10Be in Quartz Gravel from the Gobi Desert and Evolutionary History of Alluvial Sedimentation in the Ejina Basin, Inner Mongolia, China

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Yanwu Lyu, Institute of Crustal Dynamics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China
Reconstructing the evolutionary history of the Gobi deserts developed from alluvial sediments in arid regions has great significance in unraveling changes in both tectonic activity and climate. However, such work is limited by a lack of suitable dating material preserved in the Gobi Desert, but cosmogenic 10Be has great potential to date the Gobi deserts. In the present study, 10Be in quartz gravel from the Gobi deserts of the Ejina Basin in Inner Mongolia of China has been measured to assess exposure ages. Results show that the Gobi Desert in the northern margin of the basin developed 420 ka ago, whereas the Gobi Desert that developed from alluvial plains in the Heihe River drainage basin came about during the last 190 ka. The latter developed gradually northward and eastward to modern terminal lakes of the river. These temporal and spatial variations in the Gobi deserts are a consequence of alluvial processes influenced by Tibetan Plateau uplift and tectonic activities within the Ejina Basin. Possible episodes of Gobi Desert development within the last 420 ka indicate that the advance/retreat of alpine glaciers during glacial/interglacial cycles might have been the dominant factor to influencing the alluvial intensity and water volume in the basin. Intense floods and large water volumes would mainly occur during the short deglacial periods.