Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-373
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-373
27 Mar 2023
 | 27 Mar 2023

Dynamic environment but no temperature change since the late Paleogene at Lühe Basin (Yunnan, China)

Caitlyn R. Witkowski, Vittoria Lauretano, Alex Farnsworth, Shufeng Li, Shi-Hu Li, Jan Peter Mayser, B. David A. Naafs, Robert A. Spicer, Tao Su, He Tang, Zhe-Kun Zhou, Paul J. Valdes, and Richard D. Pancost

Abstract. The complex tectonic evolution in the Tibetan region has impacted climate, the Asian monsoon system, and the development of major biodiversity hotspots, especially since the onset of the India-Eurasia continental collision during the early Paleogene. Untangling the links between the geologic, climatic, and ecological history of the broader region can provide insights into these Earth system mechanisms, relevant for the future of our rapidly changing planet. To better understand environmental conditions across this critical time and place, we reconstruct the climatic and environmental history from a key sedimentary repository within the Lühe Basin, Yunnan, China, uniquely located between high elevation Tibet and low elevation coastal China. We investigate a 340-m long section using a multi-proxy organic geochemistry approach, complemented with sedimentological interpretations and climate model simulations. The complementary organic geochemical proxies, including n-alkanes, terpenoids, and hopanes, suggest that these thermally immature sediments were deposited in a dynamic environment that fluctuated between low energy floodplains and high energy fluvial systems. Our branched glycerol diakyl glycerol tetraether-based proxies indicate terrestrial temperatures of around 17 °C ± 3 SD and our model-based temperatures indicate terrestrial temperatures for Chattian of around 19 °C, consistent with the literature palaeobotany-based temperatures from the nearby Lühe town section. These combined palaeotemperatures match present-day values, suggesting that this area has not undergone significant temperature change since the late Paleogene.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Caitlyn R. Witkowski, Vittoria Lauretano, Alex Farnsworth, Shufeng Li, Shi-Hu Li, Jan Peter Mayser, B. David A. Naafs, Robert A. Spicer, Tao Su, He Tang, Zhe-Kun Zhou, Paul J. Valdes, and Richard D. Pancost

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 May 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #3, 22 Aug 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 May 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #2, 10 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-373', Anonymous Referee #3, 22 Aug 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Caitlyn Witkowski, 05 Oct 2023
Caitlyn R. Witkowski, Vittoria Lauretano, Alex Farnsworth, Shufeng Li, Shi-Hu Li, Jan Peter Mayser, B. David A. Naafs, Robert A. Spicer, Tao Su, He Tang, Zhe-Kun Zhou, Paul J. Valdes, and Richard D. Pancost
Caitlyn R. Witkowski, Vittoria Lauretano, Alex Farnsworth, Shufeng Li, Shi-Hu Li, Jan Peter Mayser, B. David A. Naafs, Robert A. Spicer, Tao Su, He Tang, Zhe-Kun Zhou, Paul J. Valdes, and Richard D. Pancost

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Short summary
Untangling the complex tectonic evolution in the Tibetan region can help us understand its impacts on climate, the Asian monsoon system, and the development of major biodiversity hotspots. We show that this “missing link” site between high elevation Tibet and low elevation coastal China had a dynamic environment but no temperature change, meaning its been at its current-day elevation for the past 34 million years.