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Insights into the provenance of the Chinese Loess Plateau from joint zircon U-Pb and garnet geochemical analysis of last glacial loess

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2017

Kaja Fenn*
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 OEX, United Kingdom
Thomas Stevens
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala Universitet, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Anna Bird
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, HU6 7RX, United Kingdom
Mara Limonta
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 4, 20126 Milano, Italy
Martin Rittner
Affiliation:
London Geochronology Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London (UCL), London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
Pieter Vermeesch
Affiliation:
London Geochronology Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London (UCL), London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
Sergio Andò
Affiliation:
London Geochronology Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London (UCL), London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
Eduardo Garzanti
Affiliation:
London Geochronology Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London (UCL), London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
Huayu Lu
Affiliation:
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Hanzhi Zhang
Affiliation:
School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Institute for Climate and Global Change Research, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Zeng Lin
Affiliation:
Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research Chinese Academy of Sciences, 17 Chunhui Road, Laishan District, Yantai 264003, China
*
*Corresponding author at: Oxford University Centre for the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, Unite Kingdom. E-mail address: kaja.fenn@ouce.ox.ac.uk (K. Fenn).

Abstract

The Chinese Loess Plateau, the world’s largest and oldest loess record, preserves evidence of Asia’s long-term dust source dynamics, but there is uncertainty over the source of the deposits. Recent single-grain detrital zircon U-Pb age analysis has progressed this issue, but debates remain about source changes, and the generation and interpretation of zircon data. To address this, we analyze different groupings of new and existing datasets from the Loess Plateau and potential sources. We also present the results of a first high resolution sampling, multi-proxy provenance analysis of Beiguoyuan loess using U-Pb dating of detrital zircons and detrital garnet geochemistry. The data shows that some small source differences seem to exist between different areas on the Loess Plateau. However, sediment source appears to be unchanging between loess and palaeosols, supporting a recent material recycling hypothesis. Our zircon and garnet data demonstrates, however, that Beiguoyuan experienced a temporary, abrupt source shift during the last glacial maximum, implying that local dust sources became periodically active during the Quaternary. Our results highlight that grouping data to achieve bigger datasets could cause identification of misleading trends. Additionally, we suggest that multi-proxy single-grain approaches are required to gain further insight into Chinese Loess Plateau dust sources.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017 

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