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Analysis of late Quaternary dunefield development in Asia using the accumulation intensity model

Thomas, David S.G., Bailey, Richard M.
Aeolian research 2019 v.39 pp. 33-46
Holocene epoch, arid lands, databases, models, Asia
Asia possesses many extensive desert dune systems within the northern hemisphere subtropical belt and more northerly continental drylands. Collectively these may preserve important sedimentary records of dune system responses to climatic and environmental changes in the Quaternary period. We use the Accumulation Intensity (AI) methodology, which quantifies dune accumulation using luminescence-dated sedimentary records, to provide the first composite and comparable analysis of Asian dune system development in the Late Quaternary. The INQUA dune atlas database contains 826 age records for Asian dune systems, of which 284 meet the criteria for AI analysis. These are from the Negev, Rub’ al Khali, Thar and Hunshandake dunefields, and provide dune accumulation records of up to 150 ka. The majority of accumulation peaks occur within the late glacial to early Holocene (c20-10 ka) and in the late Holocene, but with limited coincidence in the timing of peaks between dune systems, such that coeval dune accumulation drivers are not proposed. However, some important data gaps are identified, and presently robust accumulation histories are only achievable for the Negev and eastern Rub’ al Khali.