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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-73
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2018-73
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Jul 2018

Research article | 04 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).

Late Miocene-Pliocene climate evolution recorded by the red clay covered on the Xiaoshuizi planation surface, NE Tibetan Plateau

Xiaomiao Li1, Tingjiang Peng1, Zhenhua Ma1, Meng Li1, Zhantao Feng1, Benhong Guo1, Hao Yu1, Xiyan Ye1, Zhengchuang Hui1, Chuihui Song2, and Jijun Li1,3 Xiaomiao Li et al.
  • 1MOE Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems, College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2School of Earth Sciences, Key Laboratory of Western China's Mineral Resources of Gansu Province, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 3College of Geography Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China

Abstract. As an analogue for predicting the future climate, Pliocene climate and its driving mechanism attract much attention for a long time. Late Miocene-Pliocene red clay sequence on the main Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) has been widely applied to reconstruct the history of interior aridification and Asian monsoon climate. However, the typical red clay sequences deposited on the planation surface of Tibetan Plateau are rare. Recently, continuous red clay has been found on the uplifted Xiaoshuizi peneplain in the Maxian Mountains, northeastern (NE) Tibetan Plateau (TP). To reconstruct the late Miocene-early Pliocene climate history of NE Tibetan Plateau and to assess the regional differences between the central and western CLP, multiple climatic proxies were analyzed from the Xiaoshuizi red clay sequence. Our results demonstrate the minimal weathering and pedogenesis from 6.7 to 4.8Ma, which implicates that the climate was sustained arid. We speculate that precipitation delivered by the paleo-Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) was limited during this period, and instead the intensification of the westerlies circulation resulted in arid condition in the study region. Subsequently, enhanced weathering and pedogenesis occurred during the interval of 4.8–3.6Ma, which attests to increasing effective moisture. Thus, we ascribe the obvious arid-humid climate transition near 4.8Ma to the palaeo-ASM expansion. Increasing Arctic temperatures, the vast poleward expansion of the tropical warm pool into the subtropical regions and water freshening in the subtropical Pacific in response to the closure of the Panamanian Seaway may have been responsible for the thermodynamical enhancement of the paleo-ASM system, which permitted more moisture to be carried to the NE Tibetan Plateau.

Xiaomiao Li et al.
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Short summary
Multiple proxies reveal that the late Miocene climate of the western CLP was stable and dry and that the early Pliocene climate became substantially moister. Time series and spectral analyses of carbonate and magnetic susceptibility records indicate that both seasonality and wet-dry contrasts increased during the early Pliocene. Palaeo-climate change contrasts between the main and western CLP reveal an enhancement of the palaeo-ASM and significantly impacted the western CLP in early Pliocene.
Multiple proxies reveal that the late Miocene climate of the western CLP was stable and dry and...
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