The age, grain size compositions and major elemental compositions for sediments in core YQ1 from the Yingqiong continental slope in the South China Sea was determined in this paper. It is noted that the periodically cyclic change of sedimentation rates occurred in the Yingqiong continental slope in the South China Sea. During the interglacial periods, the sedimentation rates were high, while the sedimentation rates exhibited low values during the glacial periods. During Marine Isotope Stage 1 (MIS1), the sedimentary rate could reach about 800 cm kyr −1 and during the MIS6 this area is characterized by the lowest sedimentary rate, which is lower than 3 cm kyr −1. According to the R-mode factor analysis of the major element data, three factors F1 (Al 2O 3, Fe 2O 3, TiO 2 and K 2O), F2 (MgO and MnO) and F3 (Na 2O and P 2O 5) were obtained, which shows that vertical change of the major elemental concentrations in the core was mainly controlled by the nearby terrestrial inputs and the early diagenesis, while the effect of volcanic and biogenous inputs was less. The obvious glacial-interglacial cyclic features are presented in the changes of the typical terrestrial element ratios contained in factor F1, which reflects the impact of glacial-interglacial climatic cycle on the evolution of the East Asian monsoon. This indicates that the major element ratios in terrestrial sediments are significant indicators of regional climate changes.