Science in China Series D

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 518–530 | Cite as

Paleoenvironments indicated by the fossil mammalian assemblages from red clay-loess sequence in the Chinese Loess Plateau since 8.0 Ma B.P.

Article

Abstract

Information from eleven profiles of eolian earthy red silty clay and loess of the middle of the Late Miocene to Holocene age have been studied and correlated. A complete summary profile with projected isotopic ages and fossil-bearing beds has been assembled. The profile is subdivided into 12 stratigraphic units proceeding from the lower (older) to the upper (younger) one. The character of mammalian assemblages contained in each unit was analyzed and the corresponding paleo-climatic environments were deduced. The environmental character of each period and the change from the middle of the Late Miocene at about 8.0 Ma B.P. up to the Holocene progressed from the hot semiarid and semi-moist, warmer-moist, warm-moister of the Late Miocene. To slightly less warm moist, cool-dry, slight-warmer-moister of the Pliocene; later the cool to cold dry periods alternated frequently with the mild semiarid and semi-moist periods of the Quatemary. Vegetation progressed from the grasslands with sparse woods, wooded shrub-grasslands and subtropical forest-grasslands of the Late Miocene age to sparse grasslands and dry grasslands of the Pliocene; and to sparse grasslands, dry grasslands and tundras of the Quaternary. The climate changes in the Neogene were of low-amplitute in a generally warm-humid background. Those of the Quaternary were of higher amplitude with a longer phase. Cool or cold dry and slightly warm semiarid and semi-moist climates alternated on a generally cool-dry background. The tendency since the start of the Quaternary was the change to more northern and westerm shift in the Loess Plateau, with progressively cooler and dryer conditions. The dramatic uplift of the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau and the forming and expansion of the Arctic ice sheet might be the main reasons of the more pronounced changes in the Quatemary.

Keywords

paleoenvironment mammalian fossils eolian red clay-loess sequence Loess Plateau 

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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xue Xiangxu 
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhang Yunxiang 
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yue Leping 
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Continent Dynamics (Northwest University), Institute of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Department of GeologyNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Institute of Earth Environment, State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary GeologyChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina

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