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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 513–526 | Cite as

Sedimentary environment of vermicular red clay in South China

  • Li-hui Yang
  • Xiang-min Zheng
  • Wei Ye
Article

Abstract

Increasing interest in recent years has focused on vermicular red clay (VRC) in southern China due to its controversial sedimentary environment and provenance. Grain size is a useful way to determine sedimentary environment and provenance. Fisher Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) is a common and widely used method for multivariate statistical analysis. Based on a proper training sample set, the LDA can be used to discuss the sediment provenance. In this study, grain size data for 77 Malan loess samples and 41 floodplain deposit samples were used as a training sample set to deduce a Fisher linear discriminant function. Then, 299 VRC samples from 6 Quaternary red clay profiles were analyzed using the discriminant function. Grain size parameters and microscopic images of quartz grains separated from the VRC were evaluated in detail to determine the VRC sedimentary environment in south China. The results show that VRC profiles can be classified into two regions: the Chiang-nan Hilly Region and Wuyi Mountains Region. The VRC samples in the Chiang-nan Hilly Region originated from eolian dust deposits. This VRC is characterized by a higher content of fine particles (<20 μm) and lower average transport kinetic energy than loess in a C-M plot. The quartz grain sizes and microscope images of this VRC suggest that it could be a polyphyletic mixture of far-sourced and near-sourced eolian deposits. The far-sourced eolian deposits share similar provenance with Xiashu loess and were transported by the East Asian winter monsoon. The near-sourced eolian deposits were dust emitted from the adjacent floodplain. In the Wuyi Mountains Region, the rugged topography weakened the dustfall and strengthened the reconstructive effect of hydrodynamic forces during the Quaternary glacial periods. The VRC in this region was reworked strongly by water and retained typical hydraulic characteristics no matter the source.

Keywords

Vermicular red clay Grain size Linear discriminant analysis Eolian deposits Quaternary 

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Notes

Acknowledgement

This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41201008, 41371032 and 41371206). We are grateful to Professor ZHOU Li-min from East China Normal University for helpful discussions, as well as three anonymous reviewers and the editor for the constructive comments and suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geographic ScienceEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Anhui Key Laboratory of Natural Disaster Process and Protection ResearchAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina
  3. 3.College of Geography and Environmental ScienceZhejiang Normal UniversityJinhuaChina

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