Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2015, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (3): 257-264.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2015.00257

• ARTICLES • Previous Articles    

Elemental composition and its environmental significance for the varicolored hills in the northern foothills of the Qilian Mountains of Sunan Yugur Autonomous County, China

CaiXia Zhang1, XiaoZe Li1, Zhong Sun1, JinChang Li2   

  1. 1. Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China;
    2. Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, Shanxi 030000, China
  • Received:2015-01-11 Revised:2015-04-01 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: CaiXia Zhang,
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41101006) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (41272191).

Abstract: The varicolored hills in the northern foothills of the Qilian Mountains of northern China, in the Hexi Corridor of Gansu Province's Sunan Yugur Autonomous County, have given this region a unique geomorphology. In this paper, we describe the elemental composition, lithological characteristics, and source type of the sediments that formed the varicolored hills. We found that the major oxides that make up their sediments are SiO2, Al2O3 and Na2O. These sediments had higher Fe2O3, MgO, CaO, and Na2O contents and lower SiO2, Al2O3, K2O, and TiO2 contents than in the major Fangyan rock group of the Jianglang Mountains Danxia landform and the red paleosols that have accumulated in the Yaojia Formation of the Songliao Basin. The varicolored hills have developed their strong coloration as a result of oxidation or reduction of Fe. Our data suggest that the sediments developed from terrestrial detrital deposits.

Key words: red bed, varicolored hills, Hexi Corridor, Qilian Mountains

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