Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-159
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-159

  01 Dec 2021

01 Dec 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Changes in paleo-underground water levels revealed by water wells and their relationship with climate variations in imperial China

Chenyao Jiang1,2,3, Xin Jia1,2,3,4, Xinggong Kong1,2,3, Meng Ou4, and Harry Fung Lee5 Chenyao Jiang et al.
  • 1Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment (Nanjing Normal University), Ministry of Education, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 3School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 4Insitute of Environmental Archaeology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 5Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China

Abstract. Based on the records of the bottom elevations of 482 ancient water wells collected from published archaeological reports, we reconstructed the paleo-underground water levels (PUWL) in the urban areas of Chengdu, Changsha, Nanjing, Suzhou, Suqian, and Yancheng cities in the vicinity of 30° N in China. The PUWL fluctuations varied between the inland and the coastal regions and their transitional areas. There were four PUWL phases in the inland areas: low in Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), high in Tang (A.D. 618–907), low in Song (A.D. 960–1279), and high in Ming (A.D. 1368–1644). In contrast, there were five PUWL phases in the coastal regions: high in Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), low in Jin-Northern & Southern Dynasties (A.D. 266–589), high in Tang-Song (A.D. 618–1279), low in Ming (A.D. 1368–1644), and high in Qing-Republic of China (A.D. 1644–1949). Yet, there were no apparent changes in PUWL in the transitional areas between the inland and the coastal regions. Regional hydrological factors cause the geographic variations of the PUWL fluctuations. Precipitation changes drove the rise and fall of PUWL in the inland areas. In contrast, the variations of PUWL in the coastal regions were attributed to the temperature-induced sea-level changes. This study illustrates the potential of using PUWL in tracing paleo-environment changes and their driving factors, which is a novel approach in environmental archaeology.

Chenyao Jiang et al.

Status: open (until 26 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-159', Pál Sümegi, 14 Dec 2021 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on cp-2021-159', Jie Fei, 16 Dec 2021 reply
  • CC2: 'Comment on cp-2021-159', Jie Fei, 16 Dec 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on cp-2021-159', Neil Macdonald, 19 Dec 2021 reply

Chenyao Jiang et al.

Chenyao Jiang et al.

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Short summary
We reconstruct the paleo-underground water levels in six cities, based on 482 ancient water wells collected from published archaeological reports. We find that monsoon precipitation determined the groundwater table in inland regions, while temperature-induced sea-level changes influenced the groundwater table in coastal areas. Our findings reveal the huge potential of using archaeological materials to trace paleo-environmental changes and their driving factors.