Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 2002-2014.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1824-6

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Holocene aeolian activities linked to Indian summer monsoon in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River

LI Tuoyu1(), ZHANG Jifeng2,*(), WU Yongqiu3, DU Shisong3, MO Duowen4, LIAO Yinan4, CHEN Zhitong2, LIU Jianbao2, LI Qing5   

  1. 1. Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology (LAE), Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. MOE Engineering Center of Desertification and Blown-sand Control, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    4. Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    5. Institute of Geographical Sciences, Hebei Engineering Research Center of Geographic Information Application, Hebei Academy of Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050011, China
  • Received:2020-03-20 Accepted:2020-10-15 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-02-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Jifeng;
  • About author:Li Tuoyu (1985-), Associate Professor, specialized in environmental archaeology and aeolian research. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41601191);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871070);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41877460);National Basic Research Program of China(2013CB956001);Special Researcher Project of Henan Province


Widespread aeolian deposits on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) have provided valuable palaeoclimatic information. However, the primary factors (e.g., climate factors, human activity, and vegetation cover) controlling aeolian deposition remain elusive. In this paper, we use a dataset that comprises new and published ages of Holocene aeolian sand and loess in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River to identify the primary controlling factors and palaeoclimatic implications of aeolian deposition. Several intervals of enhanced aeolian accumulation centered at 8.5-7.8, 6.4-5.8, 4.5-4.0, 3.1-1.8, and 0.9 ka are identified, generally consistent with regional low rainfall events and weak Indian summer monsoon (ISM). This suggests that regional wetness, dominated by the ISM, may play a key role in modulating dust emissions and aeolian deposition on centennial timescales. Our results show that on centennial- to millennial-scales, ISM activity can be reconstructed by non-continuous aeolian deposits in the monsoon dominated TP.

Key words: Holocene, aeolian activity, dust, Indian summer monsoon, Tibetan Plateau