorous mammals from 10 representative Quaternary localities in North-east China have been studied. The evolution of these animals confirms the Pei's law and Bergmann's rule. Among three global cold periods of Quaternary, the first and second are not well recorded in the region, while the temperate period between these cold periods is well recorded. It shows that there was a sub-cold period (around 280 kya) in this temperate period. It needs to confirm if this sub-cold period was limited only in North-east China. The third cold period is well recorded in the region in which the faunas were composed mostly of temperate forms, as well as of some typical cold and pro-cold forms.

Key words North-east China, Quaternary, Herbivore, Paleoclimate


The plants are sensitive to climate change, their evolution has great influence on that of the herbivores. Consequently, the morphological evolution, the fauna migration and exchange, the eco-patterns, etc. of herbivores, reflect the climate change undergoing (Bonifay, 1980; Dong, 1993; Xue et al. 1994; Kawamura, Y, 1994; Jin et al., 1998). North-east China is the region north-most of China and close to Siberia. The region is thus very impressionable to the cold climate southward from Siberia. From this perspective, the present paper shows the study on three orders of herbivorous mammals, the Proboscidea, Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla (including omnivorous suids which are also consumers of plants), based on the material from 10 important fossil localities in North-east China.


There are all together 22 genus and 32 species of large herbivorous mammal at the localities studied as listed in table 1. The actual number of species in all parts of the North-east is sure more than that. Among the listed species, the extinct ones total 14. The habitats or eco-patterns of the listed herbivores are mostly forests (e.g. moschids and cervids) or steppes (e.g. equids and bovids), a few are swamps (e.g. water deer, moose and buffalo), tundra (e.g. mammoths, woolly rhino, reindeer etc.), or mixed (e.g. suids). In view of body size, a few are small (e.g. musk deer, water deer and munjacks), or giant (e.g. mammoth and rhino), but the majority are medium to large sized. According to stratigraphic records, the large and giant forms were evolved from small forms of Early Pleistocene or Pliocene. Among the studied animals, Mammuthus primigenius, Coelodonta antiquitatis, Equus dalianensis, Equus przewalskii, Sus scrofa, Cervus elaphus xanthopygus, Megaloceros ordosianus, Capreolus manchuricus, Bison (Parabison) exiguus and Gazella przewalskii are the most widely distributed species. Judging from the minimum number of individuals, Mammuthus primigenius, Coelodonta antiquitatis, Equus hemionus, Equus dalianensis, Equus przewalskii, Sus scrofa, Sus lydekkeri, Capreolus manchuricus, Bison (Parabison) exiguus had denser populations.

The Early Pleistocene mammals are rare in North-east China. The Middle Pleistocene mammals are found mostly in Liaoning Province. The Late Pleistocene mammals are found in all parts of the North-east. It seems that the distribution of Quaternary mammals tends to increase gradually and to expand progressively from the southern part to the northern part of North-east China.

Table 1 The large herbivorous mammals in 10 important localities in North-east China

Abbreviation for localities: MH: Miaohoushan, JN: Jinniushan, GX: Guxiantun, YS: Yushu, XG: Xiaogushan, YJ: Yanjiagang, GL: Gulongshan, YL: Yunlianghe, QT: Qingtoushan, QG: Qianguo












Absolute age(kya)











Mammuthus primigenius











Mammuthus (Parelephas) sungari











Equus hemionus











Equus dalianensis











Equus przewalskii











Equus caballus











Coelodonta antiguitatis











Dicerorhinus kirchbergensis











Sus scrofa











Sus lydekkeri











Moschus moschiferus











Hydropotes inermis











Muntiacus sp.











Cervus (Rusa) unicolor











Cervus (Sika) grayi











Cervus (S.) nippon hortulorum











Cervus elaphus xanthopygus











Megaloceros ordosianus











Megaloceros pachyosteus











Alces alces











Capreolus manchuricus











Rangifer tarandus











Buballus wansjocki











Bison (Parabison) exiguus











Bos primigenius











Bos taurus











Gazella przewalskii











Pachygazella sp.











Spirocerus kiakhtensis











Naemorhedus goral











Capra sp.











Ovis ammon











N.B. The number in the table indicates the minimum number of individuals of the correspond species at the locality. The plus sign indicates the presence of the species at the locality when the minimum number of individuals is too small or hard to estimate.

Mammuthus is the only genus of Quaternary Proboscidea in the region and was widespread. The localities yielded mammoths are more than 60 in Helongjiang Province alone. It takes about 27.8% of unearthed mammal fossils in Jilin Province. But in Liaoning Province, the localities yielded mammoths appear less numerous. The giant Mammuthus (Parelephas) sungari, evolved from less giant forms from Siberia, was extinct during the beginning of the Late Pleistocene. Mammuthus primigenius with smaller size extended its lineage until the end of the Late Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene. Both forms extincted after arriving their climax, i.e. with large size, high population density and wide distribution.

Among the Perissodactyla, equids were wide ranging with dense population. The woolly rhino, or Coelodonta antiquitatis, was wide ranging and often appeared with mammoths, but never passed over 60 degree of north latitude. While Dicerorhinus kirchbergensis are found in Jilin and Liaoning, but less numerous than Coelodonta antiquitatis.The Artiodactyla was numerous in species and population. Sus lydekkeri had dense population but limited in Liaoning and extincted in the Late Pleistocene. Sus scrofa, a smaller form than S. lydekkeri, is found in all three provinces and survived to the present. The same case is for musk deer. Cervus (Sika) grayi, Megaloceros pachyosteus and M. ordosianus were extinct cervids of Late Pleistocene, while the other cervids extend to the present. Among the extant forms, reindeer has not reached more southern than Heilongjiang, and moose not more southern than Jilin. Among the bovids, Buballus wansjocki, Bison (Parabison) exiguus and Spirocerus kiakhtensis extincted at the end of the Late Pleistocene. Compared with adjacent faunas, Mammuthus (Parelephas) sungari, Equus dalianensis, Alces alces, Rangifer tarandus and Bison (Parabison) exiguus are absent from other parts of China. While the forms from adjacent regions, the North and the North-west of China, such as Palaeoloxodon, Equus sanmenensis, Paracamelus gigas, Megaloceros flabellatus, Buballus teilhardi and Spirocerus hsuchiayaoca, are absent from the North-east.


One of the general evolutionary tendency of mammals in North-east China is the increase in body size. It is in accordance with Pei's law (Pei, 1965) which points out that each branch or lineage of mammals is evolved from small sized one, and increase its body size gradually until to a large even giant form, or at the climax of its evolution, before degradation and extinction. The increase in body size and mass is brought about firstly by abundance of food to nourish the body for full development, secondly by cold weather. The mass body size can preserve better body warmth than smaller one as shown by Bergmann's rule. The abundance of food is controlled by natural factors. And the plants on which the herbivores feed are sensitive to climate change. When the climate is unfavorable to a certain plant, the latter will decline and that will consequently cause its consumers to decline in quantity. In this case the smaller-sized forms can survive better than the larger-sized ones since the former needs less food than the latter. Therefore, judged by the fauna evolution, there had been some significant climatic change during Pleistocene in the North-east China, i.e. there had alternatively appeared some times the favorable climate for the cold and pro-cold forms on one hand, and the one for temperate and pro-warmth forms on the other.

Not far away from North-east China continent, the Pleistocene fossil such as Palaeoloxodon namadicus, Mammuthus sp., Coelodonta antiquitatis, Cervus elaphus, etc. were collected by fishermen at the sea bottom in Bohai Sea. South to above localities, the same case was reported from Benghu, Taiwan Strait. The Benghu fauna includes Equus przewalskii, Elaphurus menziesianus, Bubalus youngi, etc. Further south, the Pleistocene mammals such as Cervus eldi were reported found at the sea bottom in Beibu Gulf. The present authors have examined some of the fossils found at the above mentioned sea bottoms. Further east to Bohai Sea, the Pleistocene fossil mammals were reported found at the sea bottom in the Seto Inland Sea, West Japan (Otsuka, 1988). The Seto fauna is similar to that of Locality 1 of Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site. The sea bottom faunas are therefore found in all parts of East Asia. The fossils from the sea bottoms are well preserved and show no trace of long-distant transport, they are evidently the remains of animals lived there when the sea level was deep down below the present during the cold period, i.e. by glaciation. On the other hand, in western Europe, there were three important cold periods when the Siberian faunas reached there. They were correlated with the oxygen isotope Stage 16 (620 - 655 kya), 6 (127 - 183 kya), 2-4 (11 - 68 kya) respectively (Bonifay, 1980). The cold faunas migrated from Siberia to western Europe during the periods. The study of Chinese loess by Kukla (1977), Kukla and An (1989) shows that the cold periods did exist during Pleistocene and can be correlated with classical European glacial stages. The alter of cold and temperate climates in the Pleistocene was ultimately controlled by the change of the average incoming solar radiation in the winter half year of northern hemisphere on the earth's surface (Xu Q et al., 1991), or by the slow change in the geometry of the earth's orbit. It was therefore a global phenomenon. It is this phenomenon that influence the dispersal events, or the variation of geographic distribution of cold or temperate animals and their development.There is few mammal fossil record in the strata formed during the first cold period (620 - 655 kya) of Pleistocene in North-east China. The faunas between the first and second cold periods (183 - 620 kya), Miaohoushan fauna (about 330 kya) is formed uniquely by temperate forms. While Jinniushan fauna (about 280 kya), composed mostly of the temperate forms, had some cold forms (e.g. Mammuthus sungari, Coelodonta antiguitatis). It implies that there was a sub-cold period around 280 kya in the region. The faunas during the second cold period and between the second and third cold periods are found few. In the third cold period (11 - 68 kya), the records are numerous, such as Guxiangtun, Yushu, Qingtoushan etc. In this period, the cold and pro-cold forms were numerous, prevalent and persistent, while the temperate forms such as Equus hemionus, E. dalianensis, E. przewalskii, Sus scrofa, Cervus nippon, C. elaphus, Megaloceros ordosianus, Capreolus manchuricus, Bison exiguus, Bos primigenius, Gazella przewalskii etc. were also abundant and persistent. After the third cold period, the North-east China returned to temperate period, the cold forms such as mammoths and woolly rhinos were all extinct while pro-cold forms such as reindeer and moose are limited only in the northern part of North-east China.


There was a sub-cold period between the first and second cold periods in North-east China and it needs to be confirmed if it was a local event or larger scaled one. The mammoth and woolly rhino reached Liaoling, the southern part of north-east China during this sub-period (around 280 kya). The faunas of the third cold period of the region were composed of cold forms as well as temperate forms. The latter were still the majority of the faunas. It can be concluded that the temperature during the period did decrease, but not very much. While the snow and glacier formed during the longer winter of the period in high latitude regions reflected more solar radiation than during temperate periods, and that caused the strong decrease of temperature and increase of ice mountains and pole hat in these regions. It can also be inferred that the mammoths were pushed southward, the sea level was dropped down by the enlarging pole hat and ice mountains in the high latitude regions in this cold period.



The present work is supported by Paleontology and Paleoanthropology Special Research Fund of Chinese Academy of Sciences No.982304. The present authors acknowledge Professor Fang Xiaomin and the organizing committee of International Symposium on Paleosol and Climate for editing and publishing this paper.



Fang Xiao-Min1, Li Ji-Jun1, R. Van der Voo3, Subir Banerjee2, Yugo Ono4, Li Bingyuan5, Nu Lianqing1, Yan Maodu1

1Dept. of Geography, Lanzhou Univ., Lanzhou, Gansu, PR China (

2 Institute for Rock Magnetism, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN55455-0128, U.S.A.

3Department of Geol. Sci., the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1063, USA.

4Graduate School of Environ. Earth Sci., Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060 Japan

5Institute of Geography, CAS, Beijing

Organic C-14, TL, IRSL and paleomagnetic dating of pedostratigraphy in the western Loess Plateau and the eastern Tibetan Plateau has show that paleosol sequences in these areas are not older than 0.8-1.1 Ma BP, suggesting that there must have had a big circualtion change occurred at that time. Uplift of the Tibetan Plateau to a critical height is thought the major factor driving this circulation shift. Spatial observation of paleosol sequences over the western Loess Plateau and the eastern Tibetan Plateau shows that paleosol sequence in the southern part of the eastern Tibetan Plateau is quite diferent from its northern part and the western Loess Plateau (the later two are very similar). It seems that in low frequency paleosol sequences in the western Loess Plateau and the northern part of the eastern Tibetan Plateau are chiefly controlled by eccentricity of 100-ka cycle overlapped with obliquity of 41-ka cycle and precession of 21-ka cycle; while in the southern part of the eastern Tibetan Plateau paleosol sequences are principally affected by the obliquity and precession, as number of paleosols in the southern part of the eastern Tibetan Plateau is much higher than that in its northern part and the western Loess Plateau.

In high frequency, multi-climatic proxies (rock magnetic, carbonate, soil color and grain size) from four late Pleistocene century scale loess-paleosol records in the Lanzhou-Linxia region on the Chinese western Loess Plateau have shown that in the last glacial cycle, Asian summer monsoon experienced 27 episodic pulse enhancements spanning only ca.1-2 ka in high frequency domain and having at least 13 sub-Milankovitch cycles of progressive weakening in low frequency domain, and winter monsoon had at least 13 episodic cold surges. Soil formation is in surprisingly fast response to these warm pulses. In low resolution (104-year scale), both winter and summer monsoon changes match global climatic changes driven by global ice volume. But in high resolution (102 - 103-year scale), winter and summer monsoon seem to vary broadly in pace (for winter monsoon) or by 1-2 ka lag (for summer monsoon) with North Atlantic rapid climatic changes, with the most identified cold surges and warm enhancements correlated to Heinrich events, major warm (Dansgaard-Oeschger) episodes and long-term cooling (Bond) cycles of North Atlantic climatic records, respectively. But in detail, both monsoons show different variations from North Atlantic climatic changes. This is particularly evident in the Holocene when both winter and summer monsoons had large fluctuations, but the North Atlantic region shows a fair stable Holocene in climate. These suggest that in one hand there have strong links between Asian monsoon system and North Atlantic climatic system in much of the last glacial cycle, and in other hand Asian monsoon worked in its own way in some periods. However, present dating precision has limited our clarification of which system is the driving force.


Fang Xiao-Min a,b, Li Ji-Jun a, Rob Van der Voo b

a. Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, China, E-mail:, telfax: +86-931-891 3362.

b. Department of Geological Sciences, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1063, USA.

Paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, and grain size studies of a thick loess section in the West Qin Ling (mountain range), which forms the southern barrier of the Chinese Loess Plateau, show that loess in West Qin Ling started to be deposited about 800 ka and that it reveals a progressively increasing coarse grain size fraction upwards into the Holocene (> 32 ?m as well as > 63 ?m, i.e., coarser silt and sand size, respectively). The averages of these coarse size fractions are higher than in the central Loess Plateau, which was apparently farther from the source area, and slightly lower than those of the western Loess Plateau and the eastern Tibetan Plateau, which were therefore closer to the source area. The coarsening suggests (1) that Asian air circulation may have changed and intensified since 800 ka to allow dust to expand into West Qin Ling, (2) that dust-carrying winds were driven not only by the Asian winter monsoon caused by the Siberian-Mongolian High, but included also the westerlies and a winter monsoon caused by the Tibetan Plateau High, and (3) that intensification of all these air systems continues to the present. Increased elevation of the Tibetan Plateau so that it reached into the cryosphere by about 800 ka and a subsequent persistent uplift of the Plateau may have been the mechanisms to trigger and intensify the air circulation system. Moreover, this circulation shift and intensification, simultaneous with a shift in Milankovitch periodicity, may have contributed to large global climate changes such as the 15 % increase in global ice volume at ca. 800 ka.

Key words: Rock magnetism, grain size, Asia monsoon, air circulation, Tibetan Plateau Uplift


Alexandra Golyeva

Institute of Geography Russean Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia

Biomorphic analysis is the study of the macro and micro remains of biota (biomorphs) in the context of the conditions of their origin. The main perpose of biomorph analysis are the diagnostics of modern and past conditions of pedogenesis, revealing of evolutinary trends of soils and natural and anthropogenic pedosediments, soil-forming rocks, and soil cover. These problems can be soved on the basis of data of biomorph morphology, mainy via the reconstruction of vegetation conditions. Some of the biomorphs are: phytoliths, spores and pollen, diatoms, sponge spicules, cuticle casts, detritus and so on.Paleoenvironmental reconstructoins based on biomorph analysis were done in the humid, semihumid and arid zones of Russian Plain. Early Holocene (7520+ 150 B.P.) darc brown and black soil lenses were studied in the Komi Republic (North-East of Russian Plain, middle taiga). Biomorph analysis had showed woody and herb detritus and bark. Phytoliths are rare, all of them being typical of the taiga flora. Abundant are spicules of fresh water sponges. We suggested that these lenses had resulted from natural catastrophic events which caused strong fires in the territory followed by intense erosion. All soil processes seemed to take place under invariably cold climate conditions yet with a changing wetness. The following chronosequence in the early Holocene was done: cold and wet stage dominated by open spruce-birch moss forest; cold and dry stage with frequent fires; and cold and wet stage with intense erosion which buried the fire traces.

