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Uranium isotopic constraints on the provenance of dust on the Chinese Loess Plateau

Li Le, Chen Jun, Chen Yang, David William Hedding, Li Tao, Li Laifeng, Liu Xiangjun, Zeng Fangming, Wu Weihua, Zhao Liang and Li Gaojun
Uranium isotopic constraints on the provenance of dust on the Chinese Loess Plateau
Geology (Boulder) (September 2018) 46 (9): 747-750


Provenance of the silt on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP) is essential for the paleo-environmental interpretation of the thick eolian deposits, but is highly debated. The controversy mainly comes from the multi-interpretation of similar geochemical signatures of potential source areas (PSAs). This work applies the ( (super 234) U/ (super 238) U) activity ratio as a new source tracer, because it can distinguish particles with different transporting and recycling histories regardless of petrological origin. The ( (super 234) U/ (super 238) U) activity ratio of a fine particle decreases progressively after its production because of the increasing fraction of the (super 234) U precursor ejected out of the particle surface, due to the recoiling effect associated with the alpha decay of (super 238) U. Distinct spatial patterns of ( (super 234) U/ (super 238) U) can be found for the sediments in PSAs and the loess on the CLP. When combined with other constraints, the new findings indicate that the CLP loess can be best explained by the mixing of three end-member dust sources on the northwestern transportation trajectory, namely (1) the Gobi Desert, (2) the Ordos Desert, and (3) the Qilian Mountains. A contribution from the Yellow River is also possible but may not be significant. The identified source partition implies that the eolian silt is mainly produced by processes in the 'High Asia' mountains and, partly, by erosion of the exposed clastic rocks. This new constraint on the production and transportation of eolian dust has great implications for the proxy interpretation of loess related to atmospheric circulation, dust accumulation rate, and chemical indexes.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 46
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Uranium isotopic constraints on the provenance of dust on the Chinese Loess Plateau
Affiliation: Nanjing University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Nanjing, China
Pages: 747-750
Published: 20180901
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 30
Accession Number: 2018-084027
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2018271
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N35°00'00" - N47°00'00", E96°00'00" - E111°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of South Africa, ZAF, South AfricaChinese Academy of Sciences, Qinghai Institute of Salt Lakes, CHN, China
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201821
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