Validation of ice-wedge isotopes at Yituli'he, northeastern China as climate proxy

Xianyong.Cao [ at ]


Inactive ice wedges are still present today at Yituli'he in the middle Da Xing'anling (Greater Hinggan) Mountains in northeastern China, which is the southernmost known site (50°37′N) with ice wedges in the Northern Hemisphere. However, it is uncertain whether the ice-wedge isotope composition, characterized by low δ18O, δD and low deuterium excess values, is representative of the isotope signature of a broader region. In this paper, the ice-wedge isotope compositions were examined in the context of the stable isotopes of precipitation from the nearby Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) stations. In addition, the pollen spectra from the host sediments were analysed to provide additional information on local vegetation in order to better understand the climate conditions favouring ice-wedge formation. The pollen spectra suggest that the Yituli'he ice wedges developed during the colder and wetter period after 6000 cal. a BP. The isotopes in the Yituli'he ice wedges are consistent with the isotope background recorded in atmospheric precipitation collected at the nearby GNIP stations. When the snow-melt froze into ice veinlets, the isotope signals did not change substantially because of the strong, cold, continental anticyclones in winter as well as a strong temperature inversion that prevail in the Da Xing'anling Mountains. As the climate pattern did not change substantially, the neoglacial cold period is unlikely to have allowed for strong secondary fractionation of isotope records during ice-wedge formation. Thus, the annual isotope signature can be interpreted as a valid archive of climate data.

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DOI 10.1111/bor.12121

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Yang, S. , Cao, X. and Jin, H. (2015): Validation of ice-wedge isotopes at Yituli'he, northeastern China as climate proxy , Boreas, 44 (3), pp. 502-510 . doi: 10.1111/bor.12121

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