Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2016, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (1): 9-21.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2016.00009

• ARTICLES • Previous Articles    

Characterization of contemporary aeolian dust deposition on mountain glaciers of western China

JianZhong Xu1, ShiChang Kang1, ShuGui Hou3, QiangGong Zhang2, Jie Huang2, CunDe Xiao1, JiaWen Ren1, DaHe Qin1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences(SKLCS), Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS), Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China;
    2. Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research(ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS), Beijing 100086, China;
    3. MOE Key Laboratory for Coast and Island Development, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences(SGOS), Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093, China
  • Received:2015-07-20 Revised:2015-09-07 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: JianZhong Xu
  • Supported by:
    This research was supported by grants from the Hundred Talents Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (41121001, ISIS584763SN:5609773), and the Scientific Research Foundation of the Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences (SKLCS-ZZ-2014-01-04).

Abstract: From 2008 to 2010, a total of 15 snow pit samples were collected from 13 mountain glaciers in western China. In this study these samples are used to determine the spatial distribution of insoluble particle concentrations and dust deposition fluxes in western China. The results show that the mass concentrations of insoluble particles exhibit high spatial variation and strongly decrease (by a factor of approximately 50) from the north (Tienshan Mountains) to the south (Himalayas). However, the insoluble particles concentrations at the southeastern Tibetan Plateau (TP) sites are also high and approximately 30 times greater than those in the Himalayas. The spatial distribution of the dust flux is similar to that of the mass concentrations; however, the high dust deposition rate in the southeastern TP is very significant as a result of the extensive snow accumulation (precipitation) in this region. The average sizes of the insoluble particles at each site generally exhibit bimodal distributions with peaks at approximately 5 μm and 10 μm, which can be explained as resulting from dust emissions from regional and local sources, respectively. The enrichment factors for most of the elements measured in insoluble particles are less than 10 at all of the study sites, indicating primarily crustal sources. However, the sites located in the peripheral mountains of western China, such as the Tienshan Mountains and the Himalayas, are characterized by high levels of certain enrichment elements (e.g., Cu, Zn, Cr, and V) indicative of sources related to the long-range transport of pollutants.

Key words: snow pit, dust, insoluble particle, Tibetan Plateau

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