10 July 2020
Large amounts of sediments originating from the Changjiang (Yangtze) River are deposited in the subaqueous delta and in the adjacent muddy area off the mouth and on the inner shelf of the East China Sea. The terrestrial sediments deposited in these areas not only contain information about the composition and environment of the source area, but they also record changes in anthropogenic activities. A sediment piston core (CJ0702) was extracted from the Changjiang subaqueous depocenter (31.00°N, 122.67°E) in a water depth of 22.0 m. The core was subsampled at 1 – 2 cm intervals and analyzed for grain size, clay mineralogy, and major element geochemistry. Results indicate a relatively high sediment accumulation rate of approximately 3.11 cm yr –1. These parameters exhibited only minor cyclical fluctuations in the core, which resulted from many factors. During the past 120 years, the Changjiang River-derived sediment is the primary source of sediment in the offshore mud area without evidence for the Yellow River-derived sediment increasing. After the trunk stream shifted from the North Branch to South Branch, the variations of proxies are controlled by the periodic fluctuation possibly linked to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). In addition, anthropogenic heavy metal concentrations can be divided into three stages, which coincide well with economic development and environmental protection policies.