Hydroclimatic variations in southeastern China during the 4.2 ka event reflected by stalagmite records

Haiwei Zhang, Hai Cheng, Yanjun Cai, Christoph Spötl, Gayatri Kathayat, Ashish Sinha, R. Lawrence Edwards, Liangcheng Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Although the collapses of several Neolithic cultures in China are considered to have been associated with abrupt climate change during the 4.2 ka BP event (4.2- 3.9 ka BP), the timing and nature of this event and the spatial distribution of precipitation between northern and southern China are still controversial. The hydroclimate of this event in southeastern China is still poorly known, except for a few published records from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. In this study, a high-resolution record of monsoon precipitation between 5.3 and 3.57 ka BP based on a stalagmite from Shennong Cave, Jiangxi Province, southeast China, is presented. Coherent variations in δ18O and δ13C reveal that the climate in this part of China was dominantly wet between 5.3 and 4.5 ka BP and mostly dry between 4.5 and 3.57 ka BP, interrupted by a wet interval (4.2-3.9 ka BP). A comparison with other records from monsoonal China suggests that summer monsoon precipitation decreased in northern China but increased in southern China during the 4.2 ka BP event. We propose that the weakened East Asian summer monsoon controlled by the reduced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation resulted in this contrasting distribution of monsoon precipitation between northern and southern China. During the 4.2 ka BP event the rain belt remained longer at its southern position, giving rise to a pronounced humidity gradient between northern and southern China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1805-1817
Number of pages13
JournalClimate of the Past
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This study was supported by the NSFC (41502166), NSFC (41731174), NSF (1702816), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M580832), the State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology (SKLLQG1046), the Key Laboratory of Karst Dynamics, Ministry of Land and Resources of the People’s Republic of China (MLR), GZAR (KDL201502), and the Shaanxi Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2018JC-023).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Author(s).


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydroclimatic variations in southeastern China during the 4.2 ka event reflected by stalagmite records'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this