Geochemical provenance of sediments from the northern East China Sea document a gradual migration of the Asian Monsoon belt over the past 400,000 years

Francois Beny

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The reconstruction of the long-term evolution of the East Asian Monsoon remains controversial. In this study, we aim to give a new outlook on this evolution by studying a 400 kyr long sediment record (U1429) from the northern East China Sea recovered during IODP Expedition 346. Neodymium isotopic ratios and rare earth element concentrations of different grain-size fractions reveal significant provenance changes of the sediments in the East China Sea between East Asian continental sources (mainly Yellow River) and sediment contributions from the Japanese Archipelago. These provenance changes are interpreted as the direct impact of sea level changes, due to the reorganization of East Asian river mouth locations and ocean circulation on the East China Sea shelf, and latitudinal shifts of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) from the interior of Asia to the western North Pacific Ocean. Our data reveal the dominance of winter and summer monsoons during glacial and interglacial periods, respectively, except for glacial MIS 6d (∼150–180 ka) during which unexpected summer monsoon dominated conditions prevailed. Finally, our data suggests a possible strengthening of the interglacial summer monsoon rainfalls over the East Asian continent and Japan throughout the past 400 kyr, and between MIS 11 and MIS 5 in particular. This could result from a gradual northward migration of the ITCZ.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date9 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


Authors warmly thank N. Gayet and E. Pelleter for SEM analyses, S. Bermell for ArcGIS mapping, M.-L. Rouget for ICP-MS measurements, E. Ponzevera and Y. Germain for analyses with the Neptune MC-ICP-MS, and S. Chéron, J. Etoubleau, and A. Boissier for XRF measurements. Authors also express their special thanks to N. Freslon for help with ICP-MS measurements, S. Boswell for English improvements, and A. Bory and V. Bout-Roumazeilles for their support to the project. Authors finally thank all the scientific Expedition IODP 346 scientists, and Professor R. Tada (co-chief scientist) for his interest to this research. C.S. was partly supported by a Grant from the French government through Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) under the ‘Investissements d’Avenir’ programme , reference ANR-10-LABX-19-0 .

FundersFunder number
Agence Nationale de la RechercheANR-10-LABX-19-0


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