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《Journal of Nanjing University(Natural Sciences)》 1980-01
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QUATERNARY ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES IN EASTERN CHINA

Yang Huairen Xu Xin  
The climatic and environmental changes of eastern China may be summarized as follows: (1) Plio-Pleistocene morphogenetic movements initiated glaciations in eastern China. Late Pliocene earth movements persisted strongly into the Pleistocene. Since the beginning of Pleistocene period a new stage of the earth history of China was set. The rise of the continent and the lowering of the sea level increased the albedo and the continentility. As the land relief became higher and higher Plio-Pleistocene conglomeratic deposits of "Molasse" type widely spread. The author has suggested that the conspicuous morphogenetic movement, chiefly great faulting movements in China has fundamentally affected the pattern of global atmospheric circulation and led to the glacierization of different parts of China. (2) There is a formidable amount of evidence from many different lines of research to show that during glacial epoch polar front and cyclone track have shifted southwards while the Summer monsoon became much weaker. Late Pleistocene snowlines, lower limits of periglacial processes and boreal flora have depressed 1000—2000 metres. Between 30000 yr. B.P. and 12000 yr. B.P. The shift of the periglacial zone was about 1600 km. and the periglacial environment predominated the eastern great plains and the adjoining mountainous regions, north of the 30°N. The younger loess (Malan loess of north China and the upper Shia-shu loess of the Nanking area) were accumulated during the Ta-li (Wurm-Wisconsin) glaciation. The "Basal gravels" might be accumulated during the Emm interglacial, representing an intervening erosion phase. As revealed by pollen analysis palaeosals were developed during the interglacial or interstadial periods. There are clear evidences that throughout the Quaternary the climate became colder and drier. The Ta-li (late Wurm) glaciation was the coldest and driest one. But The temperature of Lushan/Taku (Halsteim) interglacial was 4℃ higher than now. (3) A cold trough existed in eastern China during the Pleistocene ice age and the little ice age. The Pleistocene snowline descended from the western rogions to the east coast. When reached the Lower Yangtze Valley it steepened conspicuously. Late Pleistocene Mammuthus-Coelodonta Fauna moved southwards to 34°N showing their greatest southward extension in the world. Boreal vegetations distribute at 2000—4000m, above sea level nowadays but descented to 450 m in the Late Pleistocene epoch near the east coast of Chekiang. Quaternary glaciations and periglacial features have been found in mountainous regions, adjoining the Lower Yangtze Valley. Abundant facts recorded in Chinese historical writings provide us excellent references in studying the much colder climate of eastern China during the little ice age. All the facts mentioned above has shown much greater horizontal and vertical displacement of the climatic belts in eastern China. The territory where the greatest southward displacement of climatic belts has taken place might be defined as the "cold trough" of eastern China. The "cold trough" was vulnerable to the effects of climatic changes. The causal mechanism of the ‘cold trough' is fully discussed in this paper.
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