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During the past decade, luminescence dating has significantly improved by new methodological improvements, especially the development of single aliquot regenerative (SAR) protocols (Murray & Wintle 2000) Furthermore, the numerical dating provides the basis for quantitative loess research applying more sophisticated methods to determine and understand high-resolution proxy data, such as the palaeodust content of the atmosphere, variations of the atmospheric circulation patterns and wind systems, palaeoprecipitation and palaeotemperature.
Periglacial (glacial) loess is derived from the floodplains of glacial braided rivers that carried large volumes of glacial meltwater and sediments from the annual melting of continental icesheets and mountain icecaps during the spring and summer.
During the Quaternary, loess and loess-like sediments were formed in periglacial environments on mid-continental shield areas in Europe and Siberia, on the margins of high mountain ranges like in Tajikistan and on semi-arid margins of some lowland deserts like in China.
(Liu TS, Loess and the environment) Much effort was put into the setting up of regional and local loess stratigraphies and their correlation (Kukla 1970, 1975, 1977).
But even the chronostratigraphical position of the last interglacial soil correlating to marine isotope substage 5e has been a matter of debate, owing to the lack of robust and reliable numerical dating, as summarized for example in Zöller et al.
Because these floodplains consist of sediment containing a high content of glacially ground flour-like silt and clay, they were highly susceptible to winnowing of their silts and clays by the wind.
Once entrained by the wind, particles were then deposited downwind.