Analysis paleosols of the Late Pleistocene (about 22000 - 24000 B.P.) was done in the Branskaia oblast (broad-leaves dicedeous forests; middle Russian Plain). The results allowed to picked out the next 3 stages of the environment reconstruction: first - cold and wet, dinamic, loesses formation; second (short) - cold and dry, stabilization, soil formation, vegetation similar to forest-tundra; third - again wet, dinamic, water erosian, loesses buried soil.

Analysis of soils buried under barrows of different age (4000 - 2000 B.P.) in the semidesert region of the Russian Plain South (Kalmikia) had showed that after hot and wet period of the bronze age was hot and dry sarmats stage. Then again worm and wet climate was. Modern climate is dry and hot.



Gong Zi-Tong, Liu Liang-Wu

Institute of Soil Science, Academia SinicaP.O.Box821, Nanjng210008, P. R. China

China has vast in territory, complication in natural conditions. The type of paleosols are diversified from the coast of the East Sea to the Tibet Plateau, and from the hills and mountains of South China to the Loess Plateau and the desert of north China. And the paleosols and environment in high-cold region of Tibet Plateau, in arid and semi-arid regions of Northwest China and in east monsoon region have various features, respectively.

High-cold region of Tibet Plateau The uplift of the Tibet Plateau has an effect on the distribution pattern of paleosols in this region and their development. Tibet Plateau has undergone 3-4 glaciations under the influence of global climate change, and the paleospls of mid Pleistocene, late Pleistocene and Holocene are reserved in 4 sets of tills. They are characterized by compact structure, gaily colour, intensive weathering and iron-stained matrix. According to paleosol feature, botanical fossil and pollen analysis, the buried soils in the region can be divided into 3 types: ustic luvisols, ustic cambisols and cryic cambisols. At the same time, the formation of the paleosols in interglacial stage faithfully records the environment change of Quaternary, such as the relation between paleosol and climate, paleosol and neotectonic movement, paleosol and vegetation change, etc.

Arid and semiarid region of Northwest China the paleosols within the sediment of loess and wind drift sand are a specific style in the region. Loess with deep sediment is widespread in China, and there are several layers, even several decades of buried soils in it. The paleosols can differentiate into apparent argillic and carbonate illuvial horizons. Of them a loess-paleosol sequence of Luochuan site is a representive of environment change of Quaternary for the loess region.

The buried soils covered by eolian sands are distributed from Hulunbeier sand land via keerxin sand ground extending to Shanbei and Gonghe basin of Qinghai provience. They have reflected evolution of soil environment for several thousands of years under the action of natural and human factors. Besides, the formation of relict solonchaks and relict bog soils indicates the change of climate, relief and hydrologic conditions here, as well as the influence of human activities.

East monsoon regionthe paleosols on fluvial and lacustrine deposits are dominant in the northern part of this region. The Huang-Huai-Hai Plain has undergone 3 sedimentation-soil formation cycles since late Pleistocene, where formed two great types of paleosols : relict vertisols and buried vertisols. It is a good indicator for ground water with climate fluctuation that several layers of calcareous concretion formed in different geologic periods and their chemical properties change with time. And paleosol horizon with calcareous concretion and dark paleosol horizon are soil-forming product in late Pleistocene and mid Holocene, respectively.

The ancient red earths are found quite extensively in the south part of the region. Using stable isotope and soil magnetic susceptibility, the study reveals paleoclimate change in the region, especially paleotemperature change, showing some peaks and valleys in the curves of13C and MS against soil profile. Of course, the peaks formed by paleosol reflect that the weather at that time was warm and humid, plants grew luxuriantly, while the valleys are contrary. Quaternary paleoclimate change was conjectured by properties of buried soils on basalt in Leizhou peninsula. At the beginning of middle Pleistocene, the paleoclimate was colder and mean annual temperature was about 13 C less than present one. In mid part of middle Pleistocene the paleoclimate had become warmer. During late Pleisticene the climate continued becoming warmer and was as same as present one. Above-mentioned fact shows the formation of paleosols here has never interrupted since late Pleistocene.


Raisa G. Gracheva

Institute of Geography of Russian Academy of Science, Staromonetny 29, Moscow 109017 Russia

The transformation of soils properties and soil cover under the past climate changes in the wet-dry climatic regions of Cuba was studied and the possibilities of reconstruction of landscape processes using soil as a recording system were considered. The next group of data were used: 1) present space distribution of soils and parent rocks; 2) mineralogical composition of parent rocks as a precondition of ways and products of weathering (congruent or incongruent dissolution and transformation of minerals); 3) present and buried soils properties (depth, texture, clay mineralogy); 4) known changes of Caribbean climate; 5) events of anthropogenic history of Cuba.). Study was based on analysis of responses of parent rocks, products of weathering and soils on different climate impacts. It is shown that evidences of humid tropical weathering and pedogenesis of pre-Pleistocene are existed now only in soils formed on rocks containing the phyllosilicates and partly in accumulative positions of relief. Non-phyllosilicate rocks were subjected to dissolving, a great amount of weathered matter was lost and thick soil profiles were not formed. The beginning of Pleistocene was resulted in loss of soil particles, formation of shallow coarse residual soils and space redistribution of mineral matter due to the active erosion caused by climate aridisation and deforestation. The pluvial periods of Pleistocene were resulted in activisation of dissolution or transformation of mineral matter of soils (depending of parent rocks mineralogical composition). In dry periods of Pleistocene the temps of this processes decreased and soils were cut by erosion. The main features of present soil cover were formed during the Holocene. Natural patterns of soil space distribution partly were changed then under human activity. The pecularities of soil cover of different periods of human activity which caused the local climate changes were established.



Naiqin Zhengtang GUOa Tungsheng LIUa Nicolas FEDOROFFb Lanying WEIa Zhongli DINGa WUa Huoyuan LUa Wenying JIANGa and Zhisheng ANc

aInstitute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9825, Beijing 100029, China

bDEMOS, AGER, Institut National Agronomique P-G, Thiverval-Grignon 78850, France

cXian Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box. 17, Xian 710054

The loess-palaeosol sequences of the last 1.2 Ma in China have recorded two kinds of climate extremes: the strongly developed S4, S5-1, and S5-3 soils (corresponding to marine stages 11, 13, and 15, respectively) evidence three episodes of great warmth; two coarse-grained loess units (L9 and L15, corresponding to marine stages 22-23-24 and 38, respectively) indicate severest glacial conditions. The climatic and geographical significance of these events are still unclear, and the cause remains a puzzle.

Palaeopedological, geochemical and magnetic susceptibility data from three loess sections (Xifeng, Changwu and Weinan) suggest that the S4, S5-1 and S5-3 soils were formed under sub-tropical semi-humid climates with a tentatively estimated mean annual temperature (MAT) of at least 4-6 C higher and a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of about 200-300 mm higher than for the present-day, indicating a much strengthened summer monsoon. The annual rainfall was particularly accentuated for the southern-most part of the Loess Plateau, suggesting that the monsoon rain belt (the contact of the monsoonal northward warm-humid air mass with the dry-cold southward one) might have stood at the southern part of the Plateau for a relatively long period each year. The loess units L9 and L15 were deposited under semi-desertic environments with tentatively estimated MAP and MAT of only about 1.5-3 C and 150-250 mm, indicating a much strengthened winter monsoon, and that the summer monsoon front could rarely penetrate into the Loess Plateau region.

Correlation with marine carbon isotope records suggests that these climate extremes have large regional, even global significance, rather than being local phenomena in China. They match the periods with greatest/smallest Atlantic-Pacific 13C gradients, respectively, indicating their relationships with the strength of Deep Water (NADW) production in the North Atlantic. These results suggest that the monsoon climate in the Loess Plateau region was significantly linked with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation on timescales of 104 year.



Han Jiamao Jiang Wenying Chu Jun

Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

Two main kinds of models have been proposed to explain the mechanism of the magnetic enhancement of paleosol developed on the Chinese loess, i.e. depositional model and pedogenic model. The dilution of a relatively constant of fine-grained strong magnetic dust from remote sources by weaker magnetic eolian silt of local source during cold episodes was suggested by depositional model. Pedogenic model, however, emphasizes the contribution of in situ production of ultrafine grained strong magnetic particles by chemical, biochemical or biogenic actions during soil forming processes. A technique of grain separation is used to study the grain size distribution of magnetic minerals in loess and paleosol. The representative samples of S1 and L2 taken from Jixian, Xifeng, and Xining along E-W transect of Loess Plateau were subdivided into eight grain size groups by both depositional method and centrifugal method. The products of grain separation were carefully weighed, and then the percentages of each group to the total sample were calculated. Systematic measurements of magnetic parameters were carried out on each group. The results of magnetic measurement show that:

1) For loess samples from three sites, values of magnetic susceptibility in different grain sizes are in the same order. There is no apparent difference between different groups. In the paleosols, it is however that the magnetic susceptibility of the fine grains increases a great deal.

2) The susceptibility of loess samples was mainly contributed by the most coarse grain (>10 mm particles), up to 75 - 90 % of total percentage based on the calculated relative contribution. The fine grains (<1 mm) contribute little to the total magnetic susceptibility (< 5 %). For the paleosol, the coarsest particles, constituting 65 - 70 % of total mass, contribute only 30 - 40 % of total susceptibility. Other grains play more important role to magnetic enhancement in paleosol.

3) The contribution of fine grain increases a lot in paleosol. It is, however, the finest grains (< 0.5 mm) do not contribute much to the total magnetic susceptibility (< 5 %) in paleosols. It does not support the pedogenic model.

4) The grain size distribution of strong magnetic particles in loess seems to be mainly PSD and MD particles. The SD particle plays an important role in paleosol.


Hao Yongping Fang Xiaomin Li Jijun

Department of Geography, Lanzhou University Lanzhou, Gansu 730000

State Key Laboratory of Resource and Environment Information System,

Institute of Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100101

Soils are formed under certain biological climates, especially on the region of Loess Plateau and northeastern Tibetan Plateau in China with climatic conditions changing from subhumid to arid. In this paper, 32 soil sections were sampled (collected) for measuring chemical elements contents, clay content, and etc.. For carbonate analyses, 60 soil sections in total were collected (sampled) and establish liner regressive equation between CaCO3 and mean annual precipitation (P). Furthermore, five sensitive indicators in 23 symmetrically distributed sections were selected for stepwise regressive analyses, and establish equations between key indicators and climatic conditions: 1) CaO and P; 2) SiO2 and mean annual temperature (T). Finally, equations above were checked with three typical soil-paleosol sequences in the region.

It was proved that the variation of paleoclimates reflected by transformation functions (transfunction) accorded closely with the climatic pattern resulted from recent works. Which indicated that it was about 140 ka BP, summer monsoon reached Lanzhou indeed or further, paleosol S1 (equaling to MIS 5 in deep sea records) developed strongly in a large scale, even touching upon northeastern Tibetan Plateau. And, the estimated P-T information also indicated the cold and humid period during 50-30 ka BP, mean annual precipitation was about 400-500 mm in Angutan recorded by interglacial paleosol Sm.



Hu Shuangxi and Yang Taibao

Department of Geographical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou,730000, China


There are several mountain ranges in the Northwest of China, such as the Tianshan mountains, the Qilian mountains, the Arerjinshan mountains,and the Kuen-Lun mountains, all with the elevation of 4000¡“5000 meters. In the alpine zone large quatities of glacier tills extend several kilometers from the end of existing glaciers. After the morains breaking away from the glaciers, the microbe communities appear immdiatelly on the surface of the glacial boulders, which start the soil-forming processes of alpine soils. From the appearance of microbial and algae communities, then lichen and moss grew,finally plant evolved into alpine meadow. with same pace of vegetation changes, the development of alpine soils is original soil firstly, then alpine desert soil, and alpine meadow soil in the end. The alpine soils have negative temperature and ice body, which undergoes a freezing-theawing-freezing process with state changes of ice-water-ice. Frost heaving and stone polygons developed on the soil surface, and soils have weak humification and decomposition of minerals.

This article mainly discuss the climatical and glacier changes as well as the pattern of the alpine soils evolution, and reveal the process of the soil evolution and lts characteristics in phisics and chemistry.

I. The Fresh Tills and The Original Alpine Soil

If no substantial erosion or deposition takes place, soil-forming processes modify exposed glacier sediments. These processes involve the vertical movement of carbonate, iron oxides, silicates and Other Chemicals in soil solutions. Compared to weathered tills, fresh tills were deposited in front of the existing glaciers, formed during the last 30 years. These tills extend outward 100-150m from the end part of the existing glaciers and harbour buried stagnat ice. Annual air temperature of the region of the fresh tills is about -7.0 - 7.5 oC with >400mm of precipitation. Because the fresh tills are a comparatively recent formations, there is no advanced plant lived on the surface of these tills. Original soil occurs in the above mentioned pedogenic settings.Pedogenic environmant of alpine original soil is characterized by the developmeut of microbial, algae communities and bryophyte and the beginning of weak humification on the surface of the debris. when the melttill is completely exposed from ice, microbial communities oppear immediately on the surface of the debris. In the initial stage of the life cycle of the communities one gram of soil substance contains about 105 microbical bodies, and the amount of the living things increases double and redouble year by year.

The microbial communities involves 95% of no-gemma bacteria, 0.05% of gemma of bacteria, 0.04% of fungus and others.The accumulation of organicmatter created by the communites lead to the flourishing of lichen, such as Protococeus, Gloeocapsa, chrococcus and Stigouema etc., and thus the surface of the fresh debirs shows brown.Because of photosynthesis and holding water of algae,organic matter in the original soils measures by 3-5 g/kg, PH value of the soils at 8.0~8.1. Soil clay minerals mainly are composed of illite element.

II. The Little Ice Age tills and The Development of Alpine desert soils.

The second group of glacier tills is present at the 500-1000m lower from modern glaciers. These are probably Little Ice Age sediments based on 14C dating(100-400 a B.P.) Compared to fresh tills, little Ice Age morains are Characterized by exist on their surface more abundant living things, including not only microbial and algae communities,but also lichen,bryophyte and padflora. Alpine desert soil, developed in the above mationed settings, has made great advances in their soil forming processes.It is a matter of common observation that there is a steady increase in the accumulation of humus, nitrogen-fixing and the cation exchange capacity of the soil. The amount of Al2O3, Fe2O3 and P2O5 in alpine desert soil is much more than that in original soil.Although soil clay minerals mainly are composed of illite, such as in original soil, but there is a great increase in the component of montmorillonite,wohich suggests that there is a stronger process of soil weathering in alpine desert soil.

III. The Neoglaciation tills and the alpine meadow soil.

The third group of glacier tills is located at 3000-5000 m far from the second (Little Zce Age tills),the radiocarbon age of which 2800-6000 a B.P refers to the climatic Optimum Period. The Neoglaciation tills are distinguished by on which high plant covering level (80-90 %) and powerful soil forming processes. The succession of living things evolved to the climax of alpine meadow flora, correspondingly developed the alpine meadow soil,the profile of which can be divided into three layers: upper is 8-10cm thickness of mattic epipedon (sod), it is formed due to unbalanced accumulationand decomposition of soil organic materials, and also it is suitable to be used as the diagnostic horizon of alpine meadow soil for Chinese Soil Taxonomic Classification. Midlle layear is about 10cm thickness of humus horizon,The amount of soil organic materials is about 120-240 g/kg. Lower is weathering horizon of Neoglaciaton tills or soil parent material. The quantity of CaCO3 in the soil is about 28-40 g/kg with pH value 6.6-8.3.

IV. The Last Glaciation Maximum tills and The Development of AlpineMeadow Soil Or Alpine Steppe Soil.

The last proup of goacier tills is compared with the deposits of the Last Glaciatis Maximum(LGM), Located at 3000-5000 m far from the Neoglaciatios tills. It is coverd completly by alpine meadow and subalpine meadows flora (covering level >80 %).In the distribution region of LGM tills annul air tempratune is about -2.5-3.0 C, and annul precipitation is about 400 mm. Soil profile can be devided apparently into sod,humus,weak illuvial and weathering parent material layers. The amount of soil organic materials is about 187 g/kg, CaCO3 4-5 g/kg, PH value 7.5-7.8.

In the western part of Qilian mountains and Arerjin mountains,because the amount of pricipitation in alpine zone is very small (<300mm), the vegetation in alpine zone is mainly composed of steppe flora. In the above metioned environment, development of alpine steppe soil replaces that of alpine meadow soil. Alpine steppe soil is characterized by dry and cold conditions for soil forming processes,very little accumulation of organic materialsin soil(5-6g/kg) and very much content of CaCO3 (100-150g/kg).

