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Plagioclase sub-species in Chinese loess deposits: Implications for dust source migration and past climate change

He, Tong, Liu, Lianwen, Chen, Yang, Sheng, Xuefen, Ji, Junfeng
Quaternary Research 2016 v.85 pp. 17-24
calcium oxide, climate change, deserts, dust, glaciation, loess, mixing, paleosolic soil types, plagioclase, China
Plagioclase mineral sub-species in the Lingtai Section in central Chinese Loess Plateau are examined using Mineral Liberation Analyzer techniques, showing that loess and paleosol samples exhibit similar patterns in terms of plagioclase feldspar sub-species content. This suggests that both loess and paleosol units have preserved their primary Ca-bearing plagioclase compositions of loess source regions. Weighted average CaO (%) in Ca-bearing plagioclase lies within a narrow range and is equivalent to the average plagioclase composition for upper continental crust. This fact supports the hypothesis that Chinese loess deposits are the result of a thorough mixing of dust sources. The sum of Ca-bearing plagioclase content exhibits a general increasing trend superimposed by glacial–interglacial oscillations. In combination with observed plagioclase data in the deserts, the variations of Ca-bearing plagioclase minerals might be used as a proxy for dust source migration and climate changes in the loess source regions. Furthermore, linear relationship between lithogenic magnetic susceptibility (MS) component input and contents of Ca-bearing plagioclase in loess units revises a MS proxy for reconstructing paleo-monsoon precipitation history. The revised MS and plagioclase sub-species records help in understanding the mechanism of glaciation across northern Tibetan Plateau.