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Keywords:

  • stalagmite;
  • δ18O;
  • U–Th ages;
  • climate change;
  • Central China;
  • Late Pleistocene

Abstract

The oxygen isotope signature (δ18O) of stalagmite SI3 collected from Shizi Cave in north-east Sichuan Province provides an Asian Summer Monsoon (ASM) record in Central China for the period 54–46 ka. The SI3 δ18O record clearly shows a negative δ18O excursion centred around 49.4 ka, which was reported in Hulu Cave in East China but not identified in the speleothem records from South-west China. As a whole, this record displays a higher coherence with the two Hulu records from East China than with the speleothem δ18O records from South-west China, suggesting that at 54–46 ka, Central China was influenced more by the East Asian Summer Monsoon than by the Indian Summer Monsoon. It also displays a significant negative δ18O excursion at 47.5–46.6 ka, which is not clearly documented in two other speleothem δ18O records previously reported from South-west China. This suggests that details of the Greenland interstadial 12 warrant further investigations in future in monsoonal China. The SI3 δ18O record displays more significant centennial-scale variations than the other four speleothem δ18O records from East and South-west China, which may be due to the fact that the study site is closer to the north-west boundary of the ASM and more sensitive to variations of the ASM than East and South-west China. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.