Reconstruction of Holocene monsoon history from the Pearl River Estuary, southern China, using diatoms and carbon isotope ratios

Zong, Y.; Lloyd, J.M.; Leng, M.J. ORCID:; Yim, W.W.-S.; Huang, G.. 2006 Reconstruction of Holocene monsoon history from the Pearl River Estuary, southern China, using diatoms and carbon isotope ratios. The Holocene, 16 (2). 252-263.

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This study employs a multiproxy approach in the reconstruction of Holocene monsoon history from sedimentary sequences obtained from the Pearl River Estuary, southern China. A set of modern surface sediment samples were collected within and outside the estuary, and a sediment core was obtained from the mouth of the estuary. A range of modern environmental variables were recorded including water salinity (summer, winter and annual average) and water depth. The diatom results show a good relationship with water salinity, with marine diatoms dominating the more distal samples from outside the main estuary and freshwater diatoms dominating the proximal samples influenced by higher freshwater flux. This pattern is matched by the bulk organic carbon isotopes. The isotope values vary between -21.1 +0.3%0 for samples from the fully marine environment, between -23.2±0.8%. and -23.7±0.8%. for samples from the mid to outer estuary brackish water environment and less than -24.7 + 1.3%. for samples from the inner estuary close to the freshwater sources. Similarly, the C/N ratios vary from below 7+0.6 in the marine end-members to over 14.8 + 3.0 in the freshwater end-members. Both the diatom and carbon data from the sediment core reveal a significant increase in freshwater flux from 8500 cal. yr BP resulting from the enhanced summer monsoon regime in early Holocene. The strength of freshwater flux reached its highest between 7500 and 6000 cal. yr BP. In the last 6000 years, freshwater flux decreased towards present, reflecting a gradual weakening of the summer monsoon.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory
ISSN: 0959-6836
Format Availability: Electronic, Print
Additional Keywords: China, Holocene, Carbon isotopes, Sediments, BGSPAP, East Asian monsoon, Freshwater flux, Diatoms, Modern environment, Pearl River Estuary, Southern China
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 07 Aug 2007 08:05 +0 (UTC)

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