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Review and Prospects of Quaternary Glaciation Research in China

LI Ji-jun~(1,2) ,SHU Qiang~(2),ZHOU Shang-zhe~(1,3) ,ZHAO Zhi-jun~(2) ,ZHANG Jian-ming~(1) ity, Lanzhou Gansu 730000, China; 2. College of Geographical Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing Jiangsu 210000, China; 3. Department of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou Guangdong 510080, China)  
Since the thirties of the last century, when Prof. Li Siguang (J S Lee) put forward his glacial theory on Mt. Lushan and other mountains in Eastern China, there have been many controversies in earth science world both at home and abroad. Were there really mountain glaciations developing in Eastern China during the Quaternary? This problem made many Chinese geologists and geographers in confusion. In the nineteen eightieth, Shi Yafeng and the authors of this paper had took a lot of field investigations and lab analyses and come to a conclusion quite different from Prof. Li and his followers. Their major points are: 1) Only in a few mountains in the east China distinct Quaternary glacial landform and deposits can be seen, such as the Taibai Shan in Shaanxi, the Changbai Shan in Jilin and the Mts. Yushan and Xueshan in Taiwan, while in other mountains claimed by Prof. Lee no evidence can be found; 2) The boulder clay and striated stones cited by Prof. Li as evidence of former glaciations have been identified mostly originated from debris flow; 3) Environment in east China had experienced dramatically changes during the Quaternary: The permafrost in north China had expanded southward by about 10 latitudes and reached the Great Wall, which means the mean annual temperature had lowered about 10~12 ℃. The ice-age "mammoth fauna" had roamed in north China and even reached to the estuary of the Yangtze River. The shoreline had expanded eastward about 600 km and the sea level had depressed 140 m compared with present. However, owing to the strengthening winter monsoon, climate of China was cold and dry in the ice-age, unfavorable for glaciations; Based on the data collected in the past decade, 3~5 glaciations have been identified in the mountainous regions of west China, all of which are dated to late and middle Pleistocene, but there is no positive evidence to support the hypothesis that an ice sheet had occurred on the Tibetan Plateau. The reason is that the Tibetan Plateau is very fresh, only 0'8 Ma since it uplifted up to (3 000) m a. s. l. and became high enough for glacier development.
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