Glacial-interglacial evolution of seasonal cooling events documented by land-snail eggs from Chinese loess

Li, Fengjiang; Wu, Naiqin; Zhang, Dan; Rousseau, Denis-Didier; Yang, Yiquan; Hao, Qingzhen; Dong, Yajie; Lu, Houyuan

The alternations of glacial and interglacial cycles are a classical feature of Quaternary climatic evolution and have been demonstrated to be closely related to seasonal insolation changes at high northern latitudes. Therefore, seasonal features may provide insights into glacial-interglacial cycles. However, mainly due to the lack of long time series of seasonally sensitive proxies, little is known about seasonal changes on the glacial-interglacial scale. The unhatched eggs preserved in sediments can serve as a proxy of seasonal cooling events (e.g., cold spells) since biological principles indicate that egg hatching is sensitive to temperature changes, and cooling-event-induced low temperatures during the reproductive season are unfavorable for eggs to hatch. Vertebrate eggs are well documented in the geological records, but they rarely provide continuous records through time. Here we present a high-resolution time series of land-snail eggs from the Chinese Loess Plateau, spanning the last three glacial-interglacial cycles. The results show that seasonal cooling events, indicated by peaks in egg abundance, are strong during glacial inceptions and climate cooling shifts of the marine isotope stages (MIS) 7e/7d, MIS 5e/5d, MIS 5c/5b and MIS 3/2. They tend not to occur during deglacials. They may result in low temperatures unfavorable for egg hatching during the reproductive season. Although several factors may be involved, seasonal cooling events in the Chinese Loess Plateau seem to be positively and more closely related to high-northernlatitude ice sheet growth. This finding may provide a new perspective for understanding glacialinterglacial evolution.

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Quaternary Science Reviews

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
May 2, 2022