As a remnant elevated peneplain, the Tangxian planation surface is widely distributed in North China and the Ordos Plateau. Further into the Tibetan Plateau (TP), the Main planation surface can also be traced across this, the highest plateau on the Earth's surface. What the relation is between these two planation surfaces and whether they represent the remnants of a unique planation surface remains open to question. As the intermediate region between the low-altitude North China and the high-altitude TP, the Maxian Mountains and such bilateral basins located in the northeastern TP margin retain a series of well-preserved geomorphic features such as planation surfaces, pediment surface, and the fluvial terraces of the Yellow River. When and how the Xiaoshuizi peneplain was formed are crucial questions to elucidate the geomorphic evolution of the northeastern TP and infer the tectonic history of the TP. Here we present two parallel red clay-loess drill cores from the uplifted Xiaoshuizi bedrock peneplain in the Maxian Mountains, which document both the upper formation age of the planation surface and the evolution of Asian aridification. Based on the integration of high-resolution magnetostratigraphy analysis and Pliocene mammal fossils, we demonstrate that the red clay-loess succession deposited on the Xiaoshuizi peneplain probably began to accumulate at ~6.9Ma, implying that the Xiaoshuizi peneplain had begun to form before this. These results support the hypothesis that the Xiaoshuizi planation surface is equivalent to Tangxian planation surface of North China and Main planation surface of the TP. Furthermore, the onset of red clay sequence may indicate that the Xiaoshuizi peneplain was ultimately destroyed by the intensive tectonic uplift of the northeastern TP before 6.9Ma. Taking into account the synchronous Late Miocene red clay deposition between the Xiaoshuizi peneplain and central Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP), we propose that the onset of interior Asian aridification occurred in the Late Miocene and was principally triggered by the rapid uplift of TP.
Geomorphology – Elsevier
Published: Oct 15, 2017
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