Title

Implications of the loess record for Holocene climate and human settlement in Heye Catchment, Jiuzhaigou, eastern Tibetan Plateau, Sichuan, China

Abstract

We examine the Holocene loess record in the Heye Catchment on the margins of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and China Loess Plateau (CLP) to determine: the region to which the Heye Catchment climate is more similar; temporal change in wind strength; and modification of the loess record by mass wasting and human activity. Luminescence and radiocarbon dating demonstrate loess deposited in two periods: >11-8.6 ka and <5.1 ka. The 8.6-5.1 ka depositional hiatus, which coincides with the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum, is more similar to the loess deposition cessation in the TP than to the loess deposition deceleration in the CLP. Grain-size analysis suggests the Heye loess is a mixture of at least three different grain-size distributions and that it may derive from multiple sources. A greater proportion of coarse sediments in the older loess may indicate stronger winds compared with the more recent depositional period. Gravel incorporated into younger loess most likely comes from bedrock exposed in slump scarps. Human occupation of the catchment, for which the earliest evidence is 3.4 ka, postdates the onset of slumping; thus the slumps may have created a livable environment for humans.

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

3-1-2023

Publication Title

Quaternary Research

Department

Geology

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://dx.doi.org/10.1017/qua.2022.44

Keywords

Loess, Landslides, Tibetan Plateau, Archaeology, Mid-Holocene climatic optimum, Jiuzhaigou

Language

English

Format

text

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