Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 45, Issue 12, pp 1057–1067 | Cite as

High-frequency climatic oscillations recorded in a Holocene coral reef at Leizhou Peninsula, South China Sea

  • Kefu Yu
  • Dongsheng Liu
  • Chengde Shen
  • Jianxin Zhao
  • Tegu Chen
  • Jinliang Zhong
  • Huanting Zhao
  • Chaojing Song


A detailed study of the Goniopora reef profile at Dengloujiao, Xuwen County, Leizhou Peninsula, the northern coast of the South China Sea suggests that a series of high-frequency, large-amplitude and abrupt cold events occurred during the Holocene Hypsithermal, an unusual phenomenon termed “Leizhou Events” in this paper. This period (corresponding to 14C age of 6.2-6.7 kaBP or calendar age of 6.7-7.2 kaBP), when the climatic conditions were ideal for coral reefs to develop, can be divided into at least nine stages. Each stage (or called a “climate optimum”), lasting about 20 to 50 a, was terminated by an abrupt cold nap and (or) a sea-level lowering event in winter, leading to widespread emergence and death of the Goniopora corals, and growth discontinuities on the coral surface. Such a cyclic process resulted in the creation of a >4m thick Goniopora reef flat. During this period, the crust subsided periodically but the sea level was rising.

The reef profile provides valuable archives for the study of decadal-scale mid-Holocene climatic oscillations in the tropical area of South China. Our results provide new evidence for high-frequency climate instability in the Holocene Hypsithermal, and challenge the traditional understanding of Holocene climate.


coral reef Holocene Hypsithermal abrupt climate change sea level Leizhou events South China Sea 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kefu Yu
    • 1
  • Dongsheng Liu
    • 2
  • Chengde Shen
    • 3
  • Jianxin Zhao
    • 4
  • Tegu Chen
    • 1
  • Jinliang Zhong
    • 1
  • Huanting Zhao
    • 1
  • Chaojing Song
    • 1
  1. 1.South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Geology and geophysics InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Guangzhou Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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