At http://phys.org/print339752858.html … a Chinese and US team have found evidence that parts of Inner Mongolia that were assumed to have been desert for millions of years, were not. The region may have dried up as recently as just over 4000 years ago – which means the 2300BC event may have been responsible (see various SIS articles by Moe Mandelkehr who produced evidence from geology, palaeo-climate, and archaeology for a global event at that point in time – which would have included Mongolia).
The article, published in PNAS, suggests a rethink of Chinese history may be in order – or this might be hype as later on they claim the region was occupied by hunting and fishing groups prior to 2200BC. The slant of the press release is that the Yellow River valley may not, after all, be the source of Chinese civilisation – and go on to say that people abandoned this part of Inner Mongolia and migrated (southwards). Moe Mandelkehr presented a lot of evidence of large movements of migratory peoples in the aftermath of 2300BC. Whilst he seems to have condensed what was really at least two major events, separated by around 150 to 200 years, the implication is that something frightened people enough for them to up shop and shift hundreds of miles.
The Inner Mongolian Hongshan Kingdom, which emerged around 6500 years ago (roughly at the same time early farmers were arriving in the British Isles) is now looking to be a major component of early Chinese culture. It has, until now, been assumed by historians that Inner Mongolia (and Hongshan) was a fairly unimportant culture manifestation, with no real impact on China itself. Now, the press release goes so far as to say Hongshan may have contributed to the Xia dynasty, the first dynasty of Chinese history. Hongshan pottery and stone artifacts that have survived are more advanced than previously allowed.
Evidence of a lake exist there in the period between 7000 and 3000BC, the Mid Holocene Warm Period. Pollen analysis has shown that trees grew near the lake shore. This all goes to show there was a major shift in climate (around 2300BC), with a drop off in rainfall causing the lake and the region in general to dry out. However, there is also some evidence that earthquakes were also involved – as rivers were diverted. A similar situation at the same time could be made with the Indus Valley where tectonic factors led to the Indus river changing course.