Research ArticleGEOLOGY

Pre-Quaternary decoupling between Asian aridification and high dust accumulation rates

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Science Advances  14 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, eaao6977
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6977

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Abstract

Theories of late Cenozoic climate cooling assume that central Asian aridification and high dust accumulation rates in the Chinese Loess Plateau and the North Pacific Ocean are genetically related. On the basis of detailed sediment provenance analysis, we show that high dust accumulation rates in the Chinese Loess Plateau and the North Pacific Ocean during the late Miocene-Pliocene were mainly caused by increased erosion in the Qilian Mountains and low-elevation eastern Asia areas, driven by the effects of East Asian summer monsoon intensification. We conclude that precipitation-driven erosion increased dust input to the North Pacific Ocean and may have played a pivotal role in late Cenozoic climate cooling.

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