Astronomical calibration of loess-paleosol deposits at Luochuan, central Chinese Loess Plateau

Huayu Lu, Xiaodong Liu, Fuqing Zhang, Zhisheng An, John Dodson

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The 140 m loess-paleosol profile at Luochuan in the central Chinese Loess Plateau was sampled at 5-cm intervals in loess units and at 3 cm in paleosol units, in order to obtain a high resolution climatic record covering the past 2.5 million years. All samples were measured for magnetic susceptibility, which is regarded as a good proxy index of the East Asian summer monsoon strength. On the basis of the astronomical theory of Pleistocene climatic change, an age model of the Luochuan loess-paleosol sequence was developed by tuning the magnetic susceptibility record to time-series of insolation changes. The results show that the ages of the boundaries between the Malan and Lishi, and Lishi and Wucheng loess formations are 71 and 1320 kyr BP, respectively. The onset of loess accumulation is at 2470 kyr BP. Our age model was tested by comparing the orbitally derived ages with absolute age determinations of magnetic reversals, and cross-spectrum analyzing with solar radiation variations for summer at 65 °N. These indicate that the calibration provides a reliable time scale for the Luochuan loess-paleosol deposit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


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