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Lake Evolution During The Past 30,000 Years In China, And Its Implications For Environmental Change

Jin-qi Fang

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AbstractThroughout China over the last 30,000 years high lake levels were reached during 30,000–24,000, 22,500-20,000, and 9500-3500 yr B.P. Lake recovery after the last glacial maximum (LGM) apparently was much slower, and involved stronger regional differences, than was lake regression during the onset of the last glaciation. According to the character of lake development during the last 18,000 years, three regions and six subregions have been distinguished. In the Tibetan Plateau and alpine regions of western China the plentiful supply of meltwater may have caused lakes to recover and reach their highest levels fust after the LGM. Lake hydrology in central and northern China was directly controlled by rainfall and evaporation, and most lakes reached their highest levels between 9500 and 3500 yr B.P. In the lowlands of eastern China lake recovery was closely tied with channel aggradation and water level rise of rivers, which are associated with Holocene sea level rise and human agricultural activities. Most lakes recovered and were most extensive in the middle and late Holocene.