Climate-Driven Landformof the Ejina Basin (NW China) in Central Asia and Its Paleoenvironmental Implications

  •  Bingqi Zhu    


Though neotectonic activity is believed to be the major factor in the evolution of the topography of the Ejina Basin in Central Asia, detailed documentation and analysis of climatic landscape features and their environmental implications are lacking. The present study is a site-specific documentation of landforms developed in the wide part of the Ejina Basin, with the aim to identify the climatic landforms based on the method of climatic geomorphology and to evaluate its landscape evolution and response to palaeoclimate changes. The morphodynamics of older landscapes are recognized by making comparison with the present climate and its corresponding landscapes. Clear evidences testifying the basin-scale shifting and transformation of different morphoclimatic zones in the basin are observed, which prove that the main geomorphic unit is changed from an alluvial-lacustrine plain to a desert plain. The coexistence of diverse landscapes and the consequent geomorphodiversity in the basin should be a compound result of surficial processes other than glaciations. The climate and hydrological conditions of the basin during the last glaciation and during the Early Holocene were much better than at present, possibly having an average annual precipitation ranged between 60~350 mm on  the basin during ca. 39-23 ka BP but great fluctuations during Holocene. The periods of lower aridity during the late Pleistocene in the bain could be induced by an increase of the westerlies and a weakening of the Asian winter monsoon on the arid areas of the central Asia.

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