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《Quaternary Sciences》 2007-02
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SYN-AND POST-DEPOSITIONAL MODIFICATION OF LOESS DEPOSITS AND THEIR PALEOENVIRONMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE

Yin Qiuzhen①③ Xiao Guoqiao②③ Guo Zhengtang① Ge Junyi②③Hao Qingzhen① Yuan Baoyin①(①Institute of Geology and Geophysics,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100029; ②State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology,Institute of Earth Environment,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Xi′an 710075; ③Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100049)  
Loess-paleosol sequences are widely used for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. To be sub-aerial deposit,loess or soil was exposed to earth surface,and was subject to syn-depositional and post depositional modifications by various processes. In this paper,some commonly found syn-depositional and post-depositional features of loess deposits are studied mainly based on field and micromorphological investigations on the eolian deposits in Northern China. Since most of these features are formed under specific environmental conditions,they may be used as indicators for paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Meanwhile,such modifications may affect the significance of some climate proxies that are frequently used in loess studies. Consequently,their influence should be taken into considerations in the climate interpretations.Firstly,we show that the lowest parts of some loess-soil sections usually contain water-reworking features. This is because the substratum of loess deposits was never flat enough so that eolian dust deposited in the earliest stage was more or less affected by surface water. These processes may lead to a progressive flatting of the land surface,resulting in the formation of typical loess-soil sequences. Vegetation degradations under extremely dry conditions may cause eolian and sheet-water erosions of loess deposits. These features are highly common in the loess deposits in Northern China. Wind and sheet-water erosion features are most frequently observed across the boundaries between loess and soil layers,suggesting that climate transitions at orbital scales are usually marked by a severe dry event,leading to vegetation degradation.Freeze-thaw features are much less common in the loess deposits in China than in the loess of Europe and Americas,probably due to the much drier conditions. However,some weak frost features are observed in the northern and northwestern Loess Plateau while they are absent in the southern Loess Plateau. These are consistent with the present-day climate pattern in the region.A number of post-depositional modifications are also described as they may influence the significance of some climate proxies. Also,because some features of the loess-soil sequences are easy to be confused with the modifications described above. Their basic morphological properties,formation processes and their significance are also discussed.
【Fund】: 中国科学院知识创新工程重要方向项目(批准号:KZCX3-SW-139);; 国家自然科学基金项目(批准号:40231001)资助
【CateGory Index】: P941.74
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