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

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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

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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

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