In this study, a 6 m long core (16,000 BP) at the center of the dry Lake Yiema, a closed lake of Shiyang River drainage in Minqin Basin of the arid northwestern China, was retrieved to recover the history of climate changes and lake evolution in the area. Five radiocarbon dates on organic matter were obtained. A chronological sequence is established based on these five dates and other dates from nearby sites. Magnetic susceptibility, particle size and chemical composition were analysized for climate proxies. The proxies indicate that a drier climate prevailed in the Shiyang River drainage during the last glacial. Lake Yiema was dry and eolian sand covered most part of the lake basin. During the early and middle Holocene, a moister climate prevailed in the drainage. Climate became dry stepwise with an abrupt transition from one stage to another during the entire Holocene and became driest since about 4,200 BP. Maximum dry climate spells occurred at about 12,000-10,000 BP and after about 4,200 BP. A dry climate event also existed at about 7,600 BP. Periodical sand storms with about 400-yr cycle happened during the middle Holocene. Desiccation processes of the lake started at 4,200 BP, and were accelerated since the last 2,500 yrs by the inflow water diversion for agriculture irrigation. During the past 2,500 yrs, the lake size has been closed associated with the human population, implying that the human impact has been accelerating the lake desiccation superimposed on the natural climate deterioration.
Journal of Paleolimnology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2004
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