Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (3): 452-457.doi: 10.11821/xb200303015

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Desert Formation and Evolution in Qaidam Basin since the Last Glacial Epoch

ZENG Yongnian1,2, FENG Zhaodong1, CAO Guangchao2   

  1. 1. National Laboratory of Western China's Environmental System, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2. Centre for Resources and Environment Research of Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai Normal University, Xining 810008, China
  • Received:2002-08-29 Revised:2002-10-15 Online:2003-05-25 Published:2010-09-09
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40071066; No.49361006; National Key Project for Basic Science Research, No.G2000048701


The Qaidam Basin is one of the areas where the deserts of the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau are mainly distributed. These deserts are mainly found in the southern margin and southeastern part of the Qaidam Basin, and areas around the three lakes, that is, east Taijinaier lake, west Taijinaier lake, and Dabuxun lake. The extensively distributed desert and loess recorded the environmental evolution history in this region. According to the environmental records and TL-date from stratigraphy of different types of loess, eolian sand sections in southeastern margin of the Qaidam Basin, we studied the processes of desert evolution in the concerned area since the last glacial epoch. The extensive desert which appeared 21-15 kaBP indicated that the desert was intensified in the last maximum glacial epoch. The eolian sand, loess, and paleosol layers of 15-10 kaBP are overlapped in sections, which indicated that the positive and reverse changes from the occurrence of the shifting sand to the spread and the fixation have taken place many times. Since 10 kaBP the desert had experienced fluctuating evolution process of reduction and expansion along with the global environmental changes and sand-drifting still continued at present day. The modern sand-drifting activities are another episode of desert evolution process since the last maximum glacial epoch, and the subsequent activities of drifting sand of the last maximum glacial epoch in the Qaidam Basin.

Key words: desert formation and evolution, Qaidam Basin, last maximum glacial epoch