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《Quaternary Sciences》 1989-01
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PROGRESSES OF LOESS RESEARCH IN CHINA (PART 1) LOESS STRATIGRAPHY

Ding Zhongli Liu Tungsheng (Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)  
The loess-paleosol sequences in central China with the continuous coverage of the Quaternary Period provide an independent record of the world-wide climatic variations. In recent years, quite a lot progresses of loess research in China have been made. The thick sandy loess L_15 with the time roughly equivalent to 1.2 MaB. P. is a key marker layer in China loess sequence. Above L_15, 19 paleo- sols have been recognized in Luochuan and Xifeng sections. However, the pedostratigraphie division below L_15 still remains to be done. In the past two years, three new sections with clearly-defined paleosols in the entire loess column have been found in Baoji, Xi'an and Weinan in the southern most part of the Loess Plateau. Thirty-seven pedostratigraphic units are identifiable in the Loess Plateau. Each can be correlated at least in three sections over long distance, demonstrating the continuity of China loess in recording climatic oscillations. The bottom of loess deposits are paleomagnetically dated about 2.5 Ma B. P.(near the Matuyama/Guass boundary)in Baoji, Xi'an and Weinan sections. Other paleomagnetic reversals have been well defined in Baoji section: B/M boundary in the lower part of L_8, the Jaramillo Subchron between L_10 and L_12 and the Olduvai Subchron from the middle part of L_25 to the upper part of L_27. A new time scale of China loess named"periodic estimation time scale" has been established on the basis of orbital theory and paleomagnetic time controls. The climatostratigraphy of China loess may be divided into thirty-seven formations, each of which represents the first order fluctuation of climate from dry cold to humid warm. It is noted that there occurred an abrupt climatic shift from warm to cold in North China around 2.5 Ma B. P., indicated by the desert extension and loess deposition on large scale, coinciding with a global clima- tic deterioration recorded in various sediments throughout the world. From then on, climate has been characterized by frequent and wild fluctuations, strikingly contrasting with the continuons warming in the Guass Chron. No specific climatic event had been recorded in China loess around 1.65 Ma B. P., so it would be more reasonable to take the bottom of China loess, 2.5 Ma B. P. as the Plio/Pleistocene boundary than that proposed in Verica section near 1.65 Ma B. P.. A comparative study between oxygen-isotope records in deep-sea cores and the loess-paleosol sequences in central China shows the advantage of China loess over the deep-sea sediments in the recording of climatic changes in some aspects. The loess deposits are probably the most complete and reliable paleoclimatie record in the world for the Iast 2.5 Ma,
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