Cyclostratigraphy for Chinese red clay sequences: Implications to changing previous age models and paleoclimate interpretations

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 14:25
300 (Moscone South)
Taslima Anwar1, Vadim A Kravchinsky1,2 and Rui Zhang2,3, (1)University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada, (2)Northwest University, Department of Geology, Xi'an, China, (3)Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Earth Environment, Xi'an, China
The Chinese Loess Plateau contains red clay sequence which has continuous alternation of sedimentary cycles with recurrent paleoclimatic fluctuations. Absence of abundant fossils and inability of radiometric dating method made magnetostratigraphy a leading method to build age model for the red clay. Here magnetostratigraphic age model in red clay sequence is tested using cyclostratigraphy as orbital parameters of Earth are known. Milankovitch periodicities recorded in magnetic susceptibility and grain size in the Shilou red clay section are investigated and previously found age of 11 Ma for this section is re-evaluated. Magnetostratigraphy dating based on only visual correlation could potentially lead to erroneous age model. In this study the correlation is executed through the iteration procedure until it is supported by cyclostratigraphy; i.e. Milankovitch cycles are resolved in the best possible manner. Our new approach provides an age of 5.2 Ma for the Shilou profile. Wavelet analysis reveals that a 400 kyr eccentricity cycle is well preserved and the existence of a 100 kyr eccentricity in the red clay sequence on the eastern Chinese Loess Plateau suggests that eccentricity plays a vital role in Pliocene climate evolution. Paleomonsoon evolution is reconstructed and divided into three intervals (5.2-4.5 Ma, 4.5-3.6 Ma and 3.6-2.58 Ma). The earliest stage indicates that summer and winter monsoon cycles may rapidly alter, whereas the middle stage reflects an intensification of winter monsoon and aridification in Asia, and the youngest stage is characterized by relatively intensified summer monsoon. This study demonstrates that cyclostratigraphy can greatly assist magnetostratigraphy in dating the red clay sequences, and implies that many published age models for the red clay sequences should likely be re-assessed where possible. An evaluation of the monsoon system and climate change in eastern Asia might prominently benefit from this approach.