Our group’s research interests span a broad range of geological and palaeontological questions largely related to Cenozoic climate and environmental changes. We work with a number or terrestrial archives including Neogene deposits in the Chinese Loess Plateau and NW Iran, and Eocene-Oligocene sequences in Inner Mongolia.
A long-term focus of our group has been on the East Asian Cenozoic palaeoenvironments and palaeoclimates, including the evolution of Asian monsoon system, emergence and expansion of grasslands, faunal distributions and depositional settings, as well as stratigraphical aspects of East Asia as a whole. We approach our research objectives by using a variety of modern sedimentological, palaeontological, geochemical and geophysical methods. The most recent field research activities have focused on the Eocene-Oligocene sequence in Ulantatal and Miocene deposits in Damiao, Inner Mongolia, and on the Neogene strata exposed in Lantian, Shaanxi Province.
Keywords: East Asian Monsoon, Palaeoenvironments, Asian aridification, C4 vegetation, Fossil mammals, Tibetan Plateau, Eocene-Oligocene transition, Neogene
Main Collaborators: Mikael Fortelius, Liu Liping, Benjamin H. Passey, Johanna Salminen, Zhang Zhaoqun
- (Arppe et al 2015) Small mammal tooth enamel carbon isotope record of C4 grasses in late Neogene China Doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2015.09.003
(Kaakinen et al 2015) Age and stratigraphic context of Pliopithecus and associated fauna from Miocene sedimentary strata from Damiao, Inner Mongolia, China
(Kaakinen et al 2013) Stratigraphy and Paleoecology of the Classical Dragon Bone Localities of Baode County, Shanxi Province Doi: 10.7312/columbia/9780231150125.003.0007
(Zhang et al 2013) Mammalian Biochronology of the Late Miocene Bahe Formation
(Suarez et al 2011) Paleosol carbonate three isotopologue signature of active East Asian summer monsoons during the late Miocene and Pliocene Doi: 10.1130/G32350.1
(Passey et al 2009) Strengthened East Asian summer monsoons during a period of sustained high-latitude warmth? Isotopic evidence from Mio-Pliocene fossil mammals and soil carbonates in northern China Doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2008.11.008
One of the main focuses of our group is to understand the age, provenance and transport process of wind-blown loess and red clay deposits of China, one of the best terrestrial archives of climatic evolution for the late Cenozoic Era. Fundamental in reconstructing the late Miocene and Pliocene wind patterns and aridification history is a detailed knowledge of the provenance of these deposits. We use an integrated methodology for sediment fingerprinting, such as combination of zircon U-Pb ages, quartz trace elements and Dynamic Image Analysis (DIA) of grain size and grain shape, to examine the transportation processes and source areas of the sediments, to constrain the wind systems responsible for dust transport and to provide quantifications of the sediment fluxes.
Main collaborators: Christiaan J. Beets, Yann Lahaye, Hugh O’Brien, Maarten A. Prins, Hui Tang
Keywords: Red Clay, Loess, Atmospheric Dust, Palaeoclimate, Winter Monsoon, Chinese Loess Plateau
- (Shang et al in press) Aeolian silt transport processes as fingerprinted by dynamic image analysis of the grain size and shape characteristics of Chinese loess and Red Clay deposits Doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.12.001
- (Shang et al 2018) Aeolian dust supply from the Yellow River floodplain to the Pleistocene loess deposits of the Mangshan Plateau, central China: Evidence from zircon U-Pb age spectra Doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.01.001
- (Shang et al 2016) Variations in the provenance of the Late Neogene Red Clay deposits in Northern China Doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.01.031
The Maragheh Region in East Azarbaijan, northwestern Iran is a classical Pikermian fossil mammal locality and its geographical position is crucial to understanding the origin of open environments. These fossil sites in NW Iran are among the most renowned late Miocene in Eurasia; the recent fossil finds include also hominoid remains. Our work in Maragheh aims in understanding the origin of the open environments and their biota that developed in the course of the Miocene, the interactions between mammalian faunas and regional climatic change, in reconstructing late Miocene hominoid-bearing palaeoenvironments.
Main collaborators: Majid Mirzaie Ataabadi, Raymond Bernor, Mikael Fortelius, Tetsuya Sakai, Johanna Salminen
Keywords: Hominoid, Primate, Fossil mammals, Palaeoenvironments, Late Miocene, Iran
(Mirzaie Ataabadi et al 2016) The late Miocene hominoid-bearing site in Maragheh Formation, Northwest Iran Doi: 10.1007/s12549-016-0241-4
(Salminen et al 2016) Preliminary magnetostratigraphic results from the late Miocene Maragheh Formation, NW Iran