The process in which the denudation products formed in the denudation landform are transported to the sedimentary area or catchment basin are referred to as the “source- sink” system. Identifying the source information from the sink, combining with the sedimentary age of the strata, constraining the formation age of the Yellow River, the evolution of the drainage pattern, the tectonic movement in the basin and the environmental changes has become an important content of the study of the evolution of the Yellow River. However, scholars do not agree on when the Yellow River formed. There is a dispute between the Miocene internal flow of the Yellow River and Miocene external flow of the Yellow River. In order to resolve the dispute, we used the newly developed river provenance tracing method to analyze the detrital K- feldspar Pb isotopic compositions from the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River (n=378), comparing the results with those from the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the Cathaysia plate. The results show that the Pb isotopic compositions of K- feldspar are obviously different among them. Taiwan island is the most complete area where Miocene strata are exposed in the eastern China shelf sea. Therefore, we compared the Pb isotopic ratios of K- feldspar from the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River with those from the Miocene strata deposited in the Taiwan Island. The finding suggests that the Yellow River material did not enter the Taiwan Island during the Miocene. Combined with the reported provenance tracing results from the Bohai Bay, South Yellow Sea and East China Sea basins, it indicates that the Yellow River did not flow into these basins during the Miocene. In general, the Miocene tectonic activities in northern China controlled the evolution of the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River, leading to the segmentalized evolution of the Yellow River at this time.
LIN Xu, LIU Jing, LIU Haijin, XU Qinmian, XIU Fangrui, LI Na.2023. Miocene evolution reconstruction of the Yellow River drainage basin:Constraints from K- feldspar Pb isotopes[J]. Acta Geologica Sinica,97(10):3438-3455.