Miocene fire intensification linked to continuous aridification on the Tibetan Plateau
© 2019 Geological Society of America. Although fire is considered an important factor in global vegetation evolution and climate change, few high-resolution Miocene fire records have been obtained worldwide. Here, two independent micro-charcoal-based fire records from the northern Tibetan Plateau were analyzed; both show similar trends in micro-charcoal concentrations through time, with low abundances in the warmer Middle Miocene Climate Optimum (18-14 Ma) followed by a continuous increase throughout the late Miocene (14-5 Ma) cooling. Our detailed statistical analyses show that the micro-charcoal concentration trend is highly positively correlated to the trend in oxygen isotopes (δ18O, r = 0.94) and xerophytic species (%Xero, r = 0.95). We propose that the intensified fire frequency on the Tibetan Plateau mainly originated from the forest-steppe ecotone as a result of the continuous aridification in winter driven by the global cooling and decreased atmospheric pCO2 that occurred during 18-5 Ma, with a secondary control by the tectonic activity of the northern Tibetan Plateau.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Miao, Y., Wu, F., Warny, S., Fang, X., Lu, H., Fu, B., Song, C., Yan, X., Escarguel, G., Yang, Y., Meng, Q., & Shi, P. (2019). Miocene fire intensification linked to continuous aridification on the Tibetan Plateau. Geology, 47 (4), 303-307. https://doi.org/10.1130/G45720.1