Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 125–130 | Cite as

Early holocene high magnitude debris flow events and environmental change as illustrated by the Moxi Platform, Hengduan Mountains, SW China

  • Zhang Junyan 
  • Cheng Genwei 
  • Li Yongfei 


Thick debris flow deposits in the Hengduan Mountains of southwestern China record landscape instability at the close of the last glaciation and in the early Holocene. The deposits, ranging in thickness from 100 to 200 m, are common and in high magnitude in the valleys of this region. They are products of large debris flows induced by glacier and enabled by the presence of large amount of glacial debris on the landscape. The carbon 14 dating from Moxi Platform indicates that a period of catastrophic debris flows occurred at c. 7 kyr B.P., and was concurrent with other glacial-fluvial fans and terraces which tied to regional climatic oscillations elsewhere in the Himalaya. The comparable events suggest a strong climatic control on earth surface processes for the dynamics, magnitude, and frequency in this region.


Debris flows environment change Holocene Hengduan Mountains China 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnard, P.L., Owen, L.A., Sharma, M.C., Finkel R.C., 2004. Late Quaternary (Holocene) Landscape Evolution of a Monsoon-influenced High Himalayan Valley, Gori Ganga, Nanda Devi, NE Garhwal. Geomorphology 61: 91–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnard, P.L., Owen, L.A., Finkel, R.C. 2004. Style and Timing of Glacial and Paraglacial Sedimentation in a Monsoon-Influenced High Himalayan Environment, the Upper Bhagirathi Valley, Garhwal Himalaya. Sedimentary Geology 165: 199–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. CAO, Z.T., 1995. The Characteristics of Glacier Hydrology in the Area of the Gongga Mountains. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology 17(1): 73–83 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  4. Evans, S.G., Clague, J.J., 1994. Recent Climatic Change and Catastrophic Geomorphic Processes in Mountain Environments. Geomorphology 10(1–4): 107–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hay, W.W., 1994. Pleistocene-Holocene Fluxes are not the Earth’s Norm. In: Geophysics Study Committee, National Geographic Society, Natl Res Council (eds.), Material Fluxes on the Surface of the Earth. National Academy Press, Washington DC. Pp. 1–12.Google Scholar
  6. Heim, A., 1936. The Glaciation and Soliefluction on Minya Gongkar. Geographical Journal 87(5): 444–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Leland, J., Reid, M.R., Burbank, D.W., Finkel, R., Caffee, M., 1998. Incision and Differential Bedrock Uplift along the Indus River near Nanga Parbat, Pakistan Himalaya, from 10Be and 26Al exposure age dating of straths. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 154: 93–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. LI, Z.W., CHEN, J.L., HU, F.D., WANG, M.L., 1983. Geologic Structure of Gongga Mountain Region. In: Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (eds.), Geographic Expedition in the Gongga Mountain. Chongqing Branch of Scientific and Technology Document Press, Chongqing. Pp. 4–20 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  9. LV, R.R., 1992. An Extremely Heavy Debris Flow in Gongga Mountain. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology 14(2): 174–177 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  10. LV, R.R., 1997. Debris Flow and Environmental Change. Mountain Research 15(2): 91–96 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  11. LV, R.R., ZHAO, H.L., 1998. The Holocene Debris Flow and Environmental Change in Eastern Gongga Mountain. In: CHEN, F.B., LUO, J. (eds.), Studies on the Alpine Eco-environment of the Gongga Mountain Vol 2. China Meteorological Press, Beijing, Pp. 80–101. (In Chinese, with English abstr.)Google Scholar
  12. Owen, L.A, Finkelb, R.C., Barnardc, P.L., MA, H.Z., Asahie, K., Caffeef, M.W., Derbyshire, E. 2005. Climatic and Topographic Controls on the Style and Timing of Late Quaternary Glaciation throughout Tibet and the Himalaya defined by 10Be. Quanternary Science Reviews 24: 1391–1411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pratt, B., Burband, D.W., Heimsath A., Ojha, T., 2002. Impulsive Alleviation during Early Holocene Strengthened Monsoons, Central Nepal Himalaya. Geology 30(10): 911–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Williams, R.S. Jr., 1986. Glaciers and Glacial Landforms in: Geomorphology from Space: A Global Overview of Regional Landforms (eds, Short, N.M. Sr. and Blair, R.W. Jr.) NASA publication United States Government PrintingGoogle Scholar
  15. SU, Z., Shi, Y.F., ZHENG, B.X., 2002. Quaternary Glacial Remains on the Gongga Mountain and the Division of Glacial Period. Advances in Earth Sciences 17(5): 639–647 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  16. ZHENG, B.X., 2001. Study on the Quaternary Glaciation and the Formation of the Moxi Platform in East Slopes of the Mount Gongga. Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology 23(3): 283–291 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar
  17. ZHENG, B.X., MA, Q.H., 1994. Relationship between the Glacier Variation and the Debris Flow Development of the Holocene in the Gongga Mountain Region. Mountain Research 12(1): 1–8 (In Chinese, with English abstr.).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhang Junyan 
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cheng Genwei 
    • 1
  • Li Yongfei 
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of BiologyAcadia UniversityWolfvilleCanada
  4. 4.Department of GeographyShangrao Normal CollegeShangraoChina

Personalised recommendations