I was born and grow up in the Gansu Province in northwestern China. I lived in cave houses in the rural area of northwestern China for many years during my childhood. These cave houses are called Yaodong in Chinese, and represent a unique dwelling style on the Chinese Loess Plateau. When I was a kid, I always wondered about the frequent color variations from light yellow to dark brown on the wall of Yaodong. Not until I entered Lanzhou University, China, I learned from an introductory geology class that the color variations were caused by climate changes, and loess deposits represent a long period of aridification in central Asia caused by the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and global cooling. This inspired my curiosity to learn more about geology.
Sedimentary Record of Tectonics and Paleoclimate
My students and I apply field-based, laboratory, and numerical modeling approaches to understand basin evolutions, tectonic processes responsible for the formation of mountains, and associated climatic and environmental changes. The research tools we use include sedimentology and stratigraphy, isotope geochemistry and geochronology, and basin subsidence modeling.
My latest main research interests include applying sedimentology and geochemistry to reconstruct paleotopography, paleoclimate, and paleoenvironment in western North America Cordillera system, and document the spatial and temporal patterns of surface uplift and rock uplift. Such researches provide critical insights into geodynamic processes responsible for mountain building, interactions among orogeny, surface uplift and climate, and reconstructions of the Earth’s history into deep past.