Loess in Kunlun Mountains and its implications on desert development and Tibetan Plateau uplift in west China

  • Fang X
  • Lu L
  • Yang S
 et al. 
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Loess on the northern slope of Kunlun Mountains is the synchronous deposition of the Taklimakan Desert. The paleomagnetism and climatic records of an over 80 m loess-paleosol sequence on the highest river terrace at the foot of Kunlun Mountains show that the loess formed at - 880 ka B.P., suggesting a roughly synchronous occurrence of the present-like air circulation and extremely dry climate and the initial desert. The uplift of the Tibetan-Pamir Plateau and Tian-shan Mountains may initiate these events. The rise of the plateau and adjacent mountains caused the drying and desertification of China inland and Tarim Basin, which was dramatically enhanced at 500 ka B.P., leading the desert to expand to its present scale. Global change just overprints this drying trend. Local climate response to global change both in long-term evolution and glacial-interglacial cycles manifests that the stronger the westerlies, the more the precipitation. But the heat-moisture pattern seems still similar to that in the Asian monsoon region.

Author-supplied keywords

  • climate
  • loess-paleosol
  • taklimakan desert
  • tarim basin
  • tibetan plateau
  • westerly

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  • X M Fang

  • L Q Lu

  • S L Yang

  • J J Li

  • Z S An

  • P Jiang

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