Long-term trend and abrupt events of the Holocene Asian monsoon inferred from a stalagmite δ10O record from Shennongjia in central China

Xiaohua Shao, Yongjin Wang, Hai Cheng, Xinggong Kong, Jiangying Wu, R. Lawrence Edwards

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107 Scopus citations


A high-resolution oxygen-isotope record from a thorium-uranium-dated stalagmite from Shanbao Cave at Shennongjia reflects variations in the amount of monsoon precipitation for the period from 11.5 to 2.1 ka (1 ka = 1000 cal aBP). Between 11.5 and 9.3 ka, a sharp decrease in δ18O indicates a rapid increase in monsoon precipitation. An interval of generally high monsoon precipitation is observed between 9.3 and 4.4 ka. An arid period has prevailed between 4.4 and 2.1 ka. The long-term trend of Shanbao record appears to follow summer insolation at 33°N latitude. An abrupt decrease in monsoon precipitation around 4.3 ka is synchronous with the collapse of Neolithic culture in central China. This abrupt change could have resulted from the amplification of the gradually decreased summer insolation by the positive vegetation-atmosphere-aerosol feedback. The weakened Asian monsoon events were in concert with decreased Greenland temperature during the early Holocene, centered at 8.2, 8.6, 9.3, 10.2 and 11.0 ka. This correlation suggests that changes in low-latitude monsoon are connected with climate change in high-latitude polar region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006


  • Global ice volume
  • Holocene
  • Hubei Province
  • Monsoon precipitation
  • Shennongjia
  • Stalagmite

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