Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New sources found for accumulated dust on Chinese Loess Plateau

Date:
November 14, 2011
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Fine silt on the Chinese Loess Plateau may actually have come from due west, not the northwest, which would change conventional thinking about wind patterns over the last 2.6 million years.

Geologists have long thought the loess -- or fine silt -- that accumulated on the Chinese Loess Plateau was carried on winds from desert regions to the northwest over the past 2.6 million years. New research indicates the loess may actually have come from due west, which would change conventional thinking about wind patterns during that period.

A team of geologists from the U.S. and China -- led by the University of Rochester -- compared the composition of uranium and lead in zircon crystals excavated from the Chinese Loess Plateau and potential source sites. The scientists found that the ages of the crystals from the Chinese Loess Plateau matched with samples from the northern Tibetan Plateau and the Qaidam Basin, both of which are due west.

The results have been published in a recent issue of the journal Geology.

"The data suggest a dramatic shift in atmospheric winds," said lead author Alex Pullen.

By testing for the ages of the embedded zircon crystals, the researchers determined that the loess came from the west during recent glacial periods, which suggests that the atmospheric jet streams shifted equatorward during those periods. That would mean there have been alternating northwesterly and westerly sources for the loess during warm interglacial and cold glacial periods, respectively. The geological team says additional studies of ancient soil (paleosol) layers of the Chinese Loess Plateau are needed to test that theory.

"The research should help us better understand how the Earth behaves as a system," said Pullen. "With that knowledge, we'll be able to improve our climate models."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rochester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Pullen, P. Kapp, A. T. McCallister, H. Chang, G. E. Gehrels, C. N. Garzione, R. V. Heermance, L. Ding. Qaidam Basin and northern Tibetan Plateau as dust sources for the Chinese Loess Plateau and paleoclimatic implications. Geology, 2011; 39 (11): 1031 DOI: 10.1130/G32296.1

Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "New sources found for accumulated dust on Chinese Loess Plateau." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114152537.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2011, November 14). New sources found for accumulated dust on Chinese Loess Plateau. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114152537.htm
University of Rochester. "New sources found for accumulated dust on Chinese Loess Plateau." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114152537.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins