Patterns and timing of loess-paleosol transitions in Eurasia: Constraints for paleoclimate studies

Christian Zeeden*, Ulrich Hambach, Igor Obreht, Qingzhen Hao, Hemmo A. Abels, Daniel Veres, Frank Lehmkuhl, Milivoj B. Gavrilov, Slobodan B. Marković

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Loess-paleosol sequences are the most extensive terrestrial paleoclimate records in Europe and Asia documenting atmospheric circulation patterns, vegetation, and sedimentary dynamics in response to glacial-interglacial cyclicity. Between the two sides of the Eurasian continent, differences may exist in response and response times to glacial changes and finding these is essential to understand the climate systems of the northern hemisphere. Therefore, assessment of common patterns and regional differences in loess-paleosol sequences (LPS) is vital, but remains, however, uncertain. Another key to interpret these records is to constrain the mechanisms responsible for the formation and preservation of paleosols and loess layers in these paleoclimate archives. This study therefore compares LPS magnetic susceptibility records as proxies for paleosol formation intensity for selected sites from the central Chinese Loess Plateau and the Carpathian Basin in Europe over the last 440 kyr. Inconsistencies and crucial issues concerning the timing, correlation and paleoclimate potential of selected Eurasian LPS are outlined. Our comparison of Eurasian LPS shows generally similar patterns of paleosol formation, while highlighting several crucial differences. Especially for paleosols developed around ~ 200 and ~ 300 ka, the reported timing of soil formation differs by up to 30 ka. In addition, a drying and cooling trend over the last ~ 300 ka has been documented in Europe, with no such evidence in the Asian records. The comparison shows that there is still uncertainty in defining the chronostratigraphic framework for these records on glacial-interglacial time scales in the order of 5–30 kyr for the last ~ 440 ka. We argue that the baseline of the magnetic susceptibility proxy in loess from the Carpathian Basin is the most striking difference between European LPS and the Chinese Loess Plateau. In our opinion, many of the current timing/age differences may be overcome once a comparable stratigraphic interpretation is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

Cite this