Evolution of the East China Sea sedimentary environment in the past 14 kyr: Insights from tetraethers-based proxies

gerard.versteegh [ at ] awi.de


We reconstruct the environmental evolution of the East China Sea in the past 14 kyr based on glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) in a sediment core from the subaqueous Yangtze River Delta. Two primary phases are recognized. Phase I (13.8–8 cal kyr BP) reflects a predominantly continental influence, showing distinctly higher concentrations of branched GDGTs (averaged 143 ng/g dry sediment weight, dsw) than isoprenoid GDGTs (averaged 36 ng/g dsw), high BIT index (branched vs. isoprenoid tetraethers) values (>0.78) and a fluctuating GDGT-0/crenarchaeol ratio (R 0/5, varied from 0.52 to 3.81). Within this interval, temporal increases of terrestrial and marine influence are attributed to Younger Dryas (YD) (ca. 12.9–12.2 cal kyr BP) cold event and melt-water pulse (MWP) -1B (11.5–11.1 cal kyr BP), respectively. The prominent transition from 8 to 7.9 cal kyr BP shows a sharp decrease in BIT index value (<0.4) and increase in crenarchaeol, which marks the beginning of phase II. Afterwards, the proxies remain relatively constant, which indicates that phase II (7.9 cal kyr BP-present) is a shelf sedimentary environment with high stand of sea level. Overall, the BIT index in our record serves as a good marker for terrestrial influence at the site, and likely reflects the flooding history of the region. The TEX86 (TetraEther Index of tetraethers consisting of 86 carbons) proxy is not applicable in phase I because of an excess terrestrial influence; but it seems to be valid for revealing the annual SST in phase II (21.6±0.9°C, n=49). In contrast, the MBT'/CBT (Methylation of Branched Tetraethers and Cyclization of Branched Tetraethers) proxy appears to faithfully record the annual mean air temperature (MAT) (14.3±0.63°C, n=68) and presents an integrated signal over the middle and lower Yangtze River drainage basin.

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Primary Division
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Peer revision
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Eprint ID
DOI 10.1007/s11430-015-5229-9

Cite as
Ge, H. , Zhang, C. , Versteegh, G. J. M. , Chen, L. , Fan, D. , Dong, L. and Liu, J. (2016): Evolution of the East China Sea sedimentary environment in the past 14 kyr: Insights from tetraethers-based proxies , Science China Earth Sciences, 59 (5), pp. 927-938 . doi: 10.1007/s11430-015-5229-9



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