Detecting and quantifying palaeoseasonality in stalagmites using geochemical and modelling approaches

James U.L. Baldini, Franziska A. Lechleitner, Sebastian F.M. Breitenbach, Jeroen van Hunen, Lisa M. Baldini, Peter M. Wynn, Robert A. Jamieson, Harriet E. Ridley, Alexander J. Baker, Izabela W. Walczak, Jens Fohlmeister

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24 Citations (Scopus)
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Stalagmites are an extraordinarily powerful resource for the reconstruction of climatological palaeoseasonality. Here, we provide a review of different types of seasonality preserved by stalagmites and methods for extracting this information. A new drip classification scheme is introduced, which facilitates the identification of stalagmites fed by seasonally responsive drips and which highlights the wide variability in drip types feeding stalagmites. This hydrological variability, combined with seasonality in Earth atmospheric processes, meteoric precipitation, biological processes within the soil, and cave atmosphere composition means that every stalagmite retains a different and distinct (but correct) record of environmental conditions. Replication of a record is extremely useful but should not be expected unless comparing stalagmites affected by the same processes in the same proportion. A short overview of common microanalytical techniques is presented, and suggested best practice discussed. In addition to geochemical methods, a new modelling technique for extracting meteoric precipitation and temperature palaeoseasonality from stalagmite δ18O data is discussed and tested with both synthetic and real-world datasets. Finally, world maps of temperature, meteoric precipitation amount, and meteoric precipitation oxygen isotope ratio seasonality are presented and discussed, with an aim of helping to identify regions most sensitive to shifts in seasonality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106784
Number of pages27
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date7 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021


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