U of M geology researchers uncover surprising effects of climate patterns in ancient China

University of Minnesota geology and geophysics researchers, along with their colleagues from China, have uncovered surprising effects of climate patterns on social upheaval and the fall of dynasties in ancient China. Their research identifies a natural phenomenon that may have been the last straw for some Chinese dynasties: a weakening of the summer Asian Monsoons. Such weakening accompanied the fall of three dynasties and now could be lessening precipitation in northern China. The work rests on climate records preserved in the layers of stone in a 118-millimeter-long stalagmite found in Wanxiang Cave in Gansu Province, China. The study, led by researchers from the University of Minnesota and Lanzhou University in China, appears in the Nov. 7 issue of Science. Read more>>

November 26, 2008