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A conceptual model for the interpretation of aeolian sediments from a semiarid high-mountain environment since the late glacial

  • Georg Stauch (a1)

Abstract

Different interpretations of accumulation and preservation of aeolian sediments lead to divergent and sometimes contradictory palaeoclimate reconstructions. Although aeolian transport mainly occurs during dry climate, the preservation of the aeolian sediment is a critical factor in many environments in determining the nature of the aeolian sedimentary archive. Analysis of more than 200 optically stimulated luminescence ages for aeolian sands from Tibet shows four different aeolian phases of accumulation. Strong aeolian activity occurred during the last glacial maximum, but hardly any aeolian sediments are preserved. Consequently, the period with the highest aeolian activity is not recorded in the sedimentary record. A phase of aeolian accumulation occurred in the late glacial and the early Holocene. The duration of deposition for this phase is a consequence of the complex topography and an increase in moisture. This phase was punctuated by exceptionally strong accumulation during the Younger Dryas stade. The mid-Holocene is characterised by weak aeolian accumulation and fluvial erosion caused by greater precipitation during the maximum height of the Asian summer monsoon. Aeolian activity resumed in the late Holocene because of drier conditions. The conceptual model provides an approach that can be applied to other mountain and desert margin regions that have limited sediment availability.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author at: Department of Geography, RWTH Aachen University, Templergraben 55, 52056 Aachen, Germany. E-mail address: gstauch@geo.rwth-aachen.de (G. Stauch).

References

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