Quaternary Studies

Holocene loess and its deposition dynamics in the upper reaches of the Huaihe River

  • 1. Institute of Surficial Geochemistry, School of Earth Science and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. College of Tourism and Environmental Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    3. Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, CAS, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China;
    4. Nanjing Institute of Geography &|Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China

Received date: 2010-09-30

  Revised date: 2010-12-06

  Online published: 2011-06-15

Supported by

Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40830107; No.41030637


The dust source and transporting system are two indispensable aspects in the process of loess-palaeosol accumulation. It has been proved that the dust of the Loess Plateau mainly comes from the northwestern inland gobi and desert, transported by the East Asia monsoon systems and westerlies. However, there are little researches with respect to the dust source and deposition dynamics of the upper reaches of the Huaihe River. In the present study, we investigated and collected the YPC section with high resolution in the upper reaches of the Huaihe River. The chronological frame was reconstructed by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating and correlated with the published loess time series. By comparison of the magnetic susceptibility (MS) and grain size (GS) of loess-soil profile among YPC profile, XJN profile (western Loess Plateau) and the JYC profile (southern Loess Plateau), we find similar climate change and pedogenic process between the upper reaches of the Huaihe River and the Loess Plateau, both experienced an extreme dry and the weakest pedogenesis during the last glacial, followed by a transitional episodes from the cold-dry last glacial to the warm-humid mid-Holocene and increased pedogenesis in the early Holocene, then a most humid-warm and strong pedogenesis in the mid-Holocene, and climate deterioration and decreased pedogenesis occurred during the late Holocene. But the MS of loess-soil profile sequences in the upper reaches of the Huaihe River was much lower than those in the Loess Plateau, and the GS was much coarser than those in the Loess Plateau. Comparison of GS for these three profiles revealed that there were different dust sources, which belonged to different aeolian transporting systems. The loess in the upper reaches of the Huaihe River was a wind blown deposition of near source, while the coarser dust mainly came from loose alluvial deposits of alluvial and proluvial fans of the Yellow River. The yielding and carrying dynamics of the dust in the Huaihe River is the northeast wind prevails in the winter half year.

Cite this article

HE Zhong, HUANG Chunchang, ZHENG Hongbo, ZHOU Jie, PANG Jiangli, LI Xinyan, WANG Lijun . Holocene loess and its deposition dynamics in the upper reaches of the Huaihe River[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2011 , 21(3) : 561 -573 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-011-0864-3