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Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 324–348 | Cite as

Quaternary integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China

  • Chenglong DengEmail author
  • Qingzhen Hao
  • Zhengtang Guo
  • Rixiang Zhu
Review

Abstract

Quaternary strata in China mainly comprise continental deposits in a variety of depositional settings. The continental Quaternary in temperate northern China consists mainly of eolian and fluvio-lacustrine deposits; that in subtropical southern China, mainly of vermiculated red soils, cave/fissure deposits, and fluvio-lacustrine deposits; and that in the alpine Tibetan Plateau, mainly of fluvio-lacustrine and piedmont deposits. The marine Quaternary in China consists of detrital deposits and biogenic reef deposits. The integration of biostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, climatostratigraphy and an astronomically calibrated chronology has led to the establishment of high-precision climatochronostratigraphic timescales for the detrital marine Quaternary in the South China Sea and the loess-paleosol sequence in the Chinese Loess Plateau. Extremely high-precision 230Th dating has provided a high-precision absolute age model for cave stalagmites over the past 640000 years as well as high-resolution oxygen isotope records representing orbital- to suborbital-scale climate changes. By combining magnetic stratigraphy and biostratigraphy, robust chronostratigraphic frameworks for non-eolian continental Quaternary deposits on the scale of Quaternary geomagnetic polarities have been established. The continental Pleistocene Series consists, from oldest to youngest, of the Nihewanian Stage of the Lower Pleistocene, the Zhoukoudianian Stage of the Middle Pleistocene, and the Salawusuan Stage of the Upper Pleistocene. Stages of the continental Holocene Series have not yet been established. This review summarizes recent developments in the Quaternary chronostratigraphy of representative Quaternary strata and associated faunas, and then proposes an integrative chronostratigraphic framework and a stratigraphic correlation scheme for Quaternary continental strata in China. In the near-future, it is hoped to establish not only a Chinese continental Quaternary climatochronostratigraphic chart on the scale of glacial-interglacial cycles but also a Quaternary integrative chronostratigraphic chart including both continental and marine strata in China.

Keywords

Quaternary Chronostratigraphy Magnetic stratigraphy Biostratigraphy Climatostratigraphy China 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Profs. Jiayu Rong and Shuzhong Shen for their suggestion to write this review; to Prof. Shuzhong Shen, Dr. Junyi Ge, and the two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions for improving the manuscript; to Dr. Lu Sun for help with drafting figures; and to Dr. Jan Bloemendal for improving the English. Chenglong Deng thanks Lu Sun, Liang Yi, Caicai Liu, Shihu Li, Shuhui Cai, Jianxing Liu, Qinmian Xu, Shixia Yang, Ping Liu, Yan Zhang and Suzhen Liu for useful discussion. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41690110, 41621004 and L152401).

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chenglong Deng
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Qingzhen Hao
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zhengtang Guo
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Rixiang Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institutions of Earth ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina

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