V. Conclusion

On the edge of the existing glaciers in alpine zone in high mountains of North western China Four groups of glacier tills have been deposited during the late pleistocene, corresponding the evolution of soil-plant systems can be divided into four stages. In the initial stage, microbial and algae communities appeared firstly and formed original soil.During the second stage,Lichen,moss and pad flora started their life and at same time developed alpine desert soil, and in the final stage, they evolved into alpine meadow or alpine steppe flora /soil.

It has been shown that the progressive uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang plateau and surrounding mountains resulted in the progressive process of dry in the Northwestern China since the late pleistocene.For example, only for the last 400 a, the air tempreature in alpine zone has rised by 1.0-1.3 C,at same time , the precipitation decreased by 50-60 mm, which led to the large quatities of glaciers disappeared and retreated. The evolution of alpine soils is closely related to the climatical and glacier changes.



Hu Xuefeng and Gong Zitong

Institute of Soil Science, Academia Sinica, Nanjing, 210008

The Quaternary red clay of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, always wears a "yellow cap", which actually is a layer of the Xiashu Loess. Several typical profiles were studied, and it was found that the modern soil developed on the Xiashu Loess was yellow-brown earth, the ratios of SiO2/Al2O3 and SiO2/(Fe2O3+Al2O3) of its clay(<0.002mm) were 2.98 and 2.30 respectively, free and active iron oxide degrees were 59.07% and 47.50% respectively, and the dominant clay minerals were hydromica, vermiculite and kaolinite, as well as some of montmorillonite; while the paleosol developed on the buried Quaternary red clay was red earth, the ratios of SiO2/Al2O3 and SiO2/(Fe2O3+Al2O3) of its clay(<0.002mm) were 2.40 and 1.85 respectively, free and active iron oxide degrees were 84.3% and 5.3% respectively, and the dominant clay minerals were badly crystallized kaolinite, as well as a little of hydromica and vermiculite. It indicated that the buried Quaternary red clay and its paleosol suffered higher weathering than the Xiashu Loess and its yellow-brown earth, and the climate of the former was warmer and more humid than that of the latter.

According to the principle of soil genesis, the mean annual temperature and annual rainfall suitable for the yellow-brown earth formation are 14.5-16.4oC and 800-1300mm respectively; while those suitable for the red earth formation are 17.4oC and 1710mm respectively. Hence, it was considered that the mean annual temperature when the buried red earth was formed were 1-3oC higher than the modern climate when the yellow-brown earth was formed; and the annual rainfall 400-900mm higher.

Also, according to the chronology study, the Quaternary red clay was formed under several interglacial climates from the late Early Pleistocene to the end of the Middle Pleistocene; while the Xiashu Loess was formed under the last glacial stage of the Late Pleistocene, and it was ealian deposit formed in the dry and cold environment. However, Because the Last Glacial Stage was followed by the best suitable stage with warm and humid climate, the ealian loess suffered strong weathering afterwards, and under present post- glacial climate, it has developed to yellow-brown earth.



W. Kainz , S. Wansa

Geologisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt, 06035 Halle

Paleosoils are known from several places in the Eastern forelands of the Harz mountains. By correlation with neighbouring areas, they are dated mostly as Eemian. No age determinations were made. By geological mapping, a new locality of paleosoils was found in an opencast sand mine near Hedersleben, about 8 km ENE of Eisleben, district-capital. The opencast mining is situated on the southern slope of the Laweke-valley leading to the Salza- and Saale-meadows. Within the slope, the opencast mining is located in a flat hollow of about 300 m in diameter wich is penetrated by two joining erosion channels. On the surface, calcaric regosols are developed in sand loess. They are associated with chernozems. The climate is dry and warm. Annual temperature amount to 8.5 Celsius degrees in average, annual percipitation is about 450 mm. From top to bottom, the Quaternary sequence consists of sand loess, solifluction and water displaced loess covering Saalian till, solifluction till and glaciofluviatile sand wich are underlayed by presaalian glaciolacustrine sand. Thickness of the singel beds is quite varying. The whole thickness of the Quaternary deposits in the outcrop is unknown. It reaches 22 m in a drilling 350 m to the North. In the mentioned well section the Quaternary sediments overlay sandstones and siltstones of the Upper Buntsandstein deposits wich contain four gypsum beds. The Upper Buntsandstein beds dip gently to the Northeast. They are cutted by the slope surface. Morphological position and increasing thickness of solifluction and water displaced loess as well as of glaciolacustrine sand in direction to the central part of the hollow make subrosion origin probable. Subrosion could be caused by solution of the gypsum beds. The subrosion depression led to the conservation of the paleosoil sequence.

The investigated paleosoil sequence is located on the eastern wall of the opencast sand mine. The wall shows a complete section through the Weichselian deposits of the subrosion depression. The paleosoil sequence is complex by means of erosion, deposition, soil development and solifluction. It is superimposed by calcareous impregnation. A cyclic succession within the loess sequence was observed. A complete cycle contains the following sediments and phenomena from bottom to top:

The observed paleosoil sequence is situated in the late Saalian to Weichselian periglacial region. That's why it is supposed that sediment cycles are caused by climate changes. This assumption corresponds with observations in lacustrine environments. The soil represents the most optimal climate conditions within each cycle. So the soil development reached stages from luvisol and podzoluvisol to chernozem.

A first age determination (14C, made by GEYH, Niederschsisches Landesamt Bodenforschung Hannover) results in 27,400 years b.p. for redeposited humous sediments at the top of a thick luvisol/podzoluvisol sequence.


King, M.1), Busacca, A.2), McDonald, E.2), Kemp, R.1)

1) Centre for Quaternary Research, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom.

2) Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, Geology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA.

Loess up to 75 m thick with over 21 interstratified palaeosols spanning the last 1.1 Ma years and perhaps the whole of the Quaternary covers more than 20 000 km2 of the Columbia Plateau, Northwest USA. The loess stratigraphy potentially contains one of the most detailed, high resolution proxy records of climatic change in this region during the Quaternary.

Repeated episodes of Pleistocene cataclysmic outburst floods from ice dammed glacial lake Missoula (Northern Montana) episodically surged across the region during the retreat of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet depositing extensive fine grained slackwater sediments. These were then deflated, transported and deposited as loess by regional westerly winds. The sub horizontal loess-palaeosol sequence of the Palouse being topographically above the Lake Missoula floodwaters did not incur significant erosion and represents the main body of loess on the Columbia Plateau. The sequence progressively thins towards the east the further the distance from the loess source regions along a strong present day precipitation gradient.

Research to date has primarily concentrated on the field identification and regional correlation of loess and palaeosol units of the last glacial cycle (Wisconsin) within the semi arid, high resolution sequences proximal to the source areas.

The main aim of this study is to provide a detailed palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the evolution of the loess-palaeosol sequence at one site proximal to the sediment source areas, thus establishing a baseline stratigraphy beyond that of the last glacial cycle. Micromorphological observations utilising a pedosedimentary approach form the main basis of the study along with supporting palaeoenvironmental proxies such as particle size, bulk CaCO3, magnetic susceptibility and stable isotope analysis of pedogenic carbonate. Recently obtained thermoluminescence dates and known dated intercalated tephra layers provide a tight chronological control to the sequence.



Kovda, O. Chichagova, A. Golyeva

Institute of Geography, Moscow,Russia

This paper outlines a detailed study to obtain data on the age and paleoenvironment of Vertisols in order to reconstruct the history of the landscape and soils of the North Caucasus region. Data was obtained from a sequence of three Vertisol pedons - the depression, the microslope, and the mound of a gilgai complex. These soils formed on neogene marine clays in steppe of the North Caucasus, Russia. The gilgai of the area is normal with an amplitude of 0.3 to 0.5 m.

The soil pedons were examined and described in the field together with geobotanical examination of the site. Radiocarbon dating was obtained on carbonate nodules and on selected horizons from the three pedons. Phytolith analysis was performed on bulk samples > 2 mkm from the main genetic horizons across the microcatena. Stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen were used as indicators of carbonates and humus formation.

Contemporary wetness conditions in the microcatena is reflected in the C-14 dates from the deepest horizons (5610180 in the mound, 3720180 in the microslope and 2290430 in the depression). The similar trend was found for carbonates nodules: 1880120 (mound) and 1300130 (depression). These Vertisols should have an age of at least 2500 to 3000 years more old if the coefficient of humus rejuvenation proposed by Alexandrovsky and Chichogova (1997) is applied.

The increasing of phytolith in abundance suggest a buried surface at a depth of 36-55 cm in the mound, 70-105 cm in the microslope, and 40-65 cm in the depression. The absence of diatoms in the mound pedon conforms that the site was not waterlogged prior to gilgai formation. Phytoliths of forest cereals were found up to 30 - 80 cm depth. Comarum palustre was found by geobotanical examination. This boreal species normally does not exist in the piedmont of the North Caucasus.

Forms of carbonates were investigated. It is believed that soft spots ( 18O =+23.2...+26.3 %o;13C =-8.8...-11.5 +%o) were formed in different environments than nodules (18O = +31.1...+32.2 %o; 13C =-10.3...-11.8 %o). Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes indicate the contemporary formation of the soft spots. The nodules are expected to be formed under a more humid and warm climate, probably of mid-Holocene.13C of humus is -25.5 %o in the mound, decreasing to -23.3 %o in the midslope (at 70-105 cm) and -23.0 %o in the depression (130-150 cm). The last data from depression are characteristic of arid conditions of pedogenesis (Ryskov, 1997).

Analysis of the data shows a complicated paleoecology of the region during Holocene up to the present time including more dry period indicated by humus, more warm and wet period indicated by carbonates, and more humid and cold period indicated by forest species. The paleoenvironment is recorded along the gilgai microcatena. The most complete information is recorded in the microdepression profile. Nevertheless, it is necessary to study all gilgai complex to get the full and reliable data for reconstruction of environmental changes.




Institute of biology, Karelian Research Centre, Petrozavodsk, Russia

After the deglaciation approximately 12000 years B.P. climate on the territory of Eastern Fennoscandia changed radically several times. Both temperature and moisture content varied greately, thus providing vegetation successions and markable changes in soil formation. The following soil profiles are described as the examples for past Holocene climatic periods effect on soil profiles morphilogy.

The poligenetic profiles described formation is ascribed to climatic changes in Holocene on the territory of Eastern Fennoscandia. In most cases the evolution led to hydromorphism reduction. However, big lakes (such as Onega and Ladoga) level fluctuated significantly, and usually the ground water level in soils of low lake terraces even increased.

Vegetation succession seems to be a significant factor in soil genesis changes. We consider that Albeluvisols and Planosols formation was connected with the Atlantic period luxuriant vegetation.

We propose that in most cases climatic, water level, and vegetation changes were relatively rapid, so that a new profile started its development, while the older one was preserved practically untouched.



Li Jijun

Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu, P.R. China

The latest research demonstrated that the Qingzang (Tibetan) Plateau began rapid uplift at about 3.6 Ma. Subsequent rapid uplift commenced at about 2.6 Ma and 1.7 Ma. These three phases (A, B and C) of the tectonic uplift, called Qingzang or Tibetan movement, have caused the previous planation surface under lowland environment to change into a high plateau with high mountains and deep basins, and the reorganization of drainage. Large drainage systems such as Huang He (Yellow River) and Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) appeared since 1.7 Ma and started to incise the Plateau. Accordingly, fan boulder conglomerates were formed around the rim of the Plateau and feet of mountains on the Plateau. For example, on the northern slope of the intensely uplifted Himalayas, conglomerate deposits called Gongba conglomerate superimposed unconformably on the late Cenozoic lacustrine stratigraphy containing Hipparion, yielding strong evidence to mountain rising. the previous view of regarding this conglomerate as glacioaqueous deposits seems inappropriate. From 1.2 Ma, the Tibetan Plateau experienced again an intense uplift as indicated by shrinkage of early Pleistocene lakes such as those in Kunlun Shan and Qaidam Basin and appearance of new fan conglomerates such as those at Mengda Shan in the Xunhua Basin with ages of 1.2 - 0.8 Ma. We called this tectonic uplift Kunlun-Huang He (abbreviated Kunhuang) movement. It caused strong left-lateral striking slipping along Kunlun Shan and Qilian Shan and rising of Kunlun Shan to high mountains. The uplift contributed by vertical component of this striking slipping reaches over 1,000 m. A large body of evidence has concluded that only after 0.8 Ma, much of mountains on the Plateau rose over snow line, beginning to form large scale of glaciation. However, subsequent uplift has led the Himalayas as a barrier to hinder the inflowing of moisture of Indian monsoon to the Plateau, causing a drying of the Plateau and rising of snow line, thus the scale of late glaciation decreased, rather increased. Up to now, the maximum scale of the earliest (at or < 0.8 Ma) glaciation on the Plateau was only hundred thousands of square kilometers. Even in the source area of Huang He, there may have developed a small ice sheet of 50,000 km2. But the whole Plateau was never covered by a big ice sheet. The Quaternary Plateau big ice sheet as proposed by M. Kuhle, Han Tonglin and others was not the case.


Li Xuyong1), Libaoguo1) and Zhong Junping2)

1)Department of Soil and Water,China Agicultural University,Beijing 100094,China

2)Department of Agronomy ,Xinjiang Agricultural University,Urumqi,830052,China

A compartment model dynamic equilibrium process of carbonate has been developed in Luochuan loess section of China. There are five major components in the simulation model: soil water balance model(including processes of soil evapotranspiration, runoff, infiltration and percolation), carbonate input of eolian dust, carbonate output of erosion, chemical thermodynamic relationships of CaCO3 and CaCO3 flux. The daily weather data is generated by a climate stochastic model(CLIMAK). The time scale is obtained from Kukla magnetic susceptibility age model. In the compartment model, the soil column is defined by a vertical sequence of 1-cm2-area compartments, each with a specified texture, bulk density, property of water-holding, pressure of soil-air CO2, ionic strength, temperature and parameter of vegetation. We derive a group of equations and use them to calculate net carbonate flux, carbonate flux by rain, eolian dust and erosion in each soil compartment. The influence of upper compartments are also determined.

The carbonate distribution and content that our model predicts closely resembles the measured result. This modeling indicates that the mean carbonate fluxes by rain, eolian dust and erosion are 0.14g/cm2 ka,1.45g/cm2 ka, and 6.89¡Á10-5g/cm2 ka respectively since the Late Pleistocene in Luochuan section. Evidently, eolian dust is the main source (91.55%) of carbonate. The rate of carbonate influx is much higher than that in soils with “non-loess” parent material. The result indicates that in the parts of S0, L1, and S1, the carbonate influxes are 2.12g/cm2 ka, 1.53g/cm2 ka, and 2.60g/cm2 ka. On the basis of this model, we quantitatively deduce the past climate (precipitation and temperature) over intervals of paleosols The model is also a valuable research tool for evaluating the role of state factors on soil CaCO3 .

Key words: Compartment model, Carbonate, Loess-paleosol sequence



Li Xuyong1 ,Li Baoguo1 and Guo Zhengtang2

1Department of Soil and Water,China Agicultural University,Beijing 100094,China

2Institute of Geology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100029,China

A soil development index has been developed in order to quantitatively measure the degree of paleosol development and environmental change. The index was well applied to the loess-paleosol sequences on the Loess Plateau of China.

Macro- and micromorphological properties of the Holocene and the Pleistocene loess in the Luochuan and Lanzhou sections were measured. Description of micromorphological properties was based on 187 thin sections. The described macromorphological properties are: clay films,total texture(texture, stickiness and plasticity), consistence(dry and wet), rubification (color hue and chroma), structure, melanization(color hue and chroma), secondary carbonate and pore. The micromorphological properties are: microstructure, fine material(<10 m), primary carbonate, biotite, fe(hydr)oxides, secondary carbonate and illuvial clay. Other properties can be added when more sections are studied. These individual properties were assigned points according to pedogenetic theory. For each layer, the quantified properties were normalized to a scale ranging from 0 to 1:

Yi=Xi/Xi max (i=1,2,...,n)

where Yi is the normalized value of i property, Xi is the quantified value and Xi max is its possible maximum value. The soil development index is indicated as:


SI= S Yi /n


where n is number of properties. If Yi is normalized value of macromorphologial properties, then SI is replaced with MaSI; if Yi is normalized value of micromorphologial

Table 1. Ranges of index values for separating soil, weak soil and loess in Luochuan










Malan Loess


Lishi Loess


Lishi Loess


weak soil



weak soil



weak soil







































N: number of samples

properties, then SI is replaced with MiSI.

