Article

Chinese Science Bulletin

, 53:3016

First online:

Climate and environment reconstruction during the Medieval Warm Period in Lop Nur of Xinjiang, China

  • ChunMei MaAffiliated withSchool of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University Email author 
  • , FuBao WangAffiliated withSchool of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University
  • , QiongYing CaoAffiliated withSchool of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University
  • , XunCheng XiaAffiliated withChinese Academy of Sciences, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography
  • , ShengFeng LiAffiliated withSchool of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University
  • , XuSheng LiAffiliated withSchool of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University

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Abstract

We made multi-proxy analysis of 14C, grain size, microfossils, plant seeds, and geochemical elements on samples from a profile in the central West Lake of Lop Nur. The grain size suggests relatively stable sedimentary environment around the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) with weak storm effect, which is followed by frequent strong storm events. Abundant microfossils and plant seeds in this stage indicate a warm and humid fresh to brackish lake environment. C, N, and stable elements are high in content in the sediments while Rb/Sr, Ba/Sr, and Ti/Sr are in a steady low level. In addition, plenty of red willows lived here prior to about 700 a B.P., indicating a favorable environmental condition. The results indicate that the environment in Lop Nur and its west bank turned to be favorable at about 2200 a B.P., where the Loulan Culture began to thrive. Then the climate and environment came to be in the good condition in the Tang and Song Dynasties, when the storm effect became weaker, rainfall increased and the salty lake water turned to be brackish to fresh lake water. Hence, limnic biomass increased with higher species diversity.

Keywords

Lop Nur of Xinjiang Medieval Warm Period climate change grain size microfossils geochemistry ancient culture paleo-vegetation