Reference work entry
Loess is an aeolian sediment with visible pores that forms by the accumulation of wind-blown yellow silt (over 50% content) that has not experienced secondary disturbance and is rich in calcium carbonate. In China, loess covers an area of approximately 630,000 km 2, which is the world’s thickest and largest deposit and is mainly distributed in the Loess Plateau in northwestern China. Loess is important in agricultural production and played a key role in the emergence of Chinese civilisation. Loess records a large amount of information about the changes on Earth since the Quaternary. Loess-palaeosol profiles, together with polar ice cores and deep-sea sediment charts, have become the three ‘bibles’ for revealing the changes in the Earth’s environment since the Quaternary. The Luochuan Loess National Geopark in Shaanxi Province has a typical loess profile that records information about the environmental and climatic changes over the past 2.5 million years (Fig. 27).
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