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Paelomagnetic and petromagnetic studies of Chinese Cenozoic sediments: Paleoclimatic, tectonic, and evolutionary implications Open Access


Other title
Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility
Chinese Loess Plateau
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Zhang, Rui
Supervisor and department
Vadim A. Kravchinsky
Examining committee member and department
Sacchi, Mauricio D.(Physics)
Barendregt, René W.(Geography, University of Lethbridge)
Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmosphere Sciences)
Heimpel, Moritz (Physics)
Department of Physics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) was investigated in three Chinese Loess Plateau sedimentary sections along a W–E transect. Previously published models assumed that winter monsoons were responsible for the magnetic fabric formation of loess sequences. In our new interpretation, the stronger summer monsoons from the southeast played the major role in magnetic fabric orientation in the studied west and central parts of the Chinese Loess Plateau. The AMS was generated during the rainy summer monsoon when the sedimentary particles including magnetite were rearranged, settled, and fixed. We reconstruct the summer paleomonsoon routes for the last 130 kyr. These winds prevail from SE to NW but appear to be affected by regional topographic factors. Evidence in the world’s ocean current system indicates an abrupt cooling from 34.1 to 33.6 Ma across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (EOB) at 33.9 Ma. I describe and date with magnetostratigraphy a section from the north Junggar Basin (Burqin section). Three fossil assemblages revealed through the EOB (34.8, 33.7, and 30.4 Ma) demonstrate that perissodactyl faunas were abruptly replaced by rodent/lagomorph-dominant faunas during climate cooling, and the changes in mammalian communities were accelerated by aridification in central Asia. Paleomagnetic studies of two sections of the northern Junggar Basin, China, are presented from Burqin and Tieersihabahe. Our paleomagnetic results demonstrate counterclockwise tectonic rotations in Burqin and Tieersihabahe (–17.2 ± 9.6° and –11.8 ± 6.1°, respectively) as well as considerable northward latitudinal displacement (12.2 ± 6.5° and 9.7 ± 4.1°, respectively) with respect to Europe. These results are consistent with the motions of contiguous blocks in the same geological time intervals (India, north and south China, Tarim, Amuria, and Kazakhstan). No significant intracontinental shortening or vertical-axis rotation is observed for the Junggar block from 40 Ma to 20 Ma. Our results reveal that the major compression and rotation between Junggar and northern Europe occurred after 20 Ma due to continuous penetration of India into Asia. We interpret the uplift of the Altay Mountains and the formation of the Lake Baikal rift system to be due to such intracontinental compression and relative rotations.
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