Results from climate proxy and General Circulation Model (GCM) analyses suggest that variations in soil moisture and desert expansion are key hydrologic and geologic factors, respectively, influencing temporal and spatial variations in loess texture and distribution in the Loess Plateau of China. During the last glacial period a reduction in soil moisture led to dune destabilization and a southward expansion of the desert (the source of loess) toward the Loess Plateau. Changes in soil moisture in East Asia may have been influenced by the size and extent of the Fennoscandian ice sheet, and the atmospheric circulation pattern that it induced downstream. These results suggest that both regional factors (i.e. changes in soil moisture and the position of the desert margin) and hemispherical factors (i.e. changes in the size and extent of the Eurasian ice sheets) have influenced loess deposition on the Loess Plateau of China. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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