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Weijian Zhou  of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xi’an and Warren Beck  of the University of Arizona at a cross-section of a hill near Xi’an, China, examining layers of loess soil that represent thousands of years of soil deposition. (left) Weijian Zhou of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xi’an and Warren Beck of the University of Arizona at a cross-section of a hill near Xi’an, China, examining layers of loess soil that represent thousands of years of soil deposition.