Three ranges of index values were determined to distinguish soil, weak soil, and loess(Table 1). Using Kruskal-Wallis test, most of their means were found to be significantly different at the 1% level except for the index values of weak soil in Lower Lishi loess. The correct ratios are 90.9%, 87.8% and 90.2% for soil, weak soil and loess respectively. Further study shows that the sub-fluctuation of index value is distinct within a soil layer or a loess layer. Combining this analysis into ranges of index values, paleosols were successfully separated from loess-paleosol sequence. The soil development index has a high coherency with the stratigraphic changes and magnetic susceptibility changes, so that it is effective in measuring the degree of paleosol development and environmental change. Otherwise, it has explicit physical significance because the macro- and micromorphological properties are mainly effected by soil-forming factors. SI is the best of the three indices because it is more comprehensive and more precise than the other two.Because the description of macromorphological properties is easy, it is simple for MaSI to distinguish paleosol from loess-paleosol.

Key words Soil development index, Paleosol, The Loess Plateau of China


Liu Liang-wu, Institute of Soil Science, Academia Sinica

P.O. Box 821, nanjing210008, p. R. China

Paleosols in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain are mainly found in Huaibei Plain, Xuhuai Plain, Yishuhe Plain and Jilai Plain. They have undergone 3 sedimentation-soil formation cycles since late Pleistocene, consisting of soil horizon with calcareous concretion, dark soil horizon, topsoil horizon and/or warped horizon. As early as 1700 years ago, the soils were reclaimed to plant crops, even rice in favorable condition of hydraulic engineering. Therefore, the soils are considered as a superimposed paleosols developed on heterogeneous parent material during deferent geological period.

The soil horizon with calcareous concretion ,which developed on ancient fluvial deposit in the late Pleistocene, are characterized by rich in carbonate, ranging from 53.4 g/kg to 97.1 g/Kg. In reaction this horizon usually is slight alkaline. Both organic matter and nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorus are relatively low. CEC is only 15—16 cmol/Kg. And weathering-leaching intensity (ba value of more than 1.2) and development degree of the horizon are weak. Radiocarbon dating, spore-pollen analysis and geological information demonstrate that the soil horizon with concretion formed in the landscape of conifer-dominated conifer-broad leaf mixed forest-steppe, with a rather dry cool-temperate climate during 16770 a BP.

In general, the dark soil horizon on fluvial-lacustrine deposit is located under plowpan, with the thickness of 30 cm, neutral to somewhat alkaline. The horizon has black (dry, 10YR 3/1—10YR 5/1£” wet, 10YR 1/3) in color, but the content of organic carbon is not high due to high aromatization, ranging between 4.1 and 8.4 g/Kg with mean value of 5.9 g/Kg. The content of organic matter, total nitrogen and cation exchange capacity in the horizon are clearly more than those of above soil horizon with concretion, but amount of carbonate is nearly negligible. In view of soil formation while sedimentation during mid Holocene, development degree of the horizon is still rather weak. However, weathering-leaching intensity is relatively higher, with ba value of 0.9. Pollen analysis and zoolite discovered from this stratum show a landscape of marsh meadow. The 15 dark soil horizons sampled have a weighted average of 3535¡À150a BP, of which some horizons are much younger, only having 1705, 1830 and 1850 years, because they are at the bottom of depression in relief, fairly later in separating from marsh meadow environment. On the contrary, others at the highland in microrelief have been dated at 4130 and 4865 years, and so on.

The Huang-Huai-Hai Plain is one of old agricultural bases in China. The topsoil is getting light in color under the influence of human activities for 1700years. Mean content of organic carbon in topsoil horizon is 7.4 g/Kg and more than that of the dark soil horizon. Of course, the content of total N, P2O5 and K2O in this horizon is also the largest. If the topsoil horizon is covered by recent fluvial flood material with shallow thickness, this kind of material will be mixed with original topsoil and new properties won’t apparent. Otherwise, warped horizon formed will show new features, such as brown-red in color, abundant carbonate. Of them carbonate can increase to 120 g/Kg from 25 g/Kg of original topsoil.

From above mentioned, the paleosols in the Huang-huai-hai Plain are not a kind of soil derived from a single parent material. They have undergone 3 different geological periods (Q 33, Q42, Q43 ) and 3 cycles of deposition-soil formation, finally formed 2 layers of paleosol and a layer of modern cultivated soil overlying them. The paleosols have reflected changing environment since late Quaternary.



LIU Xiu-Ming

School of Earth Sciences, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Sydney, Australia

Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029


The loess and palaeosol sequence in Chinese Loess Plateau provides one of best continental geological record for Quaternary climatic historic study. Rock magnetic has proved to be one of most successful technique for the study, as the magnetic susceptibility is used as an index of pedogenesis in the record and widely accepted as an indicator of summer monsoon intensity for the past decade. It has been found that magnetite and maghaemite are the two main contributor to the magnetic susceptibility. Maghaemite is a common magnetic mineral in surfacial soils which has very similar physical properties to magnetite. For a long time investigators always simplify to treat maghaemite together with magnetite due to difficulty of separation and similarity in their physical properties. Some investigators once believed that chemical CBD technique can selectively remove pedogenic maghaemite and suggested that magnetic susceptibility signal was dominantly contributed by maghaemite rather than magnetite in Chinese loess. This CBD technique with theory of selectively remove pedogenic maghaemite has been proved to be not true by late compared studies. However maghaemite has been reported to be a thermally unstable magnetic mineral, perhaps to be the only exception to be distinguished from magnetite. By applied thermomagnetic technique to Xifeng and Luochuan samples from the top to L2, thermally unstable component can be systematically separated, which is about 10 (in soils) to 35 (loess) percentage of magnetisation, associated with a kink appears in about temperature 350 °C in both SIRM stepwise demagnetization curve and susceptibility-temperature curve. The thermally unstable component in Chinese loess and palaeosols is therefore assumed to be maghaemite in this study. Although maghaemite occurs in greater amounts in palaeosols than in loess units, its relative contribution to magnetisation is always low in soils and high in loess units, suggesting that at least some of the maghaemite is detrital, from the aeolian source area, while some maghaemite could be formed during pedogenesis. The magnetic susceptibility of loess and palaeosol sequence is therefore actually a comprehensive indicator of reflecting both source area and deposition area palaeoenvironments.


Lu Jinggang Tan Gennian

Zhejiang Agricultural University, China

In general, red paleosols developed in humid and hot climate. Regions in which climate allitization and deep weathering often take place. They are always characterized by red in color, clayey in texture, more acidic than its neighbouring soils. It is also called “Red Weathering Crust”.

During the Pliocene Epoch red weathering crust was widely developed in most parts of China. It was also developed in the Q-X Plateau. Since early Pleistocene Epoch (Q1) Q-X Plateau was uplifted higher and higher. This process resulted in the climate change cooler and cooler. Thus development of red weathering crust stopped. Therefore, most of the red paleosols on Q-X Plateau is the Tertiary paleosols.

Red paleosols can be found on Q-X Plateau in many places. Such as the famous Qomolangma mountain area with a height of 4900m a.s.l., the northern side of Cocoxili mountain area from Weixueshan to Qingyuhu with a height of 5010-5030m a.b.l., Daheba area of south coast region of the Qinghaihu Lake and other places on the northeast edge of Q-X Plateau. All those lines of evidence can be used as a fully prove of climate change.

The red paleosols on the Q-X Plateau may be compared with the red paleosols on the Loess Plateau of southern China. All of three belong to the Tertiary Sediment and can’t developed continuously after the Quaternary climate change. Bet the red paleosols on Q-X Plateau had been uplift to a heigher altitude and with cooler and arider climate than the latter plateaus. In most of the soils derived from the red paleosols on the Loess Plateau the followings are commonly seen: calcic free reation, weak acid, more Fe-Mn cutan on the soil structure surface, and sometimes Ca-concretions. These features may be associated with the humid climate. Those Tertiary red paleosols on Yuman Plateau are even more red, more acidic and with a very low K: ratio (0.8-1.0).

It is most likely that the mentioned above differences mainly resulted from the different degrees of the climate neotectonic uplift range. Of course, the recent soil development process is also an important factor.


Lu lianqing, Fang Xiaomin and Li Jijun

Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, 730000

High resolution magnetic suscepbility in the Jiuzhoutai loess section, Lanzhou shows a frequent variation comparable to the GRIP ice core and stacked marine isotope record. Weight percentage of > 40 m size fraction demonstrates at least eight evident maxima of coarse size fraction, some of which are comparable to cool events of C19--C24 revealed by planktonic foraminifera and ice-rafted detritus in the North Atlantic cores and GRIP ice core in Greeland. This suggest both summer and winter monsoons exhibited unstable during the last interglacial, which may have teleconnections with the remote North Atlantic region in climate.


Lu Shenggao

Department of Soil Science, Zhejiang Agricultural University, Hangzhou 310029

Quaternary red earth covers an extensive area of eastern China. The typical Quaternary red earth, which consists of a sequence of modern soil horizon, homogeneous red earth horizon and net-like horizon, range from several meters thick to more than ten meters. The Quaternary red earth were sampled at 20 cm vertical in terrace of Qiantang River near Hangzhou. Magnetic susceptibility, frequency dependent magnetisation, saturation isothermal remanent magnetisation (SIRM) and coercivity (Bck) of SIRM were measured on doils. A selective dissolution was used to dissolve secondary ferrimagnetic from the samples. The x was measured before and after selective dissolution to determine the role of pedogenesis in the enhancement of ferrimagnetism in the paleosols. The magnetic susceptibility and SIRM was highest in the paleosols, and lowest in the net-like horizon. According to magnetic properties, paleosols can be divided into several layer with different magnetic characterization, indicating pedogenic environment changes. These differences are considered effective indicator for the quantitative study of the paleoclimate. Results also revealed that the content of single domain and superparamagnetic material was higher in the paleosols. This increase can be explained by the possibility of the in situ pedogenic formation of ferrimagnetic materials. This conclusion is based on the followings (1) magnetic susceptibility enhancement with increasing soil development: (2) frequency dependent magnetization; (3) the loss percentage of x by selective dissolution. The low x of net-like horizon can be explained by the reduction of ferrimagnetic minerals. There is no obvious difference in total iron and free iron content among Quaternary red earth profile. Therefore, magnetism studies on Quaternary red earth are undoubtedly useful to Quaternary environmental changes.


  1. Mason

Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska, 113 Nebraska Hall,

Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0517

Zones of incipient soil development are often observed within relatively thick proximal loess of Late Pleistocene and Holocene age in central North America. Similar soil zones are present in part of the Oligocene Brule Formation in western Nebraska, U.S.A., which is interpreted as volcaniclastic loess. These zones apparently represent centennial- or millennial-scale fluctuation in the balance between loess sedimentation and pedogenic processes; thus, they may provide important evidence of climatic change at these time scales. Incipient soil zones typically display relatively dark colors, slightly higher contents of clay and organic matter, pedogenic granular or fine blocky structure preserved to varying degrees (sometimes evident macroscopically only as a subtle fabric), pore coatings, burrows, and other evidence of faunal activity. One “end-member” interpretation of these zones is that they entirely reflect local increases in temperature, moisture, and/or primary production, leading to enhanced organic matter accumulation, faunal activity, and weathering. At the other extreme, they could entirely be the result of a decrease in the rate of dust flux from a local loess source, possibly but not necessarily driven by climatic change. This would lead to a higher proportion of far-traveled fine silt and clay in the accumulating loess, and more time for organic matter accumulation and faunal activity prior to deep burial through ongoing loess deposition. Higher clay content would also help preserve organic matter and pedogenic structure after burial.

High-resolution particle size analysis of the silt fraction, using electroresistance or laser diffraction techniques can help test these explanations of incipient soil zones. The Jules Soil zone, formed in the Peoria Silt (= Peoria Loess) of southwestern Illinois during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 2, is associated with a pronounced shift toward a finer primary grain size mode as determined by high-resolution analysis. A prominent “shoulder” of fine silt suggests greater contributions from distant dust sources during formation of this zone, and exceptionally coarse silt in the loess just above it may represent high dust flux from the local Illinois River valley source, perhaps helping preserve the soil zone through rapid burial. Zones of incipient pedogenesis in the Peoria Loess near Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., display a pronounced bimodality. The coarse mode probably reflects dust influx from the nearby Missouri River valley while a fine silt-coarse clay mode may represent farther-traveled dust from the Great Plains. Less pedogenically-altered loess above and below these zones is unimodal or much less bimodal, suggesting that the soil zones formed during periods of reduced local dust flux from the Missouri valley. Loess of the Gilman Canyon Formation (MIS 3 and early MIS 2) in the same area is pedogenically-altered throughout. Some parts of this formation display bimodality but they are not always those with the best preserved pedogenic features. Incipient soil zones in the Loveland Loess (probably MIS 6), also near Omaha, are not consistently associated with changes in loess sedimentology. Ongoing research is applying high-resolution particle size analysis to incipient soils within the Bignell Loess (MIS 1) and the Oligocene Brule Formation.


M. D. Mays * and W. D. Nettleton

Soil Scientist and Research Soil Scientist

National Soil Survey Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Lincoln, NE USA

Relict paleosols herein are ground soils (soils at the air-earth interface) on geomorphic surfaces we estimate to be Pleistocene or older. These relict paleosols occur on andesitic residuum, grus, or closely associated alluvium. The twenty pedons studied occur at five sites in Nevada and Utah. All are in the Great Basin. Elevation of the pedons ranges from 1220 to 3172 m, mean annual precipitation from 18 to 51 cm, and mean annual soil temperature from 7 to 14 degrees centigrade. Days dry, calculated by the Thornthwait method, range from 75 to 225 and days moist from 140 to 290. In our study we made no correction for the length of the frost free season. Vegetation ranges from Artemisia vaseyana at the higher, colder elevations to Artemisia arbuscula and related desert species at the lower, warmer elevations. The soils at the highest elevations are on Table Mountain and are considered to be on a late Pleistocene surface. The other soils are on late Pleistocene or older surfaces and have formed under the influence of one or more pluvial-interpluvial cycles. The soils are well drained. They include Mollisols, Vertisols, and Aridisols of the US Soil Taxonomy. We summarized pedon data to the depths sampled, commonly the R or CR horizons.

The data set includes 126 samples. A few analyses are incomplete. For these, models derived from the remaining data provide estimates for bulk density (Db) at 0.3 bar, Db = 1.29 - 0.0131*15 bar water + 0.158*Fed (dithionite-citrate extractable Fe) - 0.0279*OC, r2 = 0.54, S.E. = 0.10, n = 120; water retention difference (WRD) for calculating the days the soils are moist, or dry, WRD = 0.0489 + 0.00245 * 15 bar water + 0.0542*Fed + 0.00510* OC, r2 = 0.59, S.E. = 0.033; and Fed = 0.987*Db + 0.227*15 bar water + 3.10*WRD, r2 = 0.53, S.E. = 0.30.

The OC content of the relict paleosols are closely related to the present-day climate (OC in kg m-2 = 0.463*MAT + 0.051*days moist - 10.34, r2 = 0.75, S.E. = 1.46, n = 19). Similarly base saturation, carbonate, and salt distributions all fit the water movement pattern predicted from the climatic and soil data. Fed accumulation, on the other hand, does not relate well to the present-day climatic factors (Fed in kg m-2 = 4.77 + 0.0122*clay in kg m-2, r2 = 0.52, S.E. = 2.39). Clay accumulation does not relate well, possibly because of age differences in the geomorphic surfaces (Clay in kg m-2 = 91.4 + 0.842*days dry, r2 = 0.07, S.E. = 183.0). Smectite dominates the clay mineralogy at all the sites. The average CEC7 of the clays = 98 meq 100g-1. In the calculation we made a correction for the CEC7 of OC (CEC7 = 2.26*OC + 0.863*Clay - 0.220, r2 = 0.96, S.E. = 3.7). We conclude that distribution of OC, pH, BS, carbonate, and salt relate well to present-day climate in these soils , whereas distribution of Fed, clay, and other weathering related properties relate to climates of the past as well as to that of the present-day.



