We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > Chinese Dust > Qaidam
More in this section Potential Sources


The Qaidam area covers the northern part of the Tibetan Plateau in the Qinghai Province. On it's northern edge are the Qilian Shan mountians, on the east by the Altun mountains and on the south by the Kunlun mountains.  This is shown in Fig. 1. This page also includes information and data from the Kunlun mountains. 


Fig. 1 Stevens et al (2013). Tectonic map of China. 

Pullen et al. (2011) and Stevens et al. (2013) both think that the Qaidam area, along with the Tibetan Plateau, are the source area for the loess in the Chinese Loess Plateau.  Fig. 2 shows zircon U-Pb probability plots from Stevens et al. 2010 which highlight the main features in the age distributions from this area. 

Fig. 2 Zircon U-Pb probability plots from Stevens et al. (2010). 



Stevens, T., Palk, C., Carter, A., Lu, L. & Clift, P. 2010. Assessing the provenance of loess and desert sediments in northern China using U-Pb dating and morphology of detrital zircons. GSA Bulletin. 

Pullen, A., Kapp, P., McCallister, A.T., Chang, H., Gehrels, G.E., Garzione, C.N., Heermance, R.V. & Ding, L. 2011. Qaidam Basin and northern Tibetan Plateau as dust sources for the Chinese Loess Plateau and paleoclimatic implications. Geology, 39, 1031-1034. 

Enkelmann, E., Weislogel, A., Ratschbacher, L., Eide, E., Renno, A., Wooden, J. 2007. How was the triassic Songpan-Ganzi basin filled? A provenance study. Tectonic, 26.

Song, S., Zhang, L., Niu, Y., Su, L., Jian, P., Liu, D. 2005. Geochronology of diamond-bearing zircons from garnet perodotite in the North Qaidam UHPM belt, Northern Tibetan Plateau: A record of complex histories from oceanic lithosphere subduction to continental collision. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 234, 99-118. 


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback