Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Paleoenvironment shifts during MIS 3: Loess and loess paleosols of Kashmir Valley, India


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      Kashmir valley receives the rainfall owing to the dominant westerly winds and experiences less impact of the southwest monsoonal rains (SWM). In this valley, loess and loess paleosols occur as a thin veneer covering the landscape. The loess paleosols form an important proxy for paleoclimate reconstruction and understanding the late Quaternary paleoenvironmental shifts. For this purpose, the loess, paleosols within the loess lithosections were lithologged and the sediment samples were subjected to various grain-size textural and geochemical analysis. The U-ratio of the sediments supported by parameters such as TOC, CaCO$_{3}$ content, ratios of Zr/Rb, Rb/Sr, Ba/Sr, K/Ba, K/Rb, chemical index of alteration (CIA) and clay mineralogy indicate that the loess paleosols have undergone weak to moderate degree of pedogenesis. The U-ratio and Zr/Sr ratio also reflect variations in the wind velocity ranging from weak to moderate conditions for the loess deposition. The Ba/Sr and Rb/Sr ratios signify varied precipitation conditions, particularly with higher precipitation during the paleosol formation. The A–CN–K plot exhibits weaker to intermediate type of weathering of the loess horizons. TiO$_{2}$% vs. Al$_{2}$O$_{3}$% binary plot illustarates mostly basaltic to rhyolite/granite type of rock source and the Panjal Traps is one of the major sources of the loess deposition. The lower end of the exposed Choori and Burzahama lithosections were dated by OSL method to 54 $\pm$ 2 ka at 9.5 m depth and 52 $\pm$  2 ka at 8 m of depth, respectively. Geochemical analysis and OSL dating of the Choori and Burzahama lithosections reveal that climate during the marine isotope stage 3 (MIS 3) was dominantly warm and dry (stadial conditions) in Kashmir valley when the loess layers covered the valley and since then the loess horizons have undergone weak to intermediate, moderate type of weathering in cool and dry conditions.

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