A high-resolution multi-proxy record of late Cenozoic environment change from central Taklimakan Desert, China
Abstract. The Taklimakan Desert in the Tarim Basin is the largest desert in Central Asia, and is regarded as one of the main dust sources to the Northern Hemisphere. Late Cenozoic sedimentary sequences with intercalated in-situ aeolian dune sands in this area preserve direct evidence for the Asian desertification. Herein, we report a high-resolution multi-proxy climatic record from the precise magnetostratigraphic dated Hongbaishan section in the central Taklimakan Desert. Our results show that a fundamental climate change, characterised by significant cooling, enhanced aridity, and intensified atmospheric circulation, occurred at 2.8 Ma. Good correlations between paleo-environmental records in the dust sources and downwind areas suggest a broadly consistent climate evolution of northwestern China during the late Cenozoic, which is probably driven by the uplift of the Tibet Plateau and the Northern Hemisphere glaciation.