Multi-scale Holocene Asian monsoon variability deduced from a twin-stalagmite record in southwestern China

Wei Huang, Yongjin Wang, Hai Cheng, Richard Lawrence Edwards, Chuan Chou Shen, Dianbing Liu, Qingfeng Shao, Chao Deng, Zhenqiu Zhang, Quan Wang

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26 Scopus citations


We present two isotopic (δ18O and δ13C) sequences of a twin-stalagmite from Zhuliuping Cave, southwestern China, with 230Th dates from 14.6 to 4.6 ka. The stalagmite δ18O record characterizes orbital- to decadal-scale variability of Asian summer monsoon (ASM) intensity, with the Holocene optimum period (HOP) between 9.8 and 6.8 ka BP which is reinforced by its co-varying δ13C data. The large multi-decadal scale amplitude of the cave δ18O indicates its high sensitivity to climate change. Four centennial-scale weak ASM events during the early Holocene are centered at 11.2, 10.8, 9.1 and 8.2 ka. They can be correlated to cold periods in the northern high latitudes, possibly resulting from rapid dynamics of atmospheric circulation associated with North Atlantic cooling. The 8.2 ka event has an amplitude more than two-thirds that of the Younger Dryas (YD), and is significantly stronger than other cave records in the Asia monsoon region, likely indicating a more severe dry climate condition at the cave site. At the end of the YD event, the δ13C record lags the δ18O record by 300–500 yr, suggesting a multi-centennial slow response of vegetation and soil processes to monsoon enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Many thanks are also given to the Senior Editor (Nicholas Lancaster) for improving the English usage of our manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the National Nature Science Found of China (No. 41130210 ), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (No. 164320H116 ), and Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application . This study was also partially supported by a Taiwan ROC MOST grant ( 104-2119-M-002-003 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 University of Washington


  • Asian summer monsoon
  • Holocene
  • Isotope records
  • Multi-scale variability
  • Weak ASM events
  • Zhuliuping Cave


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