Orbital- and millennial-scale variability of the Asian monsoon during MIS8 from Sanbao Cave at Mount Shennongjia, central China

Xiu Yang Jiang, Xing Gong Kong, Yong Jin Wang, Hai Cheng, Jiang Ying Wu, Shi Tao Chen

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5 Scopus citations


One stalagmite oxygen isotope record from Sanbao Cave, China, established with 7 230Th ages and 355 oxygen isotope data, provides a continuous history of the East Asian Monsoon (EAM) intensity for the period from 284 to 240 thousand years before present (ka BP) with typical errors of 3-4 ka. This new record extends the previously published stalagmite δ18O record back to the marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 8. The MIS8 EAM record broadly follows orbitally-induced insolation variations and is punctuated by at least 6 strong- and 3 weak-monsoon events. The weak monsoon events around Termination III (TIII) are dated at ~257 ka BP, ~253 ka BP and ~246 ka BP, and can be distinctly correlated to three ice-rafted debris (IRD) events in the North Atlantic. The TIII appears to display a two-phase glacial termination process, similar to that of the TI and TII. Phase I is characterized by a weak monsoon stage of several millennia (~250-~244 ka BP) that is coeval with the full atmospheric CO2 concentration and Antarctic temperature rise. Phase II is marked by a rapidly intensified monsoon at ~244 ka BP, accompanied by the rapid increase in CH4 concentration and maxima of Antarctic temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Our observation supports the Milankovitch theory that the Northern Hemisphere (NH) summer insolation triggered the glacial-interglacial cycles. In addition, our results suggest that the Southern Hemisphere (SH) warming may have facilitated the termination of the AM at the TIII.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1046
Number of pages6
JournalChinese Science Bulletin
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Comments and suggestions from three anonymous reviewers greatly improved this manuscript. Thanks are also due to Qiu Q. L. and Dong J. G. for their help with field work. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 40631003 and 40771009) and Innovation Project in Graduate Education of Jiangsu Province (Grant No. CX07B-051Z).


  • Asian Monsoon
  • Sanbao Cave
  • Shennongjia
  • Stalagmite
  • Termination III


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