Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2006, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (11): 1200-1207.doi: 10.11821/xb200611009

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Dating of River Terraces in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area

HAN Zhiyong, LI Xusheng, REN Xuemei, XU Qinmian, YANG Dayuan   

  1. Department of Urban and Resources Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2006-04-16 Revised:2006-08-15 Online:2006-11-25 Published:2006-11-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40272126


The river terraces of the Changjiang River in the Three Gorges Reservoir area are key to the study on the evolution of the water system of the Chuanjiang River and the Xiajiang River. These terraces mainly develop in the western part of the reservoir area, i.e., the hill and low mountain region in the eastern part of Sichuan. Up to 6 levels of terraces are identified. The main problem encountered in terrace related studies is the lack of reliable temporal controls on the terrace formation. We measured the terrace ages by using the TL and ESR methods. The results show that the ESR method is likely unsuitable for dating fluvial sediments in the Three Gorges Reservoir area. Although the TL method has intrinsic flaws, the ages of terrace T1-T4 given by this method are supported by independent dating results. The TL ages of terrace T1-T4 are estimated to be 7-17 ka, 28-46 ka, 62-81 ka and 103-105 ka respectively. In addition, we infer that terrace T4 is older than 101 ka, terrace T5 older than 392 ka and terrace T6 younger than 780 ka based on the chronostratigraphic and the reported paleomagnetic study. Consequently, an approximate time series of terrace accumulation is established.

Key words: Three Gorges, terrace, TL, ESR, OSL