Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (5): 661-679.doi: 10.11821/xb201305008

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Formation and evolution of sandy deserts in Xinjiang:The palaeo-environmental evidences

ZHU Bingqi1, YU Jingjie1, QIN Xiaoguang2, LIU Ziting2, XIONG Heigang3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, CAS, Beijing 100029, China;
    3. Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology, Ministry of Education, Urumqi 830046, China
  • Received:2012-12-24 Revised:2013-02-08 Online:2013-05-20 Published:2013-07-22
  • Supported by:

    National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2009CB421305; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.91025023; No.40901059; No.41271049

Abstract: Based on the palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental evidences of geological history and human history periods, this paper reviews the researches and progresses on the development of the sandy deserts in Xinjiang. It points out that under the tectonic conditions, the Tarim and Zhungarer basins are greatly influenced by the foehn effects originated from the planetary wind system of westerly, the East-Asia ocean-continental monsoon and the topographical mountain-valley winds. The regional patterns of climate and environment since the Quaternary have been characterized by the overall persistent drought accompanied by fluctuations in the secondary scale. Formations of aeolian sediments in the basins and at the margins are a potential response to global climate change, particularly to the aridification of the Asian hinterland deduced by the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and its surrounding highlands. For the question about the formation time of the Taklimakan Desert, because the research methods, objects and information carriers used in previous studies are different, there are many disputes in the academic circles at present. Evidences from aeolian deposits/rocks at the edge and in the hinterland of these sandy deserts and their chronological data indicate that arid climate and land surface aeolian processes have been observed at the edge of the Tarim Basin and its hinterland areas since the Tertiary period.

Key words: sandy desert, palaeo-climate, Late Quaternary, aeolian sediment, Xinjiang