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Journal of Arid Land  2014, Vol. 6 Issue (5): 511-528    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0064-y
Research Articles     
Early Holocene environment at a key location of the northwest boundary of the Asian summer monsoon: a synthesis on chronologies of Zhuye Lake, Northwest China
Yu LI, NaiAng WANG, ChengQi ZHANG, Yue WANG
Center for Hydrologic Cycle and Water Resources in Arid Region, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University,
Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract  The intensified monsoon increases summer rainfall and creates wet conditions in the Asian summer monsoon region during the early Holocene. Along with millennial-scale changes of the monsoon intensity, it is still unclear whether the boundary of the monsoon region changes according to monsoon variability. Investigations into the early Holocene environment in monsoon marginal zones are crucial for understanding the monsoon boundary changes. Zhuye Lake is located at the northwest edge of the Asian summer monsoon, the northern Qilian Mountains, which are less affected by modern summer monsoon water vapor. Previous studies have reached different conclusions regarding the early Holocene climatic and environmental changes based on different dating methods (14C and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence)) and materials (shells, carbonate, pollen concentrates and bulk organic carbon). In this study, we synthesized 102 14C dates and 35 OSL dates from ten Holocene sedimentary sections and ten paleo-shorelines in the lake basin. A comparison between ages from different dating methods and materials generally shows that carbon reservoir effects are relatively slight in Zhuye Lake while the disordered chronologies are mainly related to the erosion processes and reworking effects. In addition, proxy data, including lithology, pollen, total organic carbon and carbonate, were collected from different sites of Zhuye Lake. According to the new synthesis, the early Holocene environment was relatively humid, associated with high runoff and lake water levels. The result indicates that the monsoon boundary moves to the north during the period of the intensified monsoon. A typical arid-area lake was formed during the mid-Holocene when carbonate accumulation and high organic matter contents were the main features of this period. The lake retreated strongly during the late Holocene, showing a drought trend. Overall, the lake evolution is generally consistent with the Holocene Asian summer monsoon change, showing the monsoon influence to monsoon marginal zones.

Key wordsAristida species      competitive ability      Pappophorum vaginatum      Sporobolus cryptandrus      warm-season perennial grasses     
Received: 24 September 2013      Published: 12 October 2014

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41371009) and the Fundamental Research Fund for the Central Universities (lzujbky-2013-127).

Corresponding Authors: Yu LI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Yu LI, NaiAng WANG, ChengQi ZHANG, Yue WANG. Early Holocene environment at a key location of the northwest boundary of the Asian summer monsoon: a synthesis on chronologies of Zhuye Lake, Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 2014, 6(5): 511-528.

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