Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1406–1418 | Cite as

Evolution of the Southern Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass during the last 7 kyr from benthic foraminiferal evidence

  • Fuchang Zhong
  • Rong XiangEmail author
  • Yiping Yang
  • Meixun Zhao
Research Paper


The Southern Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass (YSCWM) is closely related to the modern circulation system of the east China shelf seas, which has significantly influenced regional marine environmental changes. The study of the Holocene evolution of the YSCWM will greatly improve our understanding of the mechanisms of regional environmental change. Benthic foraminifera are sensitive to bottom water environmental changes and can serve as useful indicators in bottom water environmental reconstruction. In this study, benthic foraminifera were analyzed in core N02 from the northwestern margin of the southern Yellow Sea Mud to decipher the phase evolution of the YSCWM during the last 7 kyr. Benthic foraminifera census counts and Q-mode factor analysis indicate that the Holocene sedimentary environment can be divided into three stages: From 6.9–5.0 ka, the fauna was dominated by Ammonia ketienziensis, indicating that the YSCWM was at its strongest during the last 7 kyr, while the Yellow Sea Coastal Current (YSCC) had a weak influence on the bottom water of the study area. From 5.0–2.9 ka, the relative abundance of Hanzawaia nipponica remarkably increased while the abundance of A. ketienziensis decreased significantly, reflecting that the strength of the YSCWM was relatively weak and the range of the YSCWM might have contracted. The influence of the YSCC on the bottom water might have slightly increased, although its influence was still weak during this time. A notable increase in low-temperature and low-salinity species, such as Protelphidium tuberculatum and Buccella spp. has occurred since 2.9 ka, indicating that the YSCC has had a strong influence on bottom water during this period, while the strength of the YSCWM has been at its weakest during the last 7 kyr. Generally, the influence of the YSCWM and the YSCC on the bottom water properties of the study area show an obvious seesaw pattern, with one’s influence increasing while the other’s influence decreases and vice versa. The fluctuations in the strength of YSCWM during the Holocene may be caused by the different effect allocations of regional climatic factors (i.e. El Niño Southern Oscillation, East Asian Winter Monsoon, summer insolation in the northern hemisphere, etc.) acting on the circulation system during different periods.


Benthic foraminifera Yellow Sea Cold Water Mass Holocene El Niño Southern Oscillation East Asian Winter Monsoon 


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We would like to thank all the participants and onboard staff of the spring cruise of the National Basic Research Program of China for providing the samples. The authors thank the two anonymous reviewers for their comments. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2010CB428901), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41476040 & 91228207) and the Strategic Special Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. XDA11030104).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fuchang Zhong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rong Xiang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yiping Yang
    • 1
  • Meixun Zhao
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Marine Chemistry Theory and Technology, Ministry of EducationOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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