Research Articles

Evolution of sedimentary environments of the middle Jiangsu coast, South Yellow Sea since late MIS 3

  • 1. Department of Coastal Ocean Science, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. The Key Laboratory of Coastal and Island Development, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    3. Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA;
    4. Tianjin Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, China Geological Survey Bureau, Tianjin 300170, China
Xia Fei, Ph.D. Candidate, specialized in coastal ocean geomorphology and sedimentology. E-mail:

Received date: 2012-07-28

  Revised date: 2012-08-20

  Online published: 2013-10-15

Supported by

National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2013CB956500; National Natural Science Foundation of China, Nos.40776023 & 40872107; Comprehensive Investigation and Assessment in Jiangsu Offshore Area, Nos.JS-908-01-05 & JS-908-01-101; Special Fund for Marine Scientific Research in the Public Interest, No.201005006; Special Fund for Land and Resources Research in the Public Interest, No.201011019; China State-Sponsored Postgraduate Study Aboard Program, No.2011619035


An evolutionary model of sedimentary environments since late Marine Isotope Stage 3 (late MIS 3, i.e., ca. 39 cal ka BP) along the middle Jiangsu coast is presented based upon a reinterpretation of core 07SR01, new correlations between adjacent published cores, and shallow seismic profiles recovered in the Xiyang tidal channel and adjacent northern sea areas. Geomorphology, sedimentology, radiocarbon dating and seismic and sequence stratigraphy are combined to confirm that environmental changes since late MIS 3 in the study area were controlled primarily by sea-level fluctuations, sediment discharge of paleo-rivers into the South Yellow Sea (SYS), and minor tectonic subsidence, all of which impacted the progression of regional geomorphic and sedimentary environments (i.e., coastal barrier island, freshwater lacustrine swamp, river floodplain, coastal marsh, tidal sand ridge, and tidal channel). This resulted in the formation of a fifth-order sequence stratigraphy, comprised of the parasequence of the late stage of the last interstadial (Para-Sq2), including the highstand and forced regressive wedge system tracts (HST and FRWST), and the parasequence of the postglacial period (Para-Sq1), including the transgressive and highstand system tracts (TST and HST). The tidal sand ridges likely began to develop during the postglacial transgression as sea-level rise covered the middle Jiangsu coast at ca. 9.0 cal ka BP. These initially submerged tidal sand ridges were constantly migrating until the southward migration of the Yellow River mouth to the northern Jiangsu coast during AD 1128 to 1855. The paleo-Xiyang tidal channel that was determined by the paleo-tidal current field and significantly different from the modern one, was in existence during the Holocene transgressive maxima and lasted until AD 1128. Following the capture of the Huaihe River in AD 1128 by the Yellow River, the paleo-Xiyang tidal channel was infilled with a large amount of river-derived sediments from AD 1128 to 1855, causing the emergence of some of the previously submerged tidal sand ridges. From AD 1855 to the present, the infilled paleo-Xiyang tidal channel has undergone scouring, resulting in its modern form. The modern Xiyang tidal channel continues to widen and deepen, due both to strong tidal current scouring and anthropogenic activities.

Cite this article

XIA Fei, ZHANG Yongzhan, WANG Qiang, YIN Yong, Karl W. WEGMANN, J. Paul LIU . Evolution of sedimentary environments of the middle Jiangsu coast, South Yellow Sea since late MIS 3[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(5) : 883 -914 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1051-5


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