The delta C-13 and delta O-18 values of carbonates and delta C-13(org) values, % C, and C/N ratios of organic matter from lacustrine and fluvial sediments were measured from two stratigraphic sections in the Linxia basin on the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. Diagenesis, when present, is early, limited to small spatial scales and restricted stratigraphic intervals. A strong correlation exists between dolomite content and the delta O-18 values of micritic carbonate suggesting that carbonates are primary precipitates from lake water and that delta O-18 values reflect changes in the lake environment, with more positive values derived from evaporated and more saline lake water. The first part of this record is characterized by strong oscillations between dry and wet conditions accompanied by changes in the lake system between hydrographically closed and open states (13.1-8.0 Ma). The most severe aridity occurred from 9.6 to 8.5 Ma. After similar to 8.0 Ma, a more stable and less and climate dominated the region and the drainage system was open (8.0-5.3 Ma). After 5.3 Ma, climate became gradually drier and/or cooler (5.3-4.3 Ma). The organic matter preserved in the Linxia basin is most likely a mixture of terrestrial C-3 plant matter and lake algae. A correlation between C/N and delta C-13(org), indicates that a significant percentage of the organic matter is derived from terrestrial sources. The organic matter has undergone selective degradation during which the C/N ratios and organic carbon percentage decreased. The delta C-13(org) values are relatively stable throughout the 13.1 to 4.3 Ma interval ranging from -24 to -29%o VPDB, suggesting that C-4 grasses were either absent or insignificant in the Linxia region prior to 4.3 Ma. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Univ Arizona, Dept Geosci, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA
; Lanzhou Univ, Minist Educ, Key Lab Western Chinas Environm Syst, Lanzhou 730000, Gansu, Peoples R China
; Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Tibetan Plateau Res, Beijing 100085, Peoples R China
; Univ Rochester, Dept Earth & Environm Sci, Rochester, NY 14627 USA
Fan, MJ (reprint author), Univ Arizona, Dept Geosci, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA.