Panxian Dadong, South China: Establishing a Record of Middle Pleistocene Climatic Changes

By Wei, Wang; Jun, Liu et al. | Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Panxian Dadong, South China: Establishing a Record of Middle Pleistocene Climatic Changes


Wei, Wang, Jun, Liu, Yamei, Hou, Xinqiang, Si, Weiwen, Huang, Schepartz, Lynne A., Miller-Antonio, Sari, Asian Perspectives: the Journal of Archaeology for Asia and the Pacific


STUDY OF THE CHINESE AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN PLEISTOCENE ENVIRONMENT has been greatly enriched by the combined use of geological, geographical, bio-stratigraphic, and chemical analyses. A major focus has been on understanding the influence of the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau on the development of the East Asian monsoon climatic regime and the identification of climatic oscillations throughout the Pleistocene. The Quaternary climates of South and Southwest China are not as well known as those of the east or north, but it appears that the effects of the environment on the formation of the extensive and remarkable southern karst landscape were not as marked as they were in the north. Most notably, the strong scouring actions of the continental ice sheets are absent in the south (Yuan et al. 1995). Instead, as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau rose during the Quaternary, the karst landscape of South and Southwest China was largely sculpted by major rivers that had their origins in the high plateau mountain ranges (Sweeting 1995).

Most reconstructions of Asian Pleistocene climate change are based on interpretations of loess-paleosol sequences (especially the Luochuan loess of North China [Liu et al. 2000]), where loess deposits are viewed as forming under drier climatic conditions and paleosols are seen as forming during wetter, warmer periods. Therefore, paleoclimatic reconstruction in South China currently depends on making use of information about widespread climatic effects such as the monsoon weather patterns. Paleoclimatic inference is becoming more refined, however. Studies incorporating magnetic susceptibility (Chen et al. 2003) and mineralogic correlations with magnetic susceptibility (Ji et al. 2001) have been very useful for more precise paleoclimatic reconstruction. All of these different techniques are documenting major climatic oscillations and rapid environmental transitions. For example, the work of Ding et al. (1999) on Middle Pleistocene climatic instability utilized a technique based on grain size of particles in soil cores to reconstruct a high-resolution record of climate changes during the last two glacial-interglacial cycles. They found frequent, large magnitude climatic oscillations during the penultimate glaciation (ending between 130-140 kya) that were not characteristic of the last interglacial, illustrating that these glacial periods had much more variable climate. Other evidence for climatic fluctuations during these times is documented in changes in the mollusk species distributed throughout the paleosol-loess sequence. These fossils were also found to be good indicators of monsoon variability. Rousseau and Wu (1999) provide evidence for drier environments based on the presence of xerophilous (dry-loving) taxa at 180 kya, 154 kya, and 138 kya. Species associated with warmer, wetter climate (hygrophilous, or water-loving taxa) were present between approximately 242 and 232 kya and at 210 kya, 164 kya, and 140 kya years ago. There is also substantial ice core evidence for rapid, abrupt climatic transitions during the last few hundred thousand years (Adams et al. 1999; Alley 2000). The time scale of these transitions is on the order of a few hundred years or even decades, suggesting that Middle Pleistocene faunal and human populations had to adapt to environmental change on a regular basis.

As relatively 'protected' environments, cave- and rockshelters are potentially important sources of paleoclimatic data. Microstratigraphic examinations of cave and rockshelter deposits have proven to be useful for identifying abrupt climatic change (cf. Courty and Vallverdu 2001). In addition, geological formations that are unique to cave environments, such as speleothems (also called 'cave calcites,' as calcite is the primary mineral component of speleothems and limestone), are important for dating cave deposits as well as providing information about paleoclimate. Speleothems are features that result from slow-moving water containing calcium carbonate, and the rate of their formation is dependent upon a dynamic system involving the carbon, water, and calcium cycles in the cave and surrounding environment (Yuan et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Panxian Dadong, South China: Establishing a Record of Middle Pleistocene Climatic Changes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.