Ma Yuzhen LI Jijun Fang Xiaomin

Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000,P.R.China

High resolution pollen record of a Red Beds section 443m long from Linxia Basin , in the border northeastern of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (102 030’-104 E, 35 10’-35 51’N), suggests 9 pollen zones and 5 stages of major vegetation and climatic changes over the past 29.0-4.5 Myr. Stage A (Zone 1, ca. 29.0-21.4 Myr) was an arid phase and the pollen assemblage indicates herbaceous pollen , in particular Chenopodipollis, Polygonaceae and Compositae. Stage B substages could be distinguished. Substage B1(ca. 21.4-16.5 Myr) includes zone 2, zone 3 and zone 4 . The vegetation was mixed needleleaf and broadleaf forest, and the climate was moist and warm. An abrupt decline in herbaceous accompanied by increase in coniferous trees pollen marks the transition from zone 1 to zone 2. Among 21.4 –19.2 Myr the pollen assemblage dominated by Taxus , juniperus, Cupressacaceae, Betulaepollenites and Quercoidites. Zone 3 (ca. 19.2-18.2 Myr) is characterized by increase in percentages of temperatures, warmtemperatures broadleaf trees and is mainly represented by Quercoiidites . Ulimipollenites, Juglanspollenites, Betulaepollenites and Taxus. During 18.2-16.5 Myr the pollen assemblage is mainly composed of Cupresscaceae, Juniperus, Taxus, Quercoidites, and Salixipollenites. Duing 16.5-13.1 Myr (Substage B2), predominant taxa of zone 5 are upressacaceae,Juniperus, Taxus, Quercoidites, Betulaepollenites, and traces of Pinuspollenites and Piceaepollentes. Absence of subtropical elements and expansion of coniferous forest .Substage B3(Zone 6, ca.13.1-8.7 Myr ) is characterized by increase inpercentages of temperate brodleaf trees and herbaceous. The pollen zone is represented by Juniperus , Taxus, Cupressacaceae, Quercoidites.,Betulaepollenites, Salixipollenites, Artemisiaepollenites, Gramineae and Chenopodipollis. Most remarkable in the Zone 7 (Stage C ca. 8.7-6.5Myr) is the abrupt increase in representation of Herbaceous taxa including mainly Artemisiaepollenites, Gramineae and Chenopodipollis. Duing this phase the decline in arboreal taxa pollens and an increase in herbaceous attests to existence of an steppe vegetation and arider climate . The transition to zone 8 is marked by decline in herbs percentages and a marked increase in summergreen broadleaf forest taxa. The dominance of Betulaepollenites, Quercoidites, Fraxinoipollinites and Salixipollenites in pollen spectra suggests an summergreen broadleaf forest under warm and moist climatic conditions during Stage D from about 6.5 to 5.5 Myr Stage E (ca . 5.5-4.5Myr) was an arid phase and the vegetation was dry steppe. An abrupt decline in forest taxa accompanied by a pronounced increase in herbaceous marks the transition from zone 8 to one 9. Herbaceous is poor in taxa including Granmineae, Arteisiaepollenites, Chenopodipollis and Ephedripites.


Arata Momohara

Dept. of Environmental Science, Chiba University, 648 Matsudo, Matsudo City, Chiba, 271-0092 Japan

Biostratigraphy based on fossil leaves, fruits and seeds reveals climatic changes since the Late Pliocene about 3.5 m.y.B.P. to the middle Pleistocene about 0.3 m.y.B.P. in central and southwestern Japan. The floral change succeeded stepwise; extinction of Tertiary elements with the increase of cool temperate and subarctic elements occurs 1)about 3.0 to 2.5 m.y.B.P., 2)about 1.6 m.y.B.P., 3)about 1.1 to 0.8 m.y.B.P. and 4)later than 0.4 m.y.B.P. The floral changes are attributed to climatic deterioration in combination with the geomorphological changes caused by uplift of the mountains and sea level changes.

The early late Pliocene before about 3 m.y.B.P. was the warmest period through Plio-Pleistocene. That is indicated by the dominance of the elements whose modern closed allies are now distributed in the subtropical regions of East Asia, such as Reevesia and Keteleeria. The climatic deterioration began at 3.0 m.y.B.P. , when the cool temperate elements including Tsuga, Picea, and Betula maximowicziana emerged into plant macrofossil records and at the same time the subtropical elements are eliminated and many Tertiary elements became extinct from Japan. The climatic cooling became severe around the Plio-Pleistocene boundary, 1.6 m.y.B.P. , indicated by the appearance of subarctic elements including Picea jezoensis var. hondoensis.

The climatic oscillation became distinct so that warmer and cooler stages succeeded alternately at intervals less than 100,000 year since 1.0 m.y.B.P. Among the peaks of cooler stages in that period, the peaks at 0.8 and 0.5 m.y.B.P. are most outstanding and subalpine elements including Abies veichii and Picea jezoensis expand the distribution into the lowland in southwestern Japan. On the other hand, the warmest peak is found at about 0.4 m.y.B.P. when the evergreen broad-leaved trees such as Cyclobalanopsis spp., Cinnamomum doedelleinii and Syzygium buxifolium covered the lowland forests.

In most warmer stages since the late Pliocene, paleovegetation in southwestern and central Japan were dominated by deciduous broad-leaved trees except for two stages in the early Late Pliocene and about 0.4 m m.y.B.P when evergreen broad-leaved trees expanded the distribution. The lack of evergreen broad-leaved forest indicates that southwestern and central Japan have been subject to a continental climate having severe winter even in maritime regions during warmer ages in the Plio-Pleistocene.



W.D. Nettleton, B.R. Brasher, and E.C. Benham

USDA_NRCS, NSSC, Soil Survey Laboratory, Lincoln, NE, 68508


The thirty-one soils studied include Holocene age soils on flood plains and steep mountain slopes and late Pleistocene soils (relict paleosols) on marine terraces, alluvial fan remnants above flood plains, and upland geomorphic surfaces isolated by scarps from flood plain surfaces. The soils include Xeropsamments, Xerorthents, Xerochrepts, Durixeralfs, Haploxeralfs, Natrixeralfs, Argixerolls, Argialbolls, and Haploxerolls. Parent materials include granodiorite, sandstone, and alluvium derived from these rocks. This area has a Mediterranean climate with a mean annual precipitation of 30 to 102 cm, an air temperature of 12 to 16 oC, and soils are continuously moist 145 to 246 days. The relict paleosols formed under one or more pluvial cycles. Elevation of the sites ranges from about 49 to 869 m. Relationship of soil pedon properties to elevation, however, is weak. This results from a greater precipitation in a low elevation fog belt than occurs at intermediate elevations. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1941, p.710). Accumulation of OC (organic carbon) within the pedons relates well to the number of days the soils are continuously moist (r2 = 0.58). Accumulation of pedon Fed (citrate-dithionite extractable Fe) does not relate well to the number of days the soils are continuously moist (r2 = 0.33), nor does the accumulation of clay within the pedon above that in the parent material (r2 = 0.18). Accumulation of clay in the pedon above that in the parent material relates more strongly to the combination of the number of days the soils are continuously moist and the geomorphic age of the surfaces (r2 = 0.31). We conclude that OC adjusts to environmental change within a few thousand years, whereas the accumulation of clay and Fed relate more to exposure to the pluvials. In general smectite or vermiculite dominate the clay minerals in these soils (CEC7 100g-1 of clay = 88). The parent rocks weathered deeply prior to the development of the present landscapes. Biotite weathered to vermiculite to produce the grus in the Southern Coast Ranges. Basalt in soil on a Marin Headlands Pleistocene surface to the north of our study area weathered to depths of 5 to 10 m and coarse diabase weathered too strongly there for petrographic study (Wahrhaftig and Murchey, 1987). Most of the clays and biotite pseudomorphs of the surface horizons we studied have 1.0 nm Xray diffraction peaks. In the relict paleosols of the dryer inland Salinas Valley, smectite dominates the parent materials, whereas mica dominates the surface and some of the B horizons. Nettleton et al. (1973) attributed this to recycling of K. We propose that this clay mineral change is also evidence of climatic change. Occurrence of duripans at shallow depth in association with soils weathered to more than 2 m also suggests a shift to a dryer climate.


Nettleton, W.D., Nelson, R.E., and Flach, K.W. 1973. Formation of mica in surface horizons of dryland soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 37:473-478.

U.S.D.A. 1941. Climate and Man, The 1941 Yearbook of Agriculture, 1248 p.

Wahrhaftig, C. and Murchey, B. 1987. Marin headlands, California: 100-million-year record of sea floor transport and accretion. p. 263-268. In Hill, M. L. ed. Geological Society of America Centennial Field Guide Vol. 1. Cordilleran Section, Geological Society of America.


C.D. Ollier

Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

1. In many discussions of palaeosols no great distinction is drawn between the palaeosol and the regolith, and it is commonly assumed that they are the same thing. In Australia this is clearly not so. Deep weathering profiles are extensively developed, hundreds of metres deep in places, and these are very different from soil profiles.

2. The weathering profiles are ancient, the soil on top usually young or modern. Palaeomagnetic dating of regolith goes back 100 million years, and stratigraphically dated profiles to the Eocene.

3. The weathering profiles are out of equilibrium with the present environment, having formed under a different climate, vegetation and hydrological regime. The soils are approximately in equilibrium with present conditions.

4. The regolith profile is often complicated by an unconformity, with saprolite below and disturbed material above. Even the upper material may be of considerable antiquity.

5. The concept of regolith as parent material is not always simple. In one situation weathering zones that were approximately horizontal crop out on slopes and give rise to a catena that is due to different parent materials rather than modern slope, hydrological or soil processes. In other situations even the old regolith had topographic variability, which is inherited in more complex ways.

6. Where lava flows or duricrusts are present, inversion of relief is extremely common. This produces a characteristic suite of landforms and regolith, reflected in the modern soils. In some places inversion has been repeated several times.

7. Slope mantles affect the distribution of soil and palaeosols. In ancient profiles the disturbed layer is often a footslope deposit, sometimes separated from saprolite by a stoneline at the base. Some Quaternary and modern mantles may be periglacial, though this process is rare in Australia outside Tasmania. Other, resembling periglacial deposits, are probably related to swelling clays.

8. The ancient regolith was so deep that it affected the nature of derived sediments. Early Tertiary streams had a coarse bedload of only quartz because the entire landscape was deeply weathered. Younger Tertiary and modern sediments are polymict, as more and more bedrock was exposed to erosion as the old regolith was stripped.

9. Regolith stratigraphy requires much more complex analysis than the simple law of superposition used in conventional stratigraphy.

10. Despite high latitude Australia had a warm and wet climate in the Mesozoic/ early Tertiary when the deep weathering profiles were formed. In the Miocene increasing climatic variability and aridity, coupled with tectonic uplift, led to widespread erosion of ancient regolith, and the beginnings of younger regolith and modern soils.



Neil D. Opdyke1), Larry J. Flynn, Peabody Museum2), Everitt H. Lindsay3), Qui Zhanxiang4)

1) Kainian Haung , Department of geology, University of Florida , Gainesville Florida)

2) Harvard University,Cambridge Mass.

3) Dept. of Geology ,University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

4) Inst. Vert. Paleo. and Paleoanthro., Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Four hundred meters of the vertebrate fossil bearing Yehucheng and Xianshuihe formations were sampled at 165 sites at intervals of one to three meters. Three oriented samples were taken at each site using simple hand tools and oriented using a Brunton compass.The samples were fashened into cubes about 15 cubic cm in volumne.The samples were then thermally demagnetized in up to 13 steps to temperatues of 670 degrees cent.The magnetization persists to high temperatures and is clearly carried by hematite.The magnetic record is of high quality and 24 magnetozones are recorded.

Vertebrate fossils were recovered from these rocks and are thought to be early or middle Oligocene at the base of the section and late lower Miocene at the top.Two correlations are given to the magnetic polarity timescale.The first assumes that there are no unconformities in the sequence and ranges from C6c .1n to C11n.1n. this time range does not however satisfy the fossil constraints . A second correlation is therefore put forward in and attempt to satisfy the biochronology.This correlation assumes an unconformity at 245 meters from the base of the section. The base of the section can be correlated to the early Oligocene from C13n to C10r the upper section can be correlated to the early Miocene ranging from C6Bn to C6n.This correlation implies that the Oligocene boundary is not present in the section.



F. Ottner1), G. Durn2), B. Schwaighofer1) and J. Tišljar2),

1) University of Bodenkultur Vienna, Department of Applied Geology, Peter Jordan Strasse 70, A-1190 Vienna, Austria, phone:(+43) 1 47654 5407, fax: (+43) 1 47654 5449, e mail:

2) University of Zagreb, Faculty of mining, geology and petroleum engineering, Pierottijeva 6, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia, phone: (+385) 1 441839, fax: (+385) 1 440008, e-mail:

Paleosols which blanket local and regional subaerial unconformities related to hiatuses in shallow-water carbonate sedimentation bear important information on material supply, climate, relief, and duration of subaerial exposure phases. These unconformities are accompanied by greenish grey pelitic layers with high clay content whose thickness is paleorelief related and changes laterally from several centimetres up to 1 meter. They occur as either emersion breccias with clayey matrices or, more often, as clays. The intent of the present study is to define clay minerals in pelitic materials which occur as emersion layers in Early Cretaceous shallow-water carbonate sediments in Istria. They are particularly well expressed in West Istria where, from Hauterivian to the upper part of Late Albian at least eight subaerial exposure phases of different duration occur. They have a very high clay content up to 95%. Most samples are composed only of clay minerals with small amounts of quartz and pyrite. Samples from five different localities were collected. Both paleosols and insoluble residues of limestones situated immediately below them were analysed. 2 m and 0.2 m fractions were separated from paleosol samples by centrifugation after pre-treatments with H2O2, EDTA and Na-dithionite. The same fractions were separated from the insoluble residue of limestones which were prepared with a 1M NaOAc solution buffered at pH 5. Clay minerals were identified using XRD and FTIR. Chemical composition (main and trace elements) was employed using XRF and ICP-MS. The insoluble residue of limestones are dominated by smectite, and contain also kaolinite and illitic material. The very high smectite content in the insoluble residue is probably the result of additions of volcanic dust during carbonate sedimentation. Compared to the insoluble residues of limestones paleosols varies in clay mineral composition. They contain: (1) randomly oriented I/S mixed layer, (2) regularly oriented I/S mixed layer, (3) illitic material, (4) kaolinite and (5) chlorite. That clay mineral composition in paleosols clearly indicates the influence of both pedogenetic and diagenetic processes. It may also indicate additional volcanic dust contribution during subaerial exposure.



Pan Baotian

Department of Geography, Lanzhou University

Climatic changes during the last 150,000 years is focus of PAGES researches, because it include a complete glacial cycle and warmer periods which are very important to predict environmental changes in future under condition of increasing CO2 content in atmosphere. The Tibetan Plateau is an important factor forcing global climatic changes. However, the climatic change in the plateau during the last 150,000 years was not studied well, especially in the northeast part. Here, two loess records in Eastern Qilianshan Mountains will be discussed.

Menyuan Section, 12 m thick, is composed of many loess and paleosol layers. The dark and 40 cm thick paleosol at the top, of which 14C age is 5600+-70ka BP, is formed in Holocene. Three Paleosol layers between 9.8 m and 10.9 m deep, brown and very developed, is S1. The curves of low frequency susceptibility, CaCO3 content and organic carbon content have shown that climatic record in Qilianshan can be compared with records of GRIP, Vostok, SPECMAP and Guliya on outline. The curve of CaCO3 Content indicated that frequent climatic fluctuations in Last Glacial was also happed in Qilianshan. As Younger Drys and Bolling-Allerrod happened in the transition from Last Glacial to Holocene at the top of the section, warm and cold events recorded at the bottom show that the transition from penultimate glaciation to Last Glacial was also complex.Haxi section in north slop of the Qilianshan recorded climatic fluctuations in Holocene. The proxy of humidity indicated that Qilianshan underwent six cycles of humidity in past 10 ka, and there are four types of climate: warm and humid, cold and humid, cold and dry, and dry in the transition from warm to cold period.



Prins1), M.A., G.J. Weltje2), G.J. Reichart1), J.-B.W. Stuut1,3) and Jule Xiao4)

1).Institute for Paleoenvironment and Paleoclimate (IPPU), Faculty of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80021, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands

2).(a) Department of Geo-Energy, Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience TNO, P.O. Box 6012, 2600 JA Delft, The Netherlands; (b) Subfaculty of Applied Earth Sciences, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5028, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands

3).Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Department of Marine Chemistry and Geology, P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands

4).Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 9825, 100029 Beijing, China

Numerical-statistical algorithms are used to model end-member grain-size distributions of pelagic and hemipelagic siliciclastic sediments of the western, central and northern Arabian Sea. The grain-size distributions can be adequately described as mixtures of three end members. The spatial contribution of the end members allows interpretation of the end members in terms of transport processes and provenance: the end members represent ‘proximal’ eolian dust, ‘distal’ eolian dust and fluvial mud. At any given location, the temporal changes in the relative contribution of the end members can be interpreted in terms of climate change. The ratio of contributions of the two eolian end members (i.e., the grain-size distribution of the eolian dust) reflects the strength of the dust-transporting wind. The ratio of contributions of eolian and fluvial sediment reflects continental aridity.

The reconstruction of the late Quaternary variability in Arabian Sea monsoon climate corresponds well with interpretations of the loess-paleosol sequences on the Chinese Loess Plateau. In both areas, the bulk of the annual precipitation is confined to the summer monsoon season. Intensification of the summer monsoon during interglacials (-stadials), which has been identified as the principal control on pedogenesis on the Loess Plateau, also explains increased discharge of Indus-River derived muds to the northern Arabian Sea. Independent evidence for summer monsoon strength, provided by the eolian dust grain-size record of the western Arabian Sea, fully supports this conclusion. The strength of the summer monsoon therefore provides an aridity-forcing mechanism for both the Arabian Sea and the Loess Plateau. The grain size of eolian dust deposited in the northern Arabian Sea and on the Loess Plateau indicates intensified winter monsoons during glacials. High-frequency variation in the grain size of the eolian dust are recorded simultaneously in the northern Arabian Sea and on the Loess Plateau. A close correlation exists between the winter monsoon proxy record of the northern Arabian Sea (0-210 ka BP) and the oxygen-isotope record of the Greenland GRIP ice core. The ages of eolian dust grain-size maxima matches those of the last six episodes of massive iceberg release (Heinrich events) into the North Atlantic during the last glacial. It seems that the glacial climate of the North Atlantic and the winter monsoon subsystems of Asia were linked by the effect of westerly winds.



Maarten A. Prins †) and Gert Jan Weltje †),‡)

†) Department of Geology, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University,

P.O. Box 80021, NL-3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands (E-mail:

‡) Present addresses: (1) Department of Geo-Energy, Netherlands Institute of Applied Geoscience TNO, P.O. Box 6012, NL-2600 JA Delft, The Netherlands (E-mail:; (2) Subfaculty of Applied Earth Sciences, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5028, NL-2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands (E-mail:

Numerical-statistical algorithms are used to model end-member grain-size distributions of pelagic and hemipelagic siliciclastic sediments of the Arabian Sea. The grain-size distributions of sediments from the Oman continental slope, the Owen Ridge, the Pakistan continental slope and the Indus Fan can be adequately described as mixtures of three end members. The spatial variation in relative contribution of the end members is interpreted in terms of transport processes and provenance. In the western Arabian Sea deposition is dominated by two end members which represent ‘proximal’ and ‘distal’ eolian dust. A third end member, which dominates the deposits of the middle Indus Fan, represents fluvial mud deposited from low-density turbidity currents (lutite flows).

At any given location, the temporal changes in the relative contribution of the end members can be interpreted in terms of climate change. The ratio of contributions of the two eolian end members (i.e., the grain-size distribution of the eolian dust) on the Owen Ridge (NIOP492) reflects the strength of the summer monsoon. Deposition on the upper Indus Fan (NIOP458) is dominated by ‘distal’ eolian dust and fluvial mud. The ratio of contributions of eolian and fluvial sediment reflects continental aridity. The ratio of contributions of the two eolian end members (i.e., the grain-size distribution of the eolian dust) on the upper Indus Fan reflects the strength of the winter monsoon.

Our reconstruction of the late Quaternary variations in Arabian Sea monsoon climate corresponds well with interpretations of the loess-paleosol sequences on the Chinese Loess Plateau. In both areas, the bulk of the annual precipitation is confined to the summer monsoon season. Intensification of the summer monsoon during interglacials, which has been identified as the principal control on pedogenesis on the Loess Plateau, also explains increased discharge of Indus-River derived muds to the northern Arabian Sea. Independent evidence for summer monsoon strength, provided by the eolian grain-size record of the western Arabian Sea, fully supports this conclusion. The strength of the summer monsoon therefore provides an aridity forcing mechanism for both the Arabian Sea and the Loess Plateau. The grain size of the eolian dust in the northern Arabian Sea and on the Loess Plateau indicates intensified winter monsoons during glacials.


J G Rosenbaum1) ,R L Reynolds, D R Muhs, S S Harlan 2) ,J E Beget 3)

1) U.S. Geological Survey, MS 980, Denver Federal Center, Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225; 303-236-1304;

2) USGS, MS 980, Denver Federal Center, Box 25046, Denver, CO 80225

3) Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775

In many loess/paleosol sequences, magnetic susceptibility (MS) correlates with the deep-sea oxygen isotope record. In these sequences, bulk magnetic properties can therefore potentially provide information about climate change, but their use as proxies for specific climatic variables is limited by incomplete knowledge of the processes that produce the magnetic variations. In some regions, such as the Chinese loess plateau, MS maxima correspond closely to warm periods. Many studies have demonstrated that much of the magnetic variation in these sequences is due to relatively high magnetization of paleosols relative to the parent loess. Although the processes that produce magnetic enhancement are debated, it is well established that ultrafine magnetite or maghemite is produced during pedogenesis. In other areas, such as central Alaska, paleosols in loess sequences are characterized by minima in MS. In a study of the Gold Hill and Halfway House loess sections near Fairbanks, Alaska, Beget et al. (1990) concluded that susceptibility variations were largely a depositional signal: Low MS, and therefore low magnetite content, is characteristic of paleosols, presumably because low winds during soil forming episodes carried fewer heavy mineral grains than stronger winds during more rapid loess deposition.

New magnetic, geochemical, and petrographic data from these sections lead to a very different interpretation. When corrected for silica that has been leached from the soils, the concentration of Ti (a proxy for heavy-mineral content) is about the same in soil and loess. Therefore, the correspondence between low MS and paleosols cannot be due to low heavy-mineral input during soil formation. Destruction of ferrimagnetic minerals in the soil horizons is the principal factor producing the magnetic property variations. Petrographic observations indicate that Fe-oxide grains in paleosols were affected by both dissolution (apparently under reducing conditions) and, at a different time, oxidation. Soils and paleosols possess overall relatively coarse magnetic grain size (based on low ratios of isothermal remanent magnetization to MS) but paradoxically contain high proportions of single-domain grains (based on high ratios of anhysteretic remanent magnetization to MS). Ultrafine (superparamagnetic) pedogenic material, indicated by elevated values of frequency dependent MS, is present in a few horizons. Either single-domain grains were protected from destruction during pedogenesis, or single-domain grains, as well as superparamagnetic grains, were formed as the result of pedogenesis. The effects of pedogenesis on magnetic minerals are complex; geochemical, mineralogical, and petrographic techniques must augment magnetic measurements to fully understand the diagenesis of magnetic minerals in soils and the origin of magnetic property variations in loess/paleosol sequences.



Sedov S.N., Zazovskaya E.P., Bronnikova M.A., Melnik E.I , Rozov S.Yu.

Department of Soil Science, Lomonosov University, Moscow, Russia.

The paleopedological research in Gnyezdovo (ancient Smolensk) - one of the largest Slavonic early-medieval urban centres (9 - 11 century A.D.) in Eastern Europe - allows the reconstruction of landscape dynamic and man - landscape interaction in the end of the first - beginning of second millenium A.D. This archaeological site includes settlement, fortress and hundreds of burial mounds located in different geomorphic positions: on watershed landsurfaces, formed by moraine of Valday glaciation, on the late-Pleistocene alluvial terrace and on the Holocene floodplain of Dnepr river. We studied a) anthropogenically transformed soils of the settlement and b) paleosol profiles under burial mounds; both were compared with „natural analogues“ - soils formed in similar geological and deomorphological conditions but having no signs of considerable human impact.

The soil profiles of the settlement on the alluvial terrace have a thick (25 cm - 1,5 m) dark anthric horizon (WRB, 1994), containing numerous artifacts (cultural layer). Below the subsurface horizons of natural soil are preserved; the comparison of these with „natural analogues“ shows similarity in morphological and analytical characteristics, which are typical for Podzols of southern taiga. The subsurface horizons of profiles under burial mounds near the settlement are also similar to natural surface analogues but the buried Ah horizon is thinner and contains less humus. Signs of ancient shallow cultivation (plough marks) are present in this Ah horizon.

On the floodplain the cultural layer is buried under recent alluvial deposits. A Fluvisol is formed on the present landsurface under meadow vegetation, wereas below cultural layer part of the Podzol profile is preserved which is characterized by accumulation of Fed in the Bs horizon and relatively higher content of kaolinite in clay (at the expense of 3:1 minerals).

Pollen analysis of a core taken from the lake sediments on the floodplain and the sample of the Ah horizon under a burial mound showed an increase of cultivated plants and plants favored by culture, an abrupt drop of tree pollen and rise of open landscape plants in the strata, formed in early medieval time. A slight increase of pollen of xerophytic plants and disappearance of Aquatics were found below these strata. *

We conclude that the natural environmental conditions, favorable for forest ecosystems were rather stable in upper Dnepr basin in late Holocene. The minor climatic fluctuations (more dry episodes) detectable in palynological spectra are not reflected in the soil cover. Forests were spread not only on watersheds and river terraces, but also partly in the floodplains, where alluvial sedimentation ceased. Early medieval human activity caused drastic environmental change in the vicinity of urban centres: deforestation, dehumification of soils under shallow cultivation. We also explain the enhanced deposition of alluvial deposits on floodplains and burial of earlier forest soil and cultural layer as a consequence of higher floods being caused by antropogenic deforestation in medieval and post-medieval time rather than by climatic change.

* Pollen analysis was done under a guidance of Professor Lars-Konig Konigsson with the financial support of Swedish Institute (Stockholm).


Shi Yafenga,c, Li Jijunb, Li Benyuanc, Yao Tandonga, Wang Sumingd, Li Shijiea,

Cui Zhijiue, Wang Fubaof, Pan Baotianb, Fang Xiaominb, and Zhang Qingsongc

a Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology and Geocryology, Chinese Academy of Science (CAS);

b Department of Geography, Lanzhou University;

c Institute of Geography (Beijing), CAS;

d Nanjin Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS;

e Department of Urban and Environmental Science, Peking University;

f Department of Urban and Resources, Nanjin University.


The northward moving of the Indian plate has caused the shortening and thickening of the crustal in the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) area and the differential uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, which exerts a great influence on global, especially on East Asian environment. The Qinghai-Xizang area during the Tertiary was subject to two cycles of uplift and planation. The second phase of uplift of the Plateau at 25-17 Ma was of particular significance. It may have raised the Plateau onto about 2,000 m high. This, coupled with favourable continent-ocean configuration at that time, may have triggered Asian monsoon, which replaced previously-dominated planetary wind system and led to a big environmental shift in China in the middle Tertiary. With the large global temperature drop and the lowering of the Plateau surface in the Mid-Miocene, summer monsoon decreased and the drying of Asia was intensified after 8 Ma as indicated by the start of formation of salt minerals in lakes and replace of forest by steppe in the northern Plateau, and by the appearance of aeolian red clay in the further northeastern area. The rapid uplift of the whole Plateau since 3.4 Ma has enhanced in a great deal again summer monsoon, so that it could go over the Plateau and caused moistening of the northern Plateau and even North China. Winter monsoon, in the other side, was also intensified. This may be responsible for the occurrence of loess at 2.5 Ma in Central North China. The subsequent Mid-Pleistocene (0.8-0.5 Ma) tectonism may have raised the Plateau surface onto about 3,000 - 3,500 m, with high mountains probably rising over 5,000 m. This, coupled with temperature drop contributed by periodicity shift in the earth orbit, may have led the Plateau enter cryosphere and form the maximum glaciation, resulting in an over 500,000 km2 of glaciers, 2-3 times higher precipitation than today in East and Central China, and further drying of West China. This, together with seasonal snow covering the whole Plateau, increased greatly albedo and thus formed strong cold high on the Plateau. The convergence of winter monsoons from this Plateau cold high and Siberian-Mongolian High caused previously scattered deserts to enlarge to form a joined big desert, and loess to expand far to the lower reaches of Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) with its grain size coarsening and thickness increasing. In interglaciation or in summer season of glaciation, the combination of abundant precipitation and high relief along the eastern front of the Plateau has caused frequent occurrence of debris flows and large accumulation of gravels. Since then, glacial-interglacial and their sub-stage variations driven by changes of 100 ka-cycle eccentricity and 21 ka-cycle precession have controlled the pattern of environmental change over the Plateau. Based on 150 ka high-resolution climatic records from ice core at Guliya, lake cores at Xianshuihai and Zoige, and loess at Linxia, we found that strong tectonic uplift occurred in the early stage of 150 ka, leading to local drainage change, and that climate in time interval equivalent to MIS 5e was specially warm. Ice core record showed temperature was 5 oC higher than today at 125 ka BP and climate was unstable in MIS 5e. The later was revealed also by loess and lake core records. MIS 3 is a weak warm period in the last glaciation. However, it was warm and moist as high as to degree of an interglaciation, and manifested itself as a big expansion of lake and forest vegetation on the Plateau, suggesting an unusual enhancement of summer monsoon probably exerted by the large contribution of precession on climate in middle-low latitudes. MIS 2 and 4 are cold periods of the last glaciation. At the maximum of MIS 2, multi-proxies of climate showed temperature decreased in average 6-9 oC from the present, while precipitation reduced to 30 - 70 % of the present, resulting in a 350,000 km2 of glaciers, a 2,200,000 km2 of permafrost, shrinkage and nearly draining-out of several lakes, and a serious deterioration of vegetation as indicated by retreat of forest to the southeastern margin of the Plateau and expansion of desert or desert steppe onto most of the Plateau. The deglaciation since 15 ka was characterized by a clear identification of the Young Dryas event at ca. 12 ka, followed with largely wavy rising of temperature with its warmest peak at 7 ka BP in the Holocene, causing increase of precipitation, expansion of forest and lake, and occupation of no-man area of the northern Plateau by paleo-men using fine stone tools. After 5 ka BP, temperature decreased again in fluctuation, accompanied with environmental deterioration. Repeated leveling indicates that the present Plateau is still in rapid rising at an average rate of 5.8 mm/a.


Arieh Singer

The seagram center for soil and water sciences

The Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel

Clayey or earthy red layers intercalated amid basalt or pyroclastic flows are known from many parts of the world. Though described in detail in several studies, their origin has remained somewhat obscure. Many occurrences are easily identified as paleosols, while with others the identification is more difficult. Among the major reasons for this difficulty is the “fritting” or “baking” that affects many of these layers. These paleosols, formed by the subaereal weathering of basalt (or pyroclastic) rocks during times of volcanic inactivity, were buried and preserved by subsequent lava or pyroclastic flows. The paleosols, dated by the K-Ar dating of the underlying magmatic rocks, span a wide time-spectrum, from the Precambrian to Holocene. Paleointerpretation is based on comparison of micromorphological and mineralogical features of the paleosols with those of modern soils formed on similar parent materials. Important characteristics are texture, pedological microfeatures (such as illuviation argillans, iron oxide nodules) geochemistry and clay mineralogy.

In Israel, basalt-derived paleosols are abundant. In an early Jurassic basalt-derived paleosol from northern Israel, the dominant clay mineral was a smectite, accompanied by some crystalline iron oxides. A moderately wet, mediterranean-type climate with pronounced seasonality was inferred for the formation time of this paleosol. In contrast, an early Cretaceous paleosol with dominant kaolinite and hematite in the Negev desert, southern Israel, was taken to suggest a hot, moist sub-tropical type climate. Numerous paleosols from Early to Late Pleistocene in the Golan Heights have a very similar geochemistry and mineralogy to that of their modern counterparts.

In contrast to loess-derived paleosols, carbonates are rare in basalt-derived paleosols and can be found only in dry (<350 mm/y) areas, where Ca released by the weathering of the cover basalt layers is not removed by leaching. Since quartz is not present in basalt rock, the presence of this mineral in the paleosols is interpreted as an indicator of aeolian activity. Thus, the uniformity of the source parent-rock permits a relatively high resolution in the paleoclimatic interpretation of basalt-derived paleosols.



Institute of Geography, 109027, Moscow, Staromonetny, 29,Russia

As a complex open bio-abiotic system soil consists of many components and structural-functional facets. Such systems have an ability to change in many different ways due to different behavior in time of its various components and facets.

The problem is if we can develop one holistic model describing the soil change, i.e. time behavior of the whole soil system including all components and facets, or it is easier and more realistic to build up the different “partial” models for the changes of different facets and components of soil systems depending on our objectives.

The holistic understanding of complex soil system includes three facets of the system interacting in time and space: a) soil as a multicomponent functioning system, reactor of the gas, solutions, biota, solid phase interactions in belowground tier of the ecosystem; b) soil as an exogenic solid-phase body and structure, pedomatrix for the whole multiphase soil system, result and memory of its long-term functioning; c) soil as a regulator and transformer of the external fluxes of matter and energy passing through soil system.

Soil system time-behavior for monogenetic soil is described by the following time- sequence: “crossing” of soil-forming factors within the initial lithomatrix multiphase functioning of soil system pedogenesis as a formation of solid-phase pedomatrix within the lithomatrix transformation and/or regulation of external and internal fluxes and cycles by new developed pedomatrix. For the polygenetic surface soils this sequence is complicated by the addition of one or more other superimposed time-sequences (factors functioning pedogenesis regulation). For the fossil soils the mono-or polygenetic sequences have to be prolonged by additional events: burial of soil body diagenetic transformation of soil after burial.

The term “soil change” has many different meanings: natural and human-induced, monogenetic self-development and polygenetic evolution, sustainable and catastrophic changes, “normal”, denudational and sedimentary soil changes, etc. The impacts generating soil change are also very divers: direct and indirect, vertical and lateral, aboveground and belowground, biotic and abiotic, mechanical, chemical, etc. Each case of this diversity can be the subject of modeling.

Taking into account the complexity of multifaceted soil system we have to try to discriminate the change in time and depth (space) of the main different facets and components of soil system: change of soil functioning processes that control short-term behavior of gases, solutions, soil biota, heat and mass balance; change of-pedogenic, weathering and diagenetic processes that control long-term behavior of stable solid organic and mineral components of soil system (pedomatrix or pedomemory); change of soil systems geoecological functions in regulation and/or transformation of external biotic/abiotic fluxes and cycles. In various cases of soil change we need to recognize change of which facet and/or component of soil system do we want and really can model and in what time-and space scale?

The other aspect of soil system complexity that leads to diversity of soil change models is the hierarchical organization of the system: from the level of crystals to the levels of peds, soil horizons, pedons, patterns, etc. Many of soil change models mentioned above can be applied to the distinct levels of soil organization. The real diversity and multiplicity of soil change models can be displayed as a combination (or multiplication) of the different types of models of soil system behavior in time.



Jeff TenPas 1), Water Resources 2), Natasa J. Vidic 3), Michael J. Singer 4), and Water Resources 5), Kenneth L. Verosub 6)

  1. Dept. of Land Air and, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616 USA
  2. Dept. of Agronomy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  3. Dept. of Land Air, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616 USA
  4. Dept. of Geology, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616 USA

We analyzed 300 samples from the upper 48 m of the loess/paleosol sequence from Jiaodao, north of the classic section at Luochuan. Samples from paleosols S1 to S5 were collected at 10 cm intervals, and samples from the Malan and Lishi loess were collected at 20 cm intervals. Our methodology involved a combination of differential dissolution of secondary iron oxides using a citrate-bicarbonate-dithionite (CBD) treatment and determination of pre- and post-CBD low and high frequency magnetic susceptibilities. Percentages of CBD-extractable iron and of CaCO3 were determined as well. Paleosol samples are decalcified or contain considerably less carbonate than loess (CaC03 <1-10% compared to 10-20% for the loess), display enhanced pre-CBD low frequency magnetic susceptibility (clf = 120-300 x 10-8 m3kg-1 compared to clf = 25-75 x 10-8 m3kg-1), have a higher frequency dependent magnetic susceptibility (cfd = 8-12% compared to 3-8% in loess), and show higher percentages of CBD extractable iron (1-2% compared to <1% in loess). The CBD treatment removes 80-95% of the low frequency susceptibility from the paleosols, but only 50-75% from the loess. Using the CBD method and a mixing model, we quantified the lithogenic and pedogenic components of the magnetic susceptibility record. The estimated lithogenic component is 30-40% higher than the post-CBD susceptibility component, shows a long-term decrease with depth, and has periodic fluctuations that are in tune with the alternation between paleosol and loess. The estimated lithogenic component of the loess is consistently higher than that of the paleosols by 5 x 10-8 m3kg-1. Post-CBD measurements of magnetic susceptibility show a slight increase in the upper 5 m of the section (clf = 20-25 x 10-8 m3kg-1 compared to <20 x 10-8 m3kg-1 for the rest of the section). This increase is in agreement with the aforementioned long-term trend in the lithogenic component.

Based on these results and our previous studies of similar sections we conclude that pedogenesis is responsible for most of the magnetic susceptibility signal in the paleosols and the loess. We also propose that at any instant in time, the magnetic susceptibility is being enhanced throughout the zone of active pedogenesis (estimated to be 1 m from the surface). Therefore, the magnetic susceptibility record is the convolution of the original paleoclimate signal with a pedogenic transfer function which causes a smoothing of the signal. Using a mathematical model of susceptibility enhancement, we deconvolved the magnetic susceptibility signal to recover the primary paleoclimatic signal. The resulting climatic signal displayed much higher rates of climatic change and much greater variability than could be inferred from the interpretation of the magnetic susceptibility record. The deconvolution improved the temporal agreement of the paleoclimatic signal of the loess/paleosol section with those obtained from other climate proxies (e.g., oxygen isotope ratios from deep sea cores).



Lonnie G. Thompson

Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio University, U.S.A.

Reliable meteorological observations for climate reconstruction are limited or absent prior to A.D. 1850 for much of the Earth and particularly in the Tibetan Plateau region of central Asia and in tropical south America. Over 50% of the Earth’s surface lie between 30oN and 30oS and 75% of the world’s inhabitants live and conduct their activities in these tropical regions. Thus, much of the climatic activity of significance to humanity, such as variations in the occurrence and intensity of the EI Nino-Southern Oscillation and Monsoons, are largely confined to lower latitudes. Moreover, the variability of these tropical systems and particularly that of the tropical hydrological system in response to regional and global climate forcing are not well understood.

Fortunately, ice core records are also available form selected high altitude, low and mid-latitude icecaps. The ice core studies described here were undertaken as part of a long term program to acquire the global-scale, high resolution climatic and environmental history essential for understanding more fully the linkages between the low sand the high latitudes. Comparison will be made between ice core records from Plateau: Dunde Ice Cap (38oN; 5325 m asl); the Guliya Ice Cap (35oN; 6200 m asl) and preliminary data coming from the new Dasuopu, Himalaya (China, 28oN, 7200 m asl) cores. The Tibetan records are compare and contrasted with the recent tropical ice climatic records from Hauscaran and Sajama. Cooling of (~8oC) contributes to the growing body of evidence that the tropical climate was cooler and more variable during the last glacial cycle and has renewed current interest in the tropical water vapor cycle. The new tropical ice core records raise additional questions about our understanding of the role of the tropics in global climate. Evidence for recent worming on the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau will be discussed relative to altitude from which the records have been recovered.


Brigitte Urban

Fachhochschule Nordostniedersachsen, University of Applied Sciences,

Suderburg, Germany

In the Schuningen open lignite mine (Northeastern Lower Saxony, Germany), Tertiary strata are unconformably overlain by Quaternary sediments and soils of Middle and Late Pleistocene and Holocene age. The complex Pleistocene sequence contains a range of interglacial and interstadial deposits and soils and is of significance for the subdivision of the younger Middle Pleistocene in Central Europe and for archeological evidence of early occupation by Homo erectus. Recent studies have revealed evidence for three interglacial periods between the Elsterian and the Saalian ice advances. At the base of early interglacial layers of the Holsteinian period (Late Elsterian?), artifacts and remains of large mammals have been recovered. Burned flint of a fire place gave a thermoluminescence age of 450+/-40 ka (D. Richter, unpublished) and suggests a correlation of the Elsterian glacial period with isotope stage 12.

The next younger warm stage, named the Reinsdorf interglacial, is the source of debate as it has no clear palynostratigraphic equivalent elsewhere in Europe. Recently travertine layers of the Homo erectus site of Bilzingsleben (Thuringia, Germany) have been correlated with the Reinsdorf interglacial by palynological data. In addition to pollen, the deposits of the Reinsdorf are also rich in small and large mammal remains, and contain a variety of invertebrates and plant macrofossils. The interglacial layers and soils contain two lower paleolithic horizons. Of utmost importance are seven recently excavated, extremely well preserved wooden artifacts (spears) made from spruce trunks, found within layers of the Reinsdorf Interstadial II, following the Reinsdorf interglacial (H. Thieme). These layers are also rich in skeleton remains of horses. The spear finds and remains of hunted prey are proving the capability for organized hunting of Early Humans.

The peaty horizon of the Schuningen interglacial is concidered to be the youngest of those three interglacial periods. Based on Uranium/Thorium dating of peat, the Holsteinian, Reinsdorf and Schöningen interglacials are tentatively correlated with oxygen isotope stages 11 (Holsteinian > 350 ka), 9 (Reinsdorf about 320 ka) and 7 (Schöningen about 200 ka).

There is evidence of a soil complex developed in glacial sediments of the Drenthe Stadial (Saalian). These Stagno-(Calcaric) Gleysols are overlain by reworked loess-like material with cryoturbations and eolian loess accumulated during the Warthe Stadial (Saalian). The hydromorphic duplex soils have not yet been studied in detail.

Travertine and peat layers of the last interglacial (Eemian) accumulated during the second half of the warm stage over a time span of about 6000 years. Local hydrologic conditions during the late Eemian interglacial and early glacial (Weichselian) periods have been reconstructed by pollenanalyses and plant macro remains, specifically by moss analyses. Eemian peaty layers have given a Thorium/Uranium age of 115-149 ka (H.Heijnis) and are correlated with oxygene isotope stage 5.


Rob Van der Voo

Department of Geological Sciences, the University of Michigan,

Ann Arbor, MI. 48109-1063, U.S.A., e-mail

During the last fifteen years a series of spectacular reversal records of the geomagnetic field have been produced by magnetostratigraphic studies of the loess and paleosol sequences in the Loess Plateau of China. In many different publications not only the major reversals (Brunhes-Matuyama, Jaramillo, Olduvai, and Matuyama-Gauss), but also minor ones (Blake, Cobb Mountain, “Gilsa” (=”Stage 54 event”), and Reunion I and II) have been documented, and further examples of such records will be presented as obtained by J. J. Li, X. M. Fang and colleagues in the Lanzhou and Linxia areas of the western Loess Plateau. Thus, it is clear that the major features of the geomagnetic polarity record are faithfully recorded by the loess and paleosol sequences.

An unresolved question, however, is how well detailed features of the magnetostratigraphic records, such as polarity-transition directions and pre-transitional excursions, reflect the actual geomagnetic field, or whether these transitional directions are artifacts caused by variably delayed magnetization acquisitions. Such effects, of course, hinge on the manner in which the magnetic carriers formed, but to-date little consensus has emerged about the possible genesis of new magnetite, maghemite or hematite grains in paleosols, or even in loess. To resolve the issue of how reliable the directional patterns are, a first approach must be to sample multiple sections and to see whether the same patterns are horizontally repeated. Only if it can be shown that the patterns are reproduceable and that they can be deemed contemporaneous over large distances, can the features be interpreted in terms of geomagnetic field behavior.



Adry J. van Velzen

Paleomagnetic laboratory of department of earth sciences, utrecht university, budapestlaan 17, 3584 cd, utrecht, netherlands.

Magnetite grains are easily oxidized under atmospheric conditions. At room temperature the oxidation is initially constrained to the surface layer of the grains. This causes considerable internal stress. Due to the stress coercivities of grains increase and related rock magnetic properties are modified accordingly (van Velzen and Zijderveld, 1995). Heating to moderate temperatures (150 C) reduces the coercivities to values expected for unoxidized magnetite. These are the same values found in samples that are demonstrably less affected by weathering. The changes after heating to 150 C can serve as a test for surface oxidation of magnetite grains. Another effect of the surface oxidation is the suppression of the Verwey-transition at about -150 C (Özdemir et al., 1993). The 150 C heating effect was initially discovered in only slightly weathered outcrops of marine sediments (van Velzen and Zijderveld, 1992), but were also recognized in samples from the surface of volcanic rocks. So far, it was only found in pure magnetite, not in titanomagnetite. During the history of formation of a loess-paleosol sequence, there are many opportunities for low-temperature oxidation. Recent weathering in the outcrop is the most likely cause, but oxidation might also occur during wind transport before deposition, during soil formation or in a later stage due to exposure to groundwater.

In loesses from several areas, the reduction of coercivities after heating to 150 C has been observed. It was therefore concluded that the magnetite grains in the loesses have been effected by low-temperature oxidation, causing an increase of coercivities. The effect of this increase on other rock magnetic parameters depends on the grain size distribution of the magnetite in each case. The most common effects are an increase of IRM, a decrease of ARM and a decrease of magnetic susceptibility. Depending on the timing of the oxidation, this can have important consequences for the interpretation of variations in rock magnetic parameters that are used as paleoclimate indicators. In the simple case of recent weathering, only a correction of rock magnetic parameters is required. If it can be shown that the low-temperature oxidation is not recent but has taken place before or shortly after deposition of the loess, the degree of oxidation will possibly be a direct indicator of paleoclimatic circumstances. The first aim is now to separate the effects of recent weathering from possible earlier low-temperature oxidation.



Kenneth l. Verosub

Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 USA

Over the years, paleomagnetists have developed a number of mineral magnetic techniques for determining the mineralogy, grain-size and domain state of the magnetic carriers of the paleomagnetic signal. Recently, it has been recognized that these parameters can be influenced by various environmental processes, especially pedogenesis. As a result, environmental magnetism has rapidly emerged as a new field of geophysics. Among the advantages of the environmental magnetic approach are that it is rapid, simple, non-destructive, and inexpensive, and it can be used to address problems that may be inaccessible using other techniques, including the mechanism of magnetic susceptibility enhancement in soils and the partitioning of the iron in loess/paleosol sequences.

The establishment of environmental magnetism as a separate discipline coincides with the development the automated, long-core cryogenic magnetometer, an instrument that makes it possible to undertake environmental magnetic studies of continuous cores of unconsolidated material. The new 2-G Enterprises Model 755-R cryogenic magnetometer at the University of California, Davis, is specially designed for making high-resolution continuous measurements of long sedimentary cores. The instrument can make automated measurements of natural remanent magnetism (NRM), anhysteretic remanent magnetism (ARM), isothermal remanent magnetism (IRM) and magnetic susceptibility. The measurements are made on samples collected in non-magnetic, plastic u-channels which are up to 1.5 m long. The throughput of the magnetometer is about 50 times faster than with individual sample boxes so a complete ten-level demagnetization of a 1.5 meter u-channel at a resolution of 1 cm can be done in less than three hours, and a full suite of mineral magnetic measurements on a 10-meter core section can be done in less than three days. With the appropriate software, it is possible to generate down-core logs of individual and composite magnetic parameters as well as plots of orthogonal vector component at any specified interval. The new instrumentation thus makes it feasible to undertake environmental magnetic (and paleomagnetic) studies that involve tens of meters or even a few hundreds of meters of core from an individual site.

Equally important is the ultra-high resolution of the resulting environmental magnetic record. As a test of the capabilities of the long-core cryogenic magnetometer, studies have been conducted on long sedimentary cores from an alluvial fan in California, a marine estuary in Hong Kong, a loess/paleosol sequence in Washington State, several lakes in the Pacific Northwest and California, and a varved fjord in British Columbia. These studies clearly demonstrate the feasibility of using environmental magnetic measurements to resolve proxy paleoclimate features with time scales of a millennium or less.



Natasa J. Vidic,1), Kenneth L. Verosub 2)

University of Ljubljana, Agronomy Dept., 1111 Ljubljana, Slovenia

University of California, Dept. of Geology, Davis, CA 95616, USA

The magnetic properties of a chronosequence of soils ranging in age from 5 ka to 1.8 Ma were studied to determine the pedogenic enhancement of the magnetic susceptibility and its temporal trends as well as the magnetic mineralogy of the soils. The soils of the Ljubljana Basin chronosequence formed in predominantly carbonate sandy gravel outwash of different ages. The present climate is temperate humid (mean annual temperature 9oC, mean annual precipitation 140-170 cm); the soil temperature regime is mesic, and the soil moisture regime is udic.

Various magnetic properties were measured for the less than 2 mm fraction of each sample before and after a citrate-bicarbonate-dithionite (CBD) extraction which was used to remove pedogenic iron compounds (FeCBD). These properties included low (c lf) and high (c hf) frequency mass magnetic susceptibilities , anhysteretic remanent magnetisation (ARM), isothermal remanent magnetisation (IRM), and saturation isothermal remanent magnetisation (SIRM). ARM susceptibility (c ARM) and the S-ratio (-IRM-300mT/SIRM) were also calculated.

The c lf values of parent material (C horizons of soils <62 ka) are 25-30 x 10-8 m3kg-1, except for the Holocene (5 ka) deposit which displays higher c lf values (60-80 x 10-8 m3kg-1). The c lf of soils of all ages is surficially enhanced compared to deeper soil horizons, but the values vary greatly (45 to 180 x 10-8 m3kg-1). The surficial enhancement of the pre-CBD c ARM (2.5-10 x 10-6 m3kg-1 compared to 0.9-2 x 10-6 m3kg-1 in deeper horizons), which is especially sensitive to the presence of single domain (SD) and pseudosingle domain (PSD) ferrimagnetic grains, is even more pronounced than the enhancement of c lf suggesting that these grains carry most of the susceptibility signal. The thickness of the surficially enhanced zone increases with the age of soils (from ca. 20 to ca. 80 cm). No statistically significant temporal trends were observed in the surficially enhanced pre-CBD c lf values, but the frequency dependence of the susceptibility increases with the logarithm of the soil-age and reaches a limit of ca.11% (with one outlying value of ca. 16% for one of the 1.8 Ma soils). c ARM/c lf plots for all of the soils are linear and have a constant slope possibly suggesting a uniformity of grain size for the pedogenic magnetic component. The S-ratio of the parent material is close to 1 indicating that all of the magnetic minerals are ferrimagnetic. S-ratios of surficially enhanced horizons are generally higher than 0.85, but in deeper horizons of soils >44 ka they can be lower than 0.5 implying a much greater percentage of antiferromagnetic minerals.



D.A. Wysocki*, S. J. Indorante, and P.J. Schoeneberge

National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, NE and NRCS Carbondale, IL.

Thick loess deposits and alluvial sediments with inclusive paleosols form the most complete terrestrial stratigraphic sequences in the geologic record. Precise interpretation and correlation of loessial or alluvial sequences require careful and complete field observations and descriptions. Soil horizonation, weathering zones, and post burial changes are superimposed on sediment bodies. Detailed descriptions of stacked sequences must independently, and in concert, portray the relationships of soil horizons, fine geologic structure, weathering zones, changes in facies, and major stratigraphic boundaries (both pedostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic) including unconformities. The description recorded at a specific site should also be directly comparable to other sites of the same sequence. Furthermore, scientists of various backgrounds (e.g., geologists, pedologists, and archeologists) and geographic proclivities work cooperatively, but also independently in the study of loessial or alluvial sequences. To enhance both cross discipline and global communication we propose that a common convention and nomenclature be established for field description. Our system combines soil horizon nomenclature, terms for weathering zones, and stratigraphic terminology. Present nomenclature, however, can not denote all the relationships that exist in stacked sequences. We propose adding several terms that denote the occurrence of paleosols, geosols, and both major and minor stratigraphic changes. New soil horizon descriptors are also needed to indicate post burial changes and/or mixing of soil horizons during burial, and as indicators for paleosol classification. We will present examples of both loessial and alluvial sequences in the mid-continent USA to explain our description system.



Xing Chengqi Zhang Jie Dong Zhiping

Seismological Institute of Lanzhou, CSB, Lanzhou 730000, China

This is a methodological research on the chronology of soil development with the view of dating active structures in the piedmont of the Yumushan mountains of the Hexi corridor, China. Based on chemical analyses of soil samples systematically collected from test pits dug in terraces of different periods and C-14 and thermoluminescence dating of these terraces, the authors made a detailed study on the primary physical and chemical features of soil development in this region related to the new fault activities, as well as their evolution law with time. The quantitative relations of the content and accumulation index value of CaCO3 in soils to ages of soil development were established preliminarily. Examination and contrastive analysis show that the established formulae are applicable to the active fault dating in similar areas.



Xing Chengqi

Seismological Institute of Lanzhou, CSB, Lanzhou 730000, China

In the soil of the northern piedmont zone of the eastern section of the Altun mountains, thickness of calcium carbonate coating on pebbles evidently increases with growing age of soils or proluvial fans. On five period proluvial fans dated from 181000 to 8000 yr. ago in this zone, the thicknesses of pebble calcic coatings were systematically and carefully measured, and the mean accumulation rate of the calcic coatings was calculated to be about 0.01mm/Ka yr. Using this rate value, formation ages of some offset ancient streams and offset proluvial fans distributed along the Altun fault were successfully calculated. The ages estimated agree almost with the results determined by using C-14 and other absolute dating methods.

* The projects financially supported by Seismological Association Foundation (9100006, 197021).



E. Yakimenko,* V. Targulian,* N. Chumakov,** M. Arefjev,*** S. Inozemtcev***

Institute of Geography*, Geological Institute** , RAS; Moscow State University***

The global small-scale paleoclimatic reconstruction for the end of Permian and the beginning of Triassic periods show that warm nonglacial type of climatic zonaliy determined on the Earth not in the beginning of Trias, but essentially earlier, namely by the end of Permian. The huge belt of red calcareous beds and related specific gley-glossic paleosols within them covered almost all medium and low latitudes of the land. Outcrops of the late Permian Polder and Salarevo formations (northern part of Russian plain) studied deposits consist of alternation of three kinds of members: gray colored sandstones, non laminated homogeneous red colored mudstones and brightly patchy colored stratified mudstones containing about 5-10 individual paleosols directly superimposing each other. The parent material for each paleosol within every soil profile is rather alike: red, nonlaminated, carbonate-rich mudstones. The superimposing stratification of paleosols allow to assume the pulsatory regime of sedimentation of the deposits enclosing these paleosols. All field-studied paleosols occuring within the multiprofile red colored mudstones have a similar type of profile, i.e. the near set of pedogenic horizons. The most part of these paleosols did not retain their surface organic horizons: they were either completely eroded or mineralized. The core repeating morphotype of studied late Permian paleosols consists of: three main types of pedogenic horizons, superimposing each other from top to bottom and holding the most part of soil record or memory. Eg-horizon, 10 (15) cm thick, the most bleached in profile, white when dry and olive-gray when moist; some pale-red residual spots or even “shadows” of the bleached former pieces of bright-red parent material occur on such background; the lower boundary of horizon is typically glossic with the deep penetration of bleached whitish-olive-gray silty-clay carbonate-rich material along the root channels into the deeper carbonate red beds. This is very unusual type of glossic phenomena: vertical zones around and along the paleo root channels form a very complex and fractal network of bleached tubes narrowing with the depth. EgB -50 (70)cm thick, the most striped and patchy, fractal organized horizon, consisting of predominating bright silty-clay carbonate-rich red beds penetrated by riotous dendroidal network of white or olive-gray tubes (diameter from 3-5cm to 1-3mm) similar by texture and carbonatization with the background. Some of these glossic tubes can pick not only this horizon but the whole 2m.thickness of individual soil profile and enter into the underlaying one; the red background of horizon have complex platy-blocky-prismatic structure and moderately developed illuvial argillans and stress cutans - slikenslides. BC -50(120)cm thick, rather homogeneous in color, red carbonate-rich mudstones with rare thin olive-gray tubes (along the deep roots). Paleobotanists described in these paleosols two new species of root systems (Radicites erraticus and R. sukhonesis Aref. & Naug., 1998) belonging to the grass plants with the deep abundant subvertically dendroidal roots and having some features of the perennials ephemeroids. All studied samples of these soils have very low content of Corg., alkaline to strong alkaline pH (8.5 - 9.6), very variable content of carbonates (8 -50 %) and exchangeable cations. The smectites predominate in the clay fraction which contents also some amounts of chlorites and illites; the kaolinites are completely absent. The content of Fe2O3d. in bleached tube zone substance ( about 0.3 %) are in order less then in red zone substance (3.0-3.6 %). At the same time the suit and composition of the phyllosilicates persist practically the same in these two contrasting zones of paleosols. It means that these glossic bleached root tubes were formed mainly by the “pure” gleyic-stagnic transformations of the free iron oxides without any alkaline aggression against the phyllosilicates. We think that it is the main biota-connected pedogenic process that defines the most bright morphological features in studied paleosols, so these features can be used both in paleopedogenic and stratigraphical purposes. The second bright process is the carbonate impregnation of all paleosol profiles, but up to now it is not clear if it is the real pedogenic process, or lithoinheritanse, or result of some postpedogenic processes.. The other important pedogenic processes in these paleosols are: the formation of complex multiordered pedality in EgB and BC horizons, lessivage and vertic processes. The field study of the multistage paleosoils within the red-colored members of late-Permian Polder and Salarevo formations allow us to frame the working hypothesis of the successive rotation of the pedogenesis and sedimentation in this period of time. The red carbonate sediment accumulation fulfilled discontinuously and the non laminated red beds about 1-2 m thick was deposited in each discrete cycle. After it , during the discontinuity in sedimentation, the subaerial epigenesis of this sediments was beginning, i.e. in situ weathering and pedogenesis. The land surface was covering by grasses with deep root systems that formed step by step the each particular profile with the gley-glossic bleached tubes deep fingering into the red parent material of sediments. The combination of three main features in studied paleosoils and sediments (total carbonatization, bright red color and stagnic-gleyic bleached tubes along the deep root systems) allow us to suppose that these paleopedosediments were developing in very contrast climatic and hydrological environment. The sedimentation properly intervened in hot arid climate and in oxidizing geochemical conditions mainly by sheet wash of red silt and clay particles and its accumulation in shallow lagoons and plain deltas. But after sedimentation the posterior pedogenesis was governed not only by general climate aridity but also by rainy seasons of climate and by periods of surface and subsurface inundations and waterloggings. The excess of water coming from atmosphere during wet seasons in combination with additional water coming from higher continental slopes and/or from the nearest see or lake shores created the seasonal excess of moisture within the soil, particularly around the roots as the source of reducing-agent, i.e. organic matter . Such combination of seasonal climatic and geomorphic hydromorphism in soils of arid regions is rather ordinary for recent pedosphere, but the specific imprinting of the hydromorphism in a form of studied gley-glossic red calcisols is rather rare and, as it seems, has no close analogs among described recent soils. The main problems for further investigations are the following: to determine the age and duration of pedogenesis in every individual paleosol, to understand the fate of iron leaching from gleyc-stagnic bleached tubes, to study the silicates weathering and carbonate generations to discriminate the paleosedimentation processes and paleopedogenesis properly.



YAN Maodu, LU Lianqing, CHEN Shiyue, FANG Xiaomin, LI Jijun

Department of Geography, Lanzhou university, China, 73000

The Lanzhou-Linxia area and Hezuo, located respectively in the western Loess Palteau and the NE Tibetan Plateau, have developed very thick loess-paleosol sequences favorable for study of high-resolution climatic change. The precipitation is not so high, but varies very largely both seasonally and trans-annually. Carbonate leaching is very sensitive to this process, thus can be served as a proxy for precipitation change. 21-point running average of densely-sampled carbonate curves from the shajinping and jiuzhoutai sections in lanzhou, beiyuan section in linxia, and hezuo section on the ne tibetan plateau show a very comparable pattern to the stacked marine isotope record during stages 1-6 (martinson et al., 1987), suggests that carbonate as a proxy for climatic change at tens of thousands of year scale can give convincing result.

High-resolution carbonate records from those sections have revealed at least 21 valleys running at millennial scale, most of which seem to be correlated with most warm peaks of the GRIP isotopic record. This suggests that carbonate as a proxy for revealing high-resolution climatic change is also practicable.

Moreover, high values with high frequency and large amplitude of fluctuation of carbonate content are observed for the early last glacial, particularly between isotopic warm peaks 18 and 19 in the GRIP record. This may indicate that moisture kept at a high level and varied very largely in the early last glacial. Thus a cold-humid environment is suggested for that time. Since magnetic susceptibility is very low for this part of the stratigraphy, it seems that carbonate could become a more sensitive and practicable proxy for climatic change in cold-humid environment than susceptibility.



Yugo Onoa), Fang Xiao-Mina-d), Pan Bao-Tianb), Li Ji-Jun b), Guan Dong-Hongb),

Hitoshi Fukusawad), Shizuo Nagatsukac), and Masayuki Toriie)

a) Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060 Japan

b) Department of Geography, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, PR China

c) Department of Applied Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Tennou-dai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, 305 Japan

d) Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Hachioji, 192-03 Japan

e) Division of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Graduate School of Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-01 Japan

The 23 m Shajinping loess section on the second terrace of Huang He (the Yellow River) in the City of Lanzhou has been found to have developed at least 20-layers of moderately to weakly developed paleosols each 30-50 cm in thickness occurring at similar intervals of about 1 m (ca. 2,500 years), with several very weakly developed soil horizons, during the past 60,000 years BP Fig 1). Field observations and laboratory analyses including soil micromorphology have indicated that Holocene paleosols are weekly- moderately developed luvic calcisols in type characterized by a distinct dull brown (7.5YR 5/3) medium angular blocky ped Bw horizon relatively rich in organic matter and clay content and low in carbonates (round 9 wt %), and a clear massive Bk horizon with carbonates up to 16 wt % as fine nodules and channel coatings and infillings. Paleosols in the last glacial and last mega-interstadial are mainly weekly developed manifested merely as a thin dull yellowish brown (10YR 5/4 - 4/3) massive-medium blocky ped ochric A horizon or mollic A horizon slightly rich in organic matter and clay content and low in carbonates (round 9-10 wt %) as fine nodules and thin coatings. However, there are six moderately developed paleosols similar in pedogenesis to Holocene paleosols. Their organic matter and clay contents in Bw horizon and carbonate enrichments in Bk horizon are only slightly lower than that of Holocene paleosols. These six paleosols occur at similar intervals of 3-4 m (about half of the precession cycle, i.e. 10,000) and seem to have good correlation with the starting warm peaks of each Bond cycle (Fig. 1).

Continuous sampling of the section at 2.5-5 cm intervals for measurement of contents of carbonates and magnetic susceptibility have yielded decadal- to century-scale climatic records. These records have demonstrated that the Asian summer monsoon experienced rapid episodic warm pulses lasting only about several hundreds to two thousands of years in the last mega-interstadial and late last glacial. These warm pulses, forming several associations characterized by high peaks at the start and gradual lower peaks in the late, can correlate to warm peaks of the oxygen isotopic climatic record from the GRIP ice core in Greenland. Most of these warm pules occur in non- or quasi-orbital forcing cycles and have pedogenic responses as described above. This indicates, on a hand, that the millennial Asian summer monsoon change in the last glacial has also the nature of instability and features similar to the Dansgaard-Oscher events and Bond cycles in the Northern Atlantic region, except for that the summer monsoon seems to have milder fluctuating amplitudes and more complicated temperature-precipitation patterns in different stages of the last glacial, which may suggest various settings of Asian circulation system. However, the mechanism for the monsoon instability is uncertain now. It seems that the Asian monsoon works on its own driving forces. On other hand, it may indicate that pedogenesis is a continuous process in response to climatic change and only needs less than few hundreds of years in equilibrium to a climate in semiarid and arid areas. This challenges the usage of soil classification and some concepts such as “monogenetic or polygenetic soil and mature or unmature soil” in climatic change.


Zhang Hucai

Department of Geographical Sciences, Lanzhou University,

Lanzhou 730000, China

Soils and palaeosols are the reliable climate indicators and records. But the soils developed in different environments possess different characters. In the aspects of palaeoclimatic reconstruction, finding out suitable climate proxy is one of the paramount and most difficult tasks.

The processes of soil development are not only controlled by the temperature, precipitation and materials, but also the intensity of bioactivity and bioproductivity, ground water level and physical property of the materials. Therefore, the soils developed in different environments are various and their is no common suitable climate proxy.



Zhang Pingzhong Wang Xianbin and Wang Sumin**

*State Key Laboratory of Gas Geochemistry, Lanzhou Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, P. R. China

**Lake Sediment and Environmental Laboratory, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnolgy, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, P. R. China

The analysis results of the soil organic matter content and 13C from two soil profoles in Jiujing, Jiangxi province indicate that the ecological shift during the last glacial age can be forced by the monsoonal effect and the global change of the carbon dioxide concentration. The Heinrich events in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, i.e. Bond cycles, may also impact dramatically on the climate in the eastern China, and their distributions can control the each other shift of the C3 and C4 and the sediment types. The CO2 concentration and other greenhouse gas are one of the forcing factors to the Heinrich events.


Zhu Xianmo1), Zhao Jingbo2)

1) institute of water and Soil conservation, Acvademia Sinica and Ministry of water Consorvancy, 712100

2) Xi’an Engineering University, 710054

According to the minerals in X-ray diffrection of degenerated plants, loess and paleosols, we know that the degenerating process of plant can form various clay minerals, and the longer the degenerating process is, the more the clay mineral formed is. The clay mineral formed by pants exists mainly in the form of clay film, and it is optically oriented clay film observed by microscope. The clay film in loess and paleosols is similar to that formed by plants, it should be formed by plant degeneration too.

In the clay minerals formed by plants in palcosols, asknite comes first, kaolinite and glimmercon come second , which indicates that the final stage in the degenerating process of plants was tend to form askanite.

According to the content and distribution of clay film in paleosols, we know that the formation of clay film produced by plants needed certain climate condition. As the loess areas is concerned, the forest and forest--steppe which grew in the areas with moist and serni-arid climate were more favourable to the formation of clay film than the stepper which grew in the areas with arid climate,. The roots of plants developed well and the roots decomposed slowly in the areas with moist climate , which was favourable to the formation of clay mineral, therefore we do not think that all clay film was formed by woody plants. The climates was arid and the steppe developed during the development of loess strata, hence, it is possible that herb was of main action in the process of forming clay mineral. The clay film in the loess strata developed under alikline and oxidizing conditions universally, but a little clay film contained steel ore developed reducing conditions.

The content of clay film changes with climate change, by studying developmental condition of clay film furtherly, it is possible that we use the clay film as a index in reconstructing paleoenvironment. The predecessors thinked that the clay film in soil or paleosols was formed by leaching and illuvating process , and it represented acid condition and forest vegeration. The determination of the plant origination of clay film is very important for us to distinguish the type of paleosols and reconstruct paleoenvironment as well as amend the theory of soil science.