Late Quaternary Lake-Catchment Processes in Hala Lake, Northern Tibetan Plateau, and Their Effects on Lake Evolution
Abstract:Hala Lake, a closed 65 m deep lake basin in the western Qilian Mountains, Qinghai Province, is a key-site to demonstrate various factors that influenced lake hydrology, sediment flux and lake-internal depositional conditions throughout the last 25 ka BP. Multi-proxy records from eight sediment cores and on-shore sections display heterogeneous sediment distribution patterns and local catchment influences on lake formation.
Detrital flux, stable isotopes and geochemical parameters indicate variations in water discharge, attributed to local effects and regional climate influence. A mass flow is related to a local non-climatic event. Ostracod assemblages and algae formation in combination with geochemical and sediment properties indicate four phases of centennial-scale fluctuations in water and sediment supply.
During the global LGM the lake experienced the lowest lake level under cold and dry climate conditions. The lake level rose after 14 ka due to climatic amelioration (phase 1). Strong fluctuations are recorded for the Early Holocene, indicating variable conditions and unstable summer monsoon influence (phase 2). Minor fluctuations occurred between 7.8 and 4.5 ka as a result on ongoing glacier melt and increased westerly influence (phase 3). An earthquake-induced mass flow layer occurred at ca. 7.0 ka. The abrupt change of detrital carbonate contribution at around 6 ka is attributed to the continued retreat of glaciers and fluvial erosion of limestone. Short-term changes in water balance and sediment fluxes after a lowstand at 4.1 ka can be attributed to the variable influence of westerly-driven moisture supply (phase 4).
We can show that several events can be related to changes in the catchment configuration apart from climate influence. The hydrology was mainly controlled by meltwater discharges and westerly-driven air masses. The influence of the East Asian Summer Monsoon effective moisture supply remained on a very low level or was completely absent.