, Volume 53, Issue 19, pp 3016-3027
Date: 20 Aug 2008

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

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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.

Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 40701190), the University Doctoral Foundation (Grant No. 20070284067), the Opening Test Foundation of Institute of Earth Environment, CAS and the Test Foundation of Modern Analyses Center of Nanjing University