Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 548–560 | Cite as

Magnetic mineral diagenesis in sediments of saline lake Lop Nur

  • Wen Li
  • Gui-jin MuEmail author
  • Yong-chong Lin
  • Hao-ze Song


Saline lakes are useful repositories for paleo-climatic records. In recent years, magnetic properties of saline lake sediments have been widely applied to establish paleo-climatic change. However, the influence factors of magnetic properties in saline lakes have not been fully understood, which complicates the paleoenvironmental interpretation. Here, we present a rock magnetic analyses result of LOP1 profile (40°26′09″′N, 90°21′23″E) from Lop Nur, a well-known saline lake, located in the eastern Tarim Basin in northwestern China. We combined the particle size, total organic content, and mineral characteristics analysis to assess the influence factors of magnetic properties in Lop Nur and its environmental significance. The results indicate that early diagenesis is the major influence factor on magnetic properties of Lop Nur saline sediments. Authigenic greigite and pyrite are identified within organic-rich sediments, which produce zones with high and low magnetic susceptibilities, respectively. The different authigenic iron sulfide contents in different layers are related to sedimentary environment changes. Sufficient supplies of organic matter and sulphate and low sedimentation rates favour the pyritization process. Moreover, if pyritization was constrained, intermediate greigite formed and was preserved. In oxidizing environments, sediment magnetic properties are consistent with those of source materials from Tarim Basin and are mainly controlled by particle size and hydrodynamic sorting of mainly detrital magnetite is largely unaffected by early diagenesis. Our study demonstrates that magnetic properties can provide a robust approach for studying depositional environment change in saline lake. In addition, the information obtained in this study would also provide insights into the geochemical processes of iron element in saline lakes.


Early diagenesis Magnetic properties Saline lake Lop Nur 


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This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41701012) and the project “Comprehensive Scientific Investigation of Natural and Cultural Heritage in the Lop Nur Region” (Grant No. 2014FY210500). We thank CHEN Dan for her help with drawing. We thank the anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments, and thank Andrew P. Roberts for the language improvement.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.Cele National Station of Observation and Research for Desert-Grassland EcosystemsCeleChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.School of history and GeographyMinnan Normal UniversityZhangzhouChina

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