, Volume 50, Issue 8, pp 1218-1224

The discovery of annually laminated sediments (varves) from shallow Sugan Lake in inland arid China and their paleoclimatic significance

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Detailed examination of sedimentary cores retrieved from Sugan Lake in the northern Qaidam Basin of northwest China’s Tibetan Plateau reveal that fine laminated beddings form in the sediments where water depth exceeds 3 m. Seasonal surface sediments trapped at the bottom of the lake suggest that sediments deposited during summer and autumn are mainly light colored monohydrocalcites, while those deposited in winter are dark organic matter, indicating that varve layers form under modern limnological conditions. Continuous varve sediments comprising four types have accumulated in the upper 5.5 m of Core SG03I from the center of the lake. All types exhibit clear seasonality indicative of annual deposition. Varve counts correspondence with 210Pb dates on recent sediments in the upper core suggest the continuous varves of the upper 5.5 m of the core formed in the late Holocene (2670 a BP). The Sugan Lake varve sequence is the first demonstration of annually laminated sediments reported in arid western China.

Supported by the NSFC (National Natural Science Foundation of China) National Innovation Research Team Project (Grant No. 40421101), and the NSFC Research Projects (Grant Nos. 40301050 and 40301051)