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Geochemical characterization of the middle and late Pleistocene alluvial fan-dominated infill of the northern part of the Weihe Basin, Central China
- Rits, Daniël S., Beets, Christiaan J., Prins, Maarten A., van Balen, Ronald T., Troelstra, Simon R., Luo, Chao, Wang, Bin, Li, Xiaoqiang, Zhou, Jie, Zheng, Hongbo
- Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2017 v.482 pp. 57-69
- basins, calcium, carbonates, clay, climate, dolomite, evaporation, hinterland, iron, loess, manganese, monsoon season, runoff, salinity, strontium, summer, tectonics, China
- Major reorganizations in climate and tectonic regime occurred in East Asia during the Pleistocene, resulting in large-scale environmental changes. In this paper a detailed geochemical and mineralogical record of these changes is presented from a distal alluvial fan sedimentary sequence in the northern Weihe Basin. We established that, in addition to glacial-interglacial variation, there are three distinctly different units deposited over the past 1m.y. These units are the result of variations in the overall tectonic regime in the northern Weihe Basin.Fine-grained detrital minerals were predominantly delivered during colder climatic periods, whereas evaporative minerals were dominantly deposited during the warmer, interglacial periods, probably as a result of strong seasonal contrast. This compositional variation demonstrates the importance of climate control on hinterland erosion, surface runoff, chemical weathering and evaporation.Al-normalized ratios of indicative major elements relative to average loess composition, indicate important variations in sedimentary processes, mostly related to sediment flux. Si-enrichment is an index for past flooding events, while Fe enrichment, just like K and Ti, reflects influx of clays. In contrast, Ca and Mn are strongly enriched throughout the core, associated with the authigenic precipitation of carbonates, especially during interglacial periods.The lower (~1000–690ka) and upper (~330–0ka) units of the core are characterized by relative intense and frequent flooding, which coincided with extensive ponding in the study area. In the middle unit (~690–330ka) increased salinity levels caused by evaporation, as reflected in the high Sr/Ca ratio and dolomite abundance, led to increased carbonate precipitation. Simultaneously, the increased influx of fine sediments indicates increased clay production in the source area as a result of a more intense summer monsoon strength after 600ka.