Honorary Professor Hongbo Zheng

Honorary Professor

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science


Prof. Hongbo Zheng is a geologist with main interests in the latest episode of the Earth’s history-the Cenozoic Era. He is a senior professor (Cheung Kong Scholars Programme of the Ministry of Education of China) and Director of Research Centre for Earth System Science at Yunnan University, China. He obtained his BSc in Geology at Nanjing University and MSc in Geology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, followed by PhD in Geology from the University of Western Australia. His research interests are clustered within the fields of Cenozoic geology and paleoclimatology, tectonic geomorphology, human evolution and geo-archaeology, with career interest in the geology of Tibetan Plateau. These fields have major implications for understanding Earth history, and the history of human evolution and civilization.

Publications:Hongbo Zheng has published 200 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Career publications include:

Zheng, H., Clift, P., He, M., Bian Z., et al., 2020. Formation of the First Bend in Late Eocene Gave Birth to the Modern Yangtze River. Geology (https://doi.org/10.1130/G48149.1).

Zheng, H., 2016. Asia dust production ramped up since latest Oligocene driven by Tibetan Plateau uplift. National Science Review 3: 271–274. doi: 10.1093/nsr/nww028.

Zheng, H., Wei, X., Tada, R., Clift, P., et al., 2015. Late Oligocene-early Miocene Birth of the Taklimakan Desert. PNAS 112 (25), 7662-7667.

Zheng, H., Wei, X., Tada, R., Clift, P., et al., 2015. Reply to Sun et al.: Confirming the evidence for Late Oligocene−Early Miocene Birth of the Taklimakan Desert. PNAS.

Zheng H. 2015. Birth of the Yangtze River: Age and tectonic-geomorphic implications. National Science Review, 2: 438–453.

He, M.,Zheng H.,Bookhagen, B. and Clift, P, 2014. Controls on erosion intensity in the Yangtze River basin tracked by detrital U-Pb zircon dating. Earth-Science Reviews, 136, 121-140.

Zheng, H., Clift, P., Wang, P., et al., 2013. Pre-Miocene Birth of the Yangtze River. PNAS, 110 (19), 7556-7561.

Zheng, H., Jia, D., Chen, J. and Wang, P., 2010. Did incision of the Three Gorges begin in the Eocene? Geology, doi:10.1130/G31944C.1.

Zheng, H., Powell, C., An, Z., Zhou, J. and Dong, G, 2000. Pliocene uplift of the northern Tibetan Plateau. Geology 28(8), 715-718.

Zheng, H., Rolph, T., Shaw, J., and An, Z., 1995. A detailed palaeomagnetic record for the Last Interglacial period. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 133, 339-351.


  • Bachelor of Science in Geology, Najing University
  • Master In Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Postgraduate Diploma, University of Liverpool
  • Doctor of Geology, University of Wstern Australia, Perth


  • An, Xianyin, Xu, Huan, He, Keheng, Xia, Lei, Du, Yan, Ding, Jiaxiang, Yuan, Tingyuan, Liu, Gaozheng and Zheng, Hongbo (2023). Onset of the late Paleozoic glaciation in the Lhasa terrane, Southern Tibet. Global and Planetary Change, 225 104139, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104139

  • Zheng, Hongbo, Zhang, Bihui, Xu, Huan, Wei, Xiaochun, Tada, Ryuji, Yang, Qing and Yang, Wanshu (2023). Birth of the Taklamakan Desert: When and How?. STEM Education, 3 (1), 57-69. doi: 10.3934/steme.2023005

  • Kajita, Hiroto, Isaji, Yuta, Kato, Rintaro, Nishikura, Yoko, Murayama, Masafumi, Ohkouchi, Naohiko, Yang, Shouye, Zheng, Hongbo, Wang, Ke, Nakanishi, Toshimichi, Sasaki, Takenori, Maeda, Ayumi, Suzuki, Atsushi, Yamanaka, Toshiro and Kawahata, Hodaka (2023). Climatic change around the 4.2 ka event in coastal areas of the East China Sea and its potential influence on prehistoric Japanese people. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 609 111310, 1-13. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.111310

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