Timing and structure of the Younger Dryas event in northern China

Zhi Bang Ma, Hai Cheng, Ming Tan, R. Lawrence Edwards, Hong Chun Li, Chen Feng You, Wu Hui Duan, Xu Wang, Megan J. Kelly

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75 Scopus citations


A high-resolution and absolute-dated stalagmite record from Kulishu Cave, Beijing characterizes Asian Monsoon (AM) history in northern China between ca 14 and 10.5 ka BP (thousand yrs before present, present = 1950), including the entire Younger Dryas (YD) event. Using 230Th dates and counting of annual-layers, the shift into the YD began at 12,850 ± 40 yr BP and took ~340 yrs and the shift out of the YD began at 11,560 ± 40 yr BP and took <38 yrs (best estimate ~20 yrs), broadly similar to previously reported AM records from central and southeastern China. The more gradual nature of the start of the YD event as observed in the AM records appears to contrast with the more abrupt beginning observed in the Greenland ice records. The total amplitude of the AM YD event is also smaller than the amplitude of the AM Heinrich Stadial 1 event. In addition, the general rising trend of the AM during the Bølling-Allerød period contrasts with the general cooling trend in Greenland temperature during that time. The influence of rising insolation on the AM may explain this observation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - May 18 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Professor M. Xia for fieldwork with sample collecting. Thanks are also due to Dr Dan Marshall from Simon Fraser University and an anonymous reviewer for providing insightful comments that improved the original manuscript. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China grant 2010CB950201 (973 program), the National Natural Science Foundation of China grant 40872207 to ZBM, grants from Xi'an Jiaotong University ( 93K40208000004 ) and State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology , CAS ( SKLLQG1001 ), and U.S. NSF grants 0502535 , 0908792 , and 1103403 to RLE and HC.


  • Abrupt climate change
  • Asian monsoon
  • Asymmetrical Younger Dryas structure
  • Kulishu Cave
  • Northern China


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