What is loess in ancient China?

The geographic feature of China known as the Loess Plateau takes its name from loess, the term for deposits of fine-grained, yellowish, windblown soil.

What is a loess in China?

Home to more than 50 million people, the Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest takes its name from the dry powdery wind-blown soil. Centuries of overuse and overgrazing led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty.

What is loess and why is it important?

Loess soils are among the most fertile in the world, principally because the abundance of silt particles ensures a good supply of plant-available water, good soil aeration, extensive penetration by plant roots, and easy cultivation and seedbed production.

Why was loess important in ancient China?

Loess often develops into extremely fertile agricultural soil. It is full of minerals and drains water very well. It is easily tilled, or broken up, for planting seeds. Loess usually erodes very slowly—Chinese farmers have been working the loess around the Yellow River for more than a thousand years.

What does loess mean in history?

The word loess, with connotations of origin by wind-deposited accumulation, is of German origin and means “loose.” It was first applied to Rhine River valley loess about 1821. Related Topics: terrigenous sediment.

How is a loess formed?

Loess is formed from high accumulation of windblown dust that is trapped, deposited and preserved on certain landscapes. After deposition, dust will be altered by weathering and soil-forming processes, and is held in place by vegetation.

What is loess made of?

Loess is a deposit of wind-blown silt that blankets large areas of the continents. It is often light brown in color, consisting predominantly of quartz, feldspars, micas, and calcium carbonate.

How did the loess help the people of China?

In the Loess Plateau, funding from the World Bank and the Chinese government helped restore 4 million hectares of land, more than doubling the incomes of local farmers, reducing erosion by 100 million tons of sediment annually, reducing flood risk, and dramatically increasing grain production. But not all of it worked.

What are the characteristics of loess?

Loess is homogeneous, porous, friable, pale yellow or buff, slightly coherent, typically non-stratified and often calcareous. Loess grains are angular, with little polishing or rounding, and composed of crystals of quartz, feldspar, mica and other minerals. Loess can be described as a rich, dust-like soil.

How did loess influence the development of early Chinese civilizations?




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What the heck is loess?

Loess is a periglacial or aeolian (windborne) sediment, defined as an accumulation of 20% or less of clay and a balance of roughly equal parts sand and silt (with a typical grain size from 20 to 50 micrometers), often loosely cemented by calcium carbonate.

How is loess different from sand?

Sand dunes form when the wind deposits sand. Loess form when the wind deposits clay and silt. Wind erosion can be prevented by keeping the ground covered with plants. They help hold the soil in place.

How did the loess help the people of China?



In the Loess Plateau, funding from the World Bank and the Chinese government helped restore 4 million hectares of land, more than doubling the incomes of local farmers, reducing erosion by 100 million tons of sediment annually, reducing flood risk, and dramatically increasing grain production. But not all of it worked.

How does loess affect agriculture in China?

However, the loess is also prone to wind and water erosion; thus, the area’s long history of deforestation is associated with soil erosion, resulting in land degradation, low agricultural productivity, and significant local poverty in some farming communities (Bryan et al., 2018; Chen et al., 2015; Fu et al., 2017).

What advantage did the Loess Plateau give to ancient China?

The plateau has supported a population of more than 100 million and over 70% of which are rural and are relatively weak. Dryland agriculture has played a key role in providing sufficient food for the inhabitants, as well as , environmental conservation and economic development of the Plateau over the history.