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Identifying paleoflood deposits archived in Zhongba Site, the Three Gorges reservoir region of the Yangtze River, China

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Based on the principle that the present is the key to the past, detailed analyses, such as AMS14C dating, grain size, component and morphology of heavy minerals, micro-morphology of zircon, Rb/Sr, magnetic susceptibility and total organic carbon (TOC), were conducted to identify paleoflood sediments archived in Zhongba Site. The results indicate that the plaeoflood sediments bear great similarities with modern flood sediments in the following aspects: (1) probability cumulative curves mainly show a pattern of 3–4 segments; (2) grain-size distribution of suspended matter ranges between 3 and 10Φ; (3) the sediments are well-sorted, most of which are suspended matter (>50%); (4) the same species, quantity and morphology of heavy minerals; (5) scanning electronic microscope images show that shapes of zircon are mainly oval and nearly spheral, rounded due to long-distance transport; (6) higher Rb/Sr values (0.55 –0.66)than those of sediments from cultural layers (0.03 –0.26); (7) magnetic susceptibility values (133.73–433.05 10−6m3/kg) are lower than those of sediments from cultural layers (959.25–2442.44 10−6 m3/kg); (8) TOC (0.14%–0.33%) are lower than those of sediments from cultural layers (1.13%–2.95%). Our results demonstrate that, except for the 1981 flood, there are at least six paleoflood events that occurred during the Qing Dynasty, the middle of Song Dynasty, the early Warring States (400BC–350BC), the West Zhou Dynasty (920BC–900BC), the Xia Dynasty (2070BC–600BC), and the late Neolithic Age (3000BC–2300BC), respectively.

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Correspondence to Cheng Zhu.

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Zhu, C., Zheng, C., Ma, C. et al. Identifying paleoflood deposits archived in Zhongba Site, the Three Gorges reservoir region of the Yangtze River, China. Chin. Sci. Bull. 50, 2493–2504 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03183641

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  • Zhongba Site
  • identification of paleoflood deposits
  • shape of zircon
  • Rb/Sr
  • magnetic susceptibility
  • geochemistry indexes