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Palaeoenvironmental changes in Eocene Tibetan lake systems traced by geochemistry, sedimentology and palynofacies
Key Laboratory of Comprehensive and Highly Efficient Utilization of Salt Lake Resources, Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining, China.
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University.
School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University.
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2021 (English)In: Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, ISSN 1367-9120, E-ISSN 1878-5786, Vol. 214, p. 104778-104778, article id 104778Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ancient lake deposits preserve detailed records of Cenozoic environmental changes, providing information on past climate, vegetation, precipitation and lake chemistry. This study focuses on palaeoenvironmental changes recorded in Eocene limnic environments across what is today the modern Tibetan Plateau. We describe a section dated as late Eocene (~38–37 Ma) and integrate these findings within a regional context of similarly-aged Tibetan lake deposits across the plateau. These sedimentary archives of environmental change indicate a period of late Eocene aridification and cooling in the lead-up to the greenhouse-icehouse transition, which remains poorly understood in Central Asia. We show, based on geochemical, sedimentological, and palynofacies analyses, that a large saline lake existed within a semi-arid to arid steppe environment in the Nangqian Basin, east-central Tibet. The saline lake experienced cyclic drying intervals with shifts to a playa lake / mudflat system. Evidence of increased aridity is recorded in the upper part of the section, including a thinning of gypsum beds, decrease in palynomorph abundance, and concurrent increase in wood debris and amorphous organic matter. This is consistent with late Eocene aridity in Asia, drying of the playa lake, and an impoverished desert-steppe vegetation. Grain size data and geochemistry indicate a stable provenance of sedimentary material, suggesting that tectonic activity did not dominate sedimentation in east-central Tibet during deposition of these successions. Rather, palaeoenvironmental changes across the Tibetan region were most probably controlled by global climate oscillations and retreat of the proto-Paratethys Sea during the late Eocene: knowledge that is relevant for ecological interpretations through the Cenozoic, Quaternary and to the present.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2021. Vol. 214, p. 104778-104778, article id 104778
Keywords [en]
Grain size, Steppe-desert, Proto-Paratethys Sea, Aridification, Central Asia, Cenozoic, Quaternary
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-4453DOI: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2021.104778OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-4453DiVA, id: diva2:1618099
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2019-4061Swedish Research Council, 2017-03985
Note

Also funded by the National Natural ScienceFoundation of China (grant 41302024 to Q.Y.); Foundation of QinghaiScience & Technology Department (grant 2020-ZJ-734); The SecondTibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP) CAS(grant 2019 QZKK0805)

Available from: 2021-12-01 Created: 2021-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2021.104778

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