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A constant Chinese Loess Plateau dust source since the late Miocene

Bird, Anna; Millar, Ian; Rodenburg, Tanja; Stevens, Thomas; Rittner, Martin; Vermeesch, Pieter; Lu, Huayu


Ian Millar

Tanja Rodenburg

Thomas Stevens

Martin Rittner

Pieter Vermeesch

Huayu Lu


© 2019 The Authors The Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary marks a major change in global climate and East Asian monsoon dynamic. However, the role of the global atmospheric dust-cycle over this time is unclear; in particular the degree to which changes in the dust cycle influenced climate change, were driven by climate change, and how these processes interacted. Chinese loess records past dust-cycle history and the influences of aridification and monsoon circulation over the last 40 Ma. Previous work on the Chinese Loess Plateau argue over whether changes in dust source occur at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, or at 1.2 Ma, despite these intervals marking major shifts in monsoon dynamics. We present Sr, Nd and Hf isotope data from multiple sites and show that dust source largely remains unchanged across these boundaries. Shifts in geochemistry are due to changes in grain-size and weathering. While the transport pathway (river, deserts, direct aeolian) is unclear, these tracer isotopes show that dust was dominantly sourced from the Northern Tibetan Plateau, with some input from the local bedrock. This shows that a major established and constant dust source on the Tibetan Plateau has been active and unchanged since late Miocene, despite dramatically changing climate conditions. Changes in loess accumulation are a function of climate change in Tibetan Plateau source regions rather than effects from increased aridification over the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary.


Bird, A., Millar, I., Rodenburg, T., Stevens, T., Rittner, M., Vermeesch, P., & Lu, H. (2020). A constant Chinese Loess Plateau dust source since the late Miocene. Quaternary science reviews, 227, 106042.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 22, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 25, 2019
Journal Quaternary Science Reviews
Print ISSN 0277-3791
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 227
Pages 106042
Keywords Quaternary; Neogene; Palaeoclimate; China; Loess; Radiogenic isotopes
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: A constant Chinese Loess Plateau dust source since the late Miocene; Journal Title: Quaternary Science Reviews; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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