Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2016, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (2): 257-264.DOI: 10.11983/CBB15086

• SPECIAL TOPICS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research Highlights of the Vegetation, Climate and Atmospheric CO2 in Yushe Basin, Shanxi, North China During the Plio-Pleistocene Transition

Yunjun Bai1, 2, 7, Xueping Wei1, 3, 7, Feng Qin4, Yameng Li5, Jinfeng Li1, Parminder S. Ranhotra6, Yufei Wang1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;

    2Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China; 

    3Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China; 

    4Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China; 

    5Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Linyi University, Linyi 276005, China; 

    6Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow 226007, India; 

    7University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2015-05-18 Revised:2015-07-14 Online:2016-03-01 Published:2016-03-31
  • Contact: Yufei Wang

Abstract: The Plio-Pleistocene transition is a key time interval with a remarkable climate switch from “greenhouse” to “icehouse” conditions across the Tertiary-Quaternary boundary. The plant megafossils, pollen-spores and diatom assemblages found in Plio-Pleistocene deposits of Zhangcun Lake, Yushe Basin, on the eastern edge of the Chinese Loess Plateau, provide a chance to reconstruct and interpret the vegetation, climate and environmental changes in North China. Here we briefly review the discoveries and research history of fossil plants and introduce the recent 5 years’ research highlights of the reconstruction of paleovegetation, paleoclimate, paleoatmospheric CO2 level and paleolake evolution. Those findings during the transition qualitatively and quantitatively (1) reflect a turning point towards cool and dry climate; (2) reveal a high peak of [CO2]atm with a new terrestrial-based proxy of stomatal index on leaves of Typha orientalis, thereby indicating transient interstadial phase; and (3) show a remarkable salinity shift from carbonate to sulfate in Yushe Basin based on the change in diatom assemblages, which indicates a significant aridification about 2.6 Ma on the east Loess Plateau of China.