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Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 57, Issue 10, pp 2512–2521 | Cite as

Stratigraphy and otolith microchemistry of the naked carp Gymnocypris przewalskii (Kessler) and their indication for water level of Lake Qinghai during the Ming Dynasty of China

  • YuJiao Wang
  • ZhangDong JinEmail author
  • Ling Zhou
  • FuChun LiEmail author
  • Fei Zhang
  • LiuMei Chen
  • XinNing Qiu
  • RuGui Qi
Research Paper

Abstract

Otoliths are biogenic carbonate minerals in the inner ear of teleost fish, whose compositions can record the physical and chemical conditions of the ambient water environment inhabited by individual fish. In this research, the fishbones and otoliths of naked carp sampled near the Bird Island, offshore Lake Qinghai, were dated and analyzed for mineralogy and microchemical compositions. Comparing the microchemical compositions of ancient otoliths with those of modern otoliths, we conclude that the ancient naked carps inhabited a relict lake formed when the lake shrank from a high lake level, by combining with the AMS-14C ages of fishbones and otoliths, the stratigraphy and surrounding topography of the sample site. AMS-14C dating results of ancient fishbones and otoliths show that these naked carps lived from 680 to 300 years ago, i.e. during the Ming Dynasty of China. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns demonstrate that the ancient lapillus is composed of pure aragonite, identical to modern one, indicating that the mineral of lapillus didn’t change after a long time burial and that the ancient lapillus is suitable for comparative analysis thereafter. Microchemical results show that both ratios of Mg/Ca ((70.12±18.50)×10−5) and δ 18O ((1.76±1.03)‰) of ancient lapilli are significantly higher than those of modern lapilli (average Mg/Ca=(3.11±0.41)× 10−5 and δ 18O=(−4.82±0.96)‰). This reflects that the relict water body in which the ancient naked carp lived during the Ming Dynasty was characterized by higher Mg/Ca and δ 18O ratios than modern Lake Qinghai, resulting from strong evaporation after being isolated from the main lake, similar to today’s Lake Gahai. Based upon the stratigraphy and altitude of naked carp remains, it can be inferred that the altitude of lake level of Lake Qinghai reached at least 3202 m with a lake area of 4480 km2 during the Ming Dynasty, approximately ∼5% larger than it is today.

Keywords

Lake Qinghai naked carp fishbone lapillus oxygen isotope Mg/Ca lake level 

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • YuJiao Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • ZhangDong Jin
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ling Zhou
    • 1
    • 4
  • FuChun Li
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fei Zhang
    • 1
  • LiuMei Chen
    • 1
  • XinNing Qiu
    • 5
  • RuGui Qi
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXi’anChina
  2. 2.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Global Environmental ChangeXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.The Bureau of Hydrology and Water Resources of Qinghai ProvinceXi’ningChina

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