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23 February 2023 - 23 February 2023

3:30PM - 5:30PM

D104 and online at: : Meeting ID: 949 2630 0892 Passcode: 634102

  • Free to all attendees

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Mike Storozum from Newcastle University will be giving a talk on his geoarchaeological research into the Yellow River Watershed.

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China’s Yellow River, which gains its name from the extraordinary amount of yellow-brown silt it entrains, may not have always been so yellow. Current historical and geological evidence suggest that the Yellow River experienced several periods of human-induced transformation that have not only changed the color of the Yellow River’s water, but also fundamentally altered the river’s hydrological properties, specifically by increasing the Yellow River’s propensity for catastrophic floods. I argue that the long history of soil erosion and Yellow River floods is a defining characteristic of China’s incipient Anthropocene period and can be understood through the application of geoarchaeological methods and frameworks. Specifically, I focus on extreme Yellow River flood events in Henan Province. Recent geoarchaeological excavations have discovered evidence of three periods of flooding over the past 3000 years that have entombed the landscape within meters of silt and clay. Through these examples, the long-term consequences of China’s early Anthropocene are brought out in sharp relief. These catastrophic flood events not only represent significant hydrological shifts in the Yellow River, but may have also had dramatic social consequences, as numerous Yellow River floods have coincided with the collapse major Chinese dynasties. In conclusion, I suggest that a deeper understanding of the origins and long-term development of the Yellow River as a coupled human and natural system is fundamental to designing more sustainable solutions to managing the Yellow River and other large, muddy, rivers around the world.


Free to